Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pet Peeves On The Path

How long can I talk about the Schuykill loop without showing off the most famous steps in America (the world?) This shot shows the front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the so-called "Rocky" steps. Now matter when I ride by, regardless of how early or how late there is always someone running up the steps, getting to the top and lifting their arms above their heads in the Rocky pose and having their picture taken.

The actual statue of Rocky is just off to the right of the steps. There too someone is nearly always having his or her picture taken with Rocky (The pose here demonstrated by my wife Annie.) The pride of Philadelphia.

So here are some of my pet peeves on the path.
1. Top of the list: dog walkers. They come in two types. Those who hold their dogs on a lease so long the dog can prance across the entire width of the path at will. Bad as this is, the folks who walk their dogs without leashes should be arrested.
2. Groups that walk or run three, four and five across.
3. People who stop, turn, or cross to the other side of the path without warning and without looking.
4. Walkers or runners who choose to go against the traffic, walking on the left side of the dividing line coming toward me.
5. Bicyclists riding without lights at 5:30 A.M.
6. Same as above dressed in black (you wouldn't believe how common this is.)
7. People who,when you say "on your left" in order to warn them of your approach and caution them against moving to the left, precisely move to their left instead of to their right
8.People who clearly have heard you announce your coming past but whose bodies stiffen as if to say "You go into the oncoming traffic lane to get around me, I'm not moving."
9. Bicyclists who ride too fast
10.Bicyclists who do not announce their passing.
Which is a whole other matter. You see the Schuykill River Trail is accessible at ground level over in-use train tracks owned by CSX. For years the City and CSX have been fighting to make these ground level crossings "real" crossings with all the necessary safety features. But CSX has balked, claiming, quite the opposite, that these ground level crossings should be closed. Finally this summer an agreement was reached, CSX suddenly became consumer friendly, distributing hats and water bottles, putting up nicely phrased warning signs, agreeing to build the at-grade safety crossings, to have the trains idle somewhere other than these crossings, and even to help fund a bridge into the park from another nearby park that would avoid the train situation altogether. It will likely take a few years for all of this to happen, once our Mayor signs this negotiated agreement, but in the meantime after having run into not literally) trains if not daily than every other day since I started riding, having to either wait for them or, more often, ride to the ramp on Chestnut street about a half mile away, which is not meant to be ridden on, in order to enter the park - these last few weeks we've hardly seen a train. Today between my ride which started early since I had to take my son's girl friend to the airport, and Annie's ride which overlapped mine, we compared notes and found we'd been blocked by a total of three trains today one of which was the garbage train (which the agreement says will be re-routed) whose passing lingered look after it was gone. Since I couldn't cross the tracks and didn't feel like using the Chestnut Street ramp, I rode back up to the Museum, took the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to 21st Street and rode that all the way back to our usual route at Delancey. It was a good opportunity to get more of a feel for some pretty heavily traveled streets vis-a-vis the "commuting" side of my riding. At 6:30 A.M. there wasn't much traffic, but it gave me a feel for the route. So my ride was 15.8 miles today.

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