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October 15, 2006

Back Bay Bicyclists Bad Bikers? PART 2

The Bike Trail around the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Preserve, in Newport Beach, is one of the most popular outdoor areas in Orange County.

It is used by cyclists ( Clubs, Racers in training, and ordinary solo riders like myself. ) as one part of much longer rides, and by cyclists out just for a jaunt around the Bay.

It is used by walkers, joggers and, on parallel trails along the north portion, horseback riders.

The young, the old, and families can be seen there, and the weekends are especially busy.

Along with hiking trails there are many ways to enjoy nature, and the outdoors, and get some exercise, here.

With the activities of man come associated responsibilities, and not everyone knows, or cares, what those responsibilities are or, to practice them when using these multi-use trails.

This has caused problems in the past as walkers/joggers/hikers, cyclists, and equestrians, have come in for their share of criticism for one thing or another.

I do not yet know what in the way of co-operative efforts have been attempted, or are underway, to make the Back Bay experience an enjoyable one for all, but I do know that a too small staff of Rangers are empowered to give tickets of various types.

But they can't be everywhere, and can't be out on the trails all the time, and therein lies the problem.

I spent 4 hours on Sunday, October 1st, from 10am to 2pm, gettting a 1st hand look at life on the trails, in response to e-mails I received from a woman who walks, and jogs, there regularly.

It was an eye-opener for a guy who spent 2 years ( 2003 - 2005 ) riding those same trails around 7am, on weekdays, and encountered only a handful of people, if that many, on any given ride ( The scene that graces the top of this blog is of the trail on the south side of the Bay. ).

There are almost 8 miles of trail that winds its way around the Bay, from the west ( Near Irvine Ave. and Santiago ) north,then east, south, and west, ( To the park overlooking the more civilized end of the Bay, at PCH and Jamboree ( See 3 park, and view, photos. ) ), along trail, and bike lanes.

The North, east, and south is Class 1 ( Off road, paved ).

The west, except for 1 block of sidewalk, is a Class 2 Striped Lane.

There is also a Class 1 that leads to the park at PCH and Jamboree, and one that leads behind an RV Park.

The whole kit and kaboodle is multi-use, officially, and otherwise.

The Bay is beautiful, peaceful, cool, and calm, early in the morning ( 7-830am ) with only the rare cyclist, walker, or jogger, as company.

The peace, and quiet, of such mornings is hard to describe to the unitiated, and the encounters one can have there can range from the sublime... ( As I reported here in May 2003. )

Creatures of the animal kingdom abound here. In addition to all sorts of birds, I have seen squirrels, and today, bunny rabbits.

Those bunnies are brave souls, let me tell you, to dare to cross the road with all of us cyclists whizzing by at 15 miles an hour.

If one of us ran over one of the little critters, no doubt some lawyer for PETA would haul us into court for reckless driving, or something, and try to wiggle out of explaining why their client didn't stop, and look both ways, before crossing the road.

I thought bunnies were more intelligent than chickens..... :-)

The highlight of this mornings trek, though, had a Scottish tinge to it.

There I am pedalling along when suddenly the haunting sounds of a bagpipe come to me across the Bay.

Thinking I was imagining things I stopped to listen......

Nothing....

I continued on, and stopped when I heard it again.

This time I waited, and was rewarded with the sound coming across the bay along the road I was traveling down.

It was beautiful. The melodies were familiar, but I couldn't put a name to the tunes.

As I pedalled onward, listening as I went, I finally saw the player, walking along the side of the road toward me.

I stopped to watch, and when he came abreast I engaged him in a brief conversation, telling him I enjoyed his playing.

Seems he's a fireman who takes his instrument out for occasional walks along the Bay, to air it out, and give it something to do other than sit unused at home.

...to the ridiculous, and mysterious.

If you were planning to skip that last story I'll wait....

Humans are not the only ones who act strangely, or irresponsibly, in this place, and so it behooves one to be aware, and informed....

Back? Good! ;-D

My next posts in this series will get to the heart of the matter of safety on the trails of this beautiful bit of nature, and what I saw, and heard, on that recent Sunday.

Part 3 is here.

October 15, 2006 in Share the Road, and Trail: Safety Matters! | Permalink

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Comments

Kiril, I enjoyed reading your columns and look forward to parts 3 and 4.

I understand the concerns of your readers and would like to stress the trail is joint use and courtesy should be the behavior of the day.

Please keep me informed.

Sergeant William S. Hartford

Community Relations Supervisor

Newport Beach Police Department

Posted by: William | Oct 18, 2006 10:57:03 AM

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