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Thread: Is this the new normal for our trails?

  1. #1
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    Default Is this the new normal for our trails?

    Where did all the people come from?
    I have been riding on the trails on Sunday mornings at 6:30 or 7am in summers for several years - 6:30am when it plans to be a scorcher. The trails were generally empty until 10am. Last Sunday and today, at 6:30am trails and roads were full of cyclists and pedestrians. Lots of cycling groups of 8 riders or more. And so many cyclists making bad passes - one apologized for miscalculating (I understand this and appreciate the apology), one gave a finger when a startled shout (no cursing) was given for nearly running us off the trail and another gave a dirty look for the same thing, but there were more. So, what can we do about bad passes? Some were dangerous.

    Are the crowds this large because no one is going on vacation? COVID has gotten more people exercising outside? More people have decided to change their habits and use the trails? It is great that there are so many people exercising, but how do we get more or wider trails to handle them all?
    (roads were full of cars today too - why were so many out at 6:30am on a Sunday? Roads have not been as good as an option for exercise as it was three months ago when people were still being reasonable drivers. Now they seem to be going faster and ignore all, especially traffic signs and signals - one driver paused to let people cross at Old Reston Ave and W&OD but continued despite the red light (it was still a walk signal too!)).

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  3. #2
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    I suspect the daytime heat and humidity is leading many people to exercise in the early mornings or late evenings.

    As for the cars, I don't know, but traffic has definitely increased in the past several weeks. It's made it much more treacherous to run or walk in the road to maintain social distancing.

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  5. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by secstate View Post
    I suspect the daytime heat and humidity is leading many people to exercise in the early mornings or late evenings.
    The thing is, daytime heat and humidity happens every year and this is the first year that there have been soooooo many people out so early.

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  7. #4
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    We could probably attribute a bunch of the new, early-morning-crowd-sightings-unique-to-this-year, as a pandemic result -- whether people out-of-work opting to get outdoors (who couldn't perhaps do that last year, if they were morning-commuting to their job) -- and/or folks now teleworking (who may feel it is more feasible to go out early "before work starts from home" without worrying about getting to the office neat and tidy after a morning outing.)
    Just my 2 cents... I was office-working full time before covid, and was bike-commuting quite frequently. Now, teleworking 100%, and I can hardly muster the interest to ride!

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  9. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristoB50 View Post
    Just my 2 cents... I was office-working full time before covid, and was bike-commuting quite frequently. Now, teleworking 100%, and I can hardly muster the interest to ride!
    Same here. I don't enjoy riding on the roads, the trails have been crowded, and I rarely have anywhere to go, so I've hardly been on the bike at all.

  10. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by secstate View Post
    Same here. I don't enjoy riding on the roads, the trails have been crowded, and I rarely have anywhere to go, so I've hardly been on the bike at all.
    Other people seem to have found out the time I ride that used to be empty (I just go out first thing like I were going to the office, but then continue and return home to ride my whole commute at once. Then get clean and start work a little later than I would have if I were in the office, but I am already home when done for the day. I get my exercise (round-trip commute) and on weekdays have a route that is less crowded than my old commute, although not dissimilar crowd size. Weekends are all messed up with people, as per this thread).

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  12. #7
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    Yeah, I need to get back to an earlier alarm time I think -- once I started teleworking, I shifted my alarm clock to 7am daily -- a little more sleep, followed by 40 mins of relaxed coffee time at the S.O.'s apartment downstairs; then I'm all set to start my telework shift at 8am (showers have now largely moved to the end of the day, since teleworking.)
    To keep the very-enjoyable morning coffee ritual (which arose at start of telework in March; I used to only have coffee once I reached the office) but preface it with a "fake" roundtrip office commute, I reckon I'd need to get my wheels out of the house at 6am. Ride the commute route nonstop 50 mins, back for a then-mandatory shower, then coffee time at S.O.'s around 7:15 instead.
    Not impossible... but 6am tires-rolling (5:45 wakeup) now seems so... uncivilized!
    Last edited by ChristoB50; 07-27-2020 at 03:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrP View Post
    The thing is, daytime heat and humidity happens every year and this is the first year that there have been soooooo many people out so early.
    Same here in my 'hood around Lake Artemesia. I've shifted most of my riding to start at 9 or 10 at night. I really dig how cool it is and how empty the roads and trails are at that time.

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  16. #9
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    Early mornings seem to be when folk go out thinking it's cooler, but I find the humidity in the morning worse so go out later in the day (confession that I love hot weather, so YMMV). Bonus is fewer people about, although I'm still mostly riding the roads instead of trails. Drivers are definitely getting worse. Hardly a ride goes by without an unsafe pass or a buzzing.

    As far as riding and staying motivated, I've ridden just as much as when commuting. I knew that OCD would come in handy some day.

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  18. #10
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    Yeah, mornings, when the dew point matches the air temp. I'm still doing 30-35 mile weekday rides after 5 pm, dodging thunderstorms as necessary. Maybe I'm nuts, but I actually prefer hot humid weather, since it's the only time my growing-older-by-the-day joints consistently feel good. Just stay hydrated.

    People get down on the dog days of summer in the DC area, but what's the alternative: beautiful fall and spring weather, which lasts about five days each? Or is it winter, with seven hours of daylight, cold rain, and nuisance levels of snowfall?

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