Outside magazine, March 1995
As anyone with a set of knobbies knows, there can be trouble out in the hills, as mountain bikers are constantly at loggerheads with hikers and horse people over the matter of trail etiquette. But, says Patty Healy, a spokeswoman for the 1,200-member Women's Mountain Bike and Tea Society (WOMBATS), riders have started to fight back with a surprising new tactic -- good behavior. Healy goes beyond the most commonsense rules (stay out of wilderness areas, forgo off-trail shortcuts and riding after heavy rains, and keep off trailless meadows) to offer some fence-mending strategies.
Be Concientious: "Hikers would prefer not to eat your dust, so it's important to slow down not just when you see people, but also when you hit a blind turn."
Be Respectful: "Don't ride up behind people and shriek, 'On your left!' Most times, they'll be too startled to understand what you're saying anyway. Instead, try clearing your throat to get their attention."
Be Cautious: "You should never tailgate, because you can't know what the rider in front of you is going to do. If that person has a mishap, it'll be big trouble for both of you."
Be Courteous: "Don't hold gossip sessions in the middle of a trail. Even if you're just making a brief water stop, pull your bike completely off the trail, leaving plenty of room for others to pass."
Be Generous: "Make the trail a friendlier place by offering to share your tools, food, water, and clothing with anyone out there in need."