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Adventures in Cycling: “On Your Left!” Fail

One of my favorite warm weather activities is taking my bike out for a long ride, and with a perfect sunny day, I was happy to find a friend willing to spend the afternoon pedaling down part of the Katy Trail with me. I have a friend who sometimes likes to ask my fellow cyclists and I about the popular phrase “on your left!” that is often used by cyclists when passing, and if it ever produces a less than desired result when shouted. Most of the time, the person scoots to their right, but yes, sometimes the opposite happens, and it’s never a good thing. 

Today, I experienced the less than ideal result of shouting that phrase. 

Everything with the ride was going fantastic, perfect weather, and we were about 75% done with the 19.5 mile trek down and back up the Katy Trail when disaster struck. 

Just as we were preparing to head up the last major hill, there appeared a couple of cyclists who were stopped in the center of the trail. 

Knowing we’d need to pass them and that they obviously didn’t see us coming as they had their backs to us, a loud “on your left!” was screamed out with plenty of time to give the people to get out of the way. One cyclist completely exited the trail at this time, while the other veered to her left…just as I attempted to pass safely. 

The sting of the handlebar on the other bike burned as it jabbed into my upper thigh/hip, and the remaining miles were extra long as the pain slowly took over to the point where I almost shouted a brave “go on without me,” because every turn of the pedal jarred the fresh injury. 

Alas, I powered through with a burst of energy that could only have been fueled by the distraction of a conversation regarding the new Wonder Woman movie (perhaps just talking about it gave me a small super power level of strength to ignore the pain and make it back to the car). 

Anyway, made it back home safely and all is well (just probably a lovely bruise that will show up by tomorrow)….and I’ve definitely earned an evening of binge watching a show on Netflix to speed up my recovery. 🙂

One Response

  1. JT says:

    Cool that you’re riding on the trail named after you 🙂 I’ve had the same thing happen, even 15 or 20 years ago not everyone gets the “on your left!”. Sometimes it’s that a cyclist has just passed another on the left (or sees someone ahead on the right) and doesn’t want to move over, so it’s preferable that I slow down.

    But the etiquette for stopping is to pull off the trail, if at all possible. And it’s smart to just not stop unless you have a hundred feet or so of line-of-sight to avoid getting hit.

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