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MUTs Love, hate and respect them. Minor illustrated rant.(34 posts)

MUTs Love, hate and respect them. Minor illustrated rant.MB1
Sep 4, 2002 7:25 AM
The Washington DC area has a wonderful network of MUTs (The Mount Vernon, Capital Crescent, W&OD, Custis trails and many, many others). You can pretty much live without a car inside the beltway. They are not perfect though.

I like what Bill said, "If you're on the trails at all, you have committed yourself to sort of a messy, uncontrolled experience that requires a fair amount of humor to survive, let alone to have a good time justifying your time away from home, as well as vigilance."

We must ride at least 100 miles a week on the local MUTs. Although we try to avoid them on weekends they are never (never ever!) empty.

This is the W&OD trail in Herndon early on a Saturday morning. This is the ideal, wide uncrowded with good sight lines. Lots of room to draft and pass. Life is good.
The Ideal #2MB1
Sep 4, 2002 7:28 AM
Closer to home is the Capital Crescent Trail. It is fairly wide although not all that straight. This morning there were few users other than cycle commuters. We ride on this trail almost every day-it gets pretty thick with users on weekends.
Dalecarlia Tunnel.MB1
Sep 4, 2002 7:31 AM
Some of the most attractive parts of the trail are also potential danger spots.

The Dalecarlia Tunnel takes the Capital Crescent Trail under a busy road. The transition from well lit trail to dark tunnel is quite abrupt going downhill.

Quiz-What direction are those riders at the other end of the tunnel going?
Our favorite! A rollerblader (at least he is sans earphones).MB1
Sep 4, 2002 7:34 AM
Although the trail was fairly empty this morning it wasn't completely empty (it never is).

What is happening is that the blader is not very good and is weaving all over the trail. There is a rider going slightly uphill trying to pass and a rider coming downhill (you can easily hit 25-30mph here). All too common..
Hmmm, dubious. I have to assume thatdjg
Sep 4, 2002 8:01 AM
the blader has miniature inside-the-ear earphones that are simply not visible in the picture. It is a well known fact that each and every person using rollerblades on a DC area MUT has earphones/headphones. You have to question the picture, and even your own eyes, before you question fundamental laws of nature.
Hmmmm, good point. I'll be more careful from now on. nmMB1
Sep 4, 2002 8:09 AM
Cyclists and rollerblades or oil and water (a bit long)velocity
Sep 4, 2002 10:14 AM
As I often do, one evening at the height of this summer I decided to take a long, scenic MUT route home. I saw a rollerblader approaching in the opposite direction. Following the path, I turned leftward, making extra room for him. He, however, being a particularly inept blader, had difficulty managing his rightward turn, couldn't stop, slammed into me and fell down. I unclipped and stood. I cursed him to oblivion, checked to see if my bike was damaged -- it wasn't -- he apologized, and we each went our separate ways.
Major rant...Dave Hickey
Sep 4, 2002 7:35 AM
There is a small section of MUT that I have to take on my commute to work. It's only about 1.5 miles long but it's the safest way to work. Yesterday morning there was a woman with headphones, walking a dog on a long leash. Did I mention she was reading a book as she walked? She had absolutely no clue there were other people around her.
Hit her.Sintesi
Sep 4, 2002 8:56 AM
Clear case of justifiable homicide. ONLY A SUGGESTION! I'm not positive about the legalities concerning the removal of said person from society. Perhaps she needs to be wearing her rollerblades as well.
Along the Potomac.MB1
Sep 4, 2002 7:36 AM
The trail in front of the Kennedy Center gets pretty busy.

Here is a fairly typical situation. A runner is passing a walker while being passed by a cyclist who is almost forced off the pavement. Notice that there are several other cyclists who just passed this mess.
Bad Designs.MB1
Sep 4, 2002 7:40 AM
MUTs get put wherever there is room. Often not really enough room but better than mixing bikes with auto traffic.

This one is bad. The trail abruptly turns from a paved path to a sidewalk. There is very little room to make this turn; it is easy to ride off the sidewalk at speed into a 1' drop to the soft grass. Don't forget this is a 2 way MUT, there are often trail users going both ways (notice the oncoming walker).
Walk Bike Next 700 Feet!MB1
Sep 4, 2002 7:43 AM
Sure we are going to do this. All the trails around here have pinch points like this. I have yet to see anyone walk these stretches.

It can get a little dicey when users going in both directions meet at one of these.
Why I ride the MUTs..MB1
Sep 4, 2002 7:45 AM
The last mile of my commute. A picture is worth 1000 words.

‘Nuff said.
oh please.......african
Sep 4, 2002 8:11 AM
tell me that that picture is from a hed (sic) cam mounted on your helmet.

Ok just busting your chops, but did you stop when you took that picture? Nice photos, where I come from a mut is a dog that you found on the street, so please what does the MUT stand for.
Multi Use Trail.MB1
Sep 4, 2002 8:15 AM
And yes I risked my life for your entertainment and enlightment.

I must have been going at least 5 mph when I took that shot. I had one hand on the brake and held the camera well below my face.
M.ultiple T.rail (nm)gregg
Sep 4, 2002 8:16 AM
Great Shot!gregg
Sep 4, 2002 8:18 AM
I feel like I'm back in High School watching a drivers ed. video!

Great pics all around MB1, as always.

gregg, a question for you.MB1
Sep 4, 2002 8:22 AM
You mentioned once how to show several pictures in the same post. Mind repeating the instructions?

re: multiple pics in one postJS Haiku Shop
Sep 4, 2002 9:09 AM
if you're hosting them, just use pointers to the pics. for instance, if they're at, you'd put in the body of the message/post:

[img src=""]

where the brackets "[" are replaced with "<" and ">"

you can use this line as many times as pics in one message body.

otoh, if you're letting rbr host the pics, upload them, make a note of the location specified of each, then do the same.

please post any questions or hit me at
JS, got it rightgregg
Sep 5, 2002 8:11 AM
...or for future reference, we have a post over on MTBR explaining the same thing here:

Where is the picture.......Len J
Sep 4, 2002 8:22 AM
of you stopped at a light?

Or passing a bus?


Great pics as always.

Next time we ride you carry the camera.MB1
Sep 4, 2002 8:26 AM
If you dare keep up I will be busted for sure.

For those who have never ridden with me in town let it be known that I ride like a messenger (in town only). I believe that the safest way to ride in traffic is to go faster than the cars.

Len rode with us in town once.....
Next time we ride you carry the camera.Thaddeus
Sep 4, 2002 9:13 AM
That last photo...where was it taken?

A small but important pointKEN2
Sep 4, 2002 9:03 AM
I realize from the later thread that you were riding slowly here to get the photo, but it still illustrates poor lane positioning that invites dooring. I assume that when you say later that you ride like a messenger (actually that can mean a lot of things, not all of them complimentary!), your lane position would be to the LEFT of the broken white lane line by 2-3 feet. That way you give drivers the indication that it's your lane and if they want to pass they need to merge into the inside lane--your lane is too narrow to share. Hard to tell from a picture, but it appears that traffic speeds here are low enough to keep up with cars anyway.
Those cars are parked illegally-it is rush hour.MB1
Sep 4, 2002 9:13 AM
Normally I would be out in a lane for all the good it does. This is DC afterall...I had many shots of crazy traffic to choose from for this report.

Here is a taxi making a quick 360 degree turn (yes, 360 not 180)another illegal parker jumping out of the car and someone getting ready to J-walk. Pennsylvania Avenue about a block from the White House.
Those cars are parked illegally-it is rush hour.Thaddeus
Sep 4, 2002 9:15 AM
Never mind my first question, you just answered it.

I have to say that, when I was a messenger in DC, I hated PA ave, because its width seemed to encourage people to make crazy turns (like the above mentioned 360)


point well-taken (and illustrated), I love the trails...Djudd
Sep 4, 2002 8:38 AM
but find them more useful to get safely out of the city. For example, I use the W&OD (a great trail) to get out to rural VA then get off and consider the ride starting when off the trail. My philosophy when on the trails is "share,share that's fair"
Sep 4, 2002 9:22 AM
I spent a summer in Reston in 1999, commuting from Denver each week, and stayed at a hotel just off that W&OD trail. Didn't have a bike, but I ran on that trail every day - actually just off the trail, there's a gravel/dirt path parallel to it that's fine for running. Wished I'd had a bike along.. your picture brought it all back.

My local MUT is the c-470 and Highline Canal trail, composed of blocks of concrete with cracks and jutting edges, a real tooth-rattler. Yeurgh. But it still beats riding through a stoplight every 1/4 mile. Also, at lunchtimes in the work week it's nearly deserted, which is good..
You're lucky to have themCaptain Morgan
Sep 4, 2002 9:43 AM
Where I live in SW FL, there are NO MUT's. All my riding has to be in traffic.

Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you got til its gone...
That's it. You got it. That about covers it. From the good,bill
Sep 4, 2002 9:49 AM
the bad, to the just plain ugly.
They are a wonderful recreational resource. Many people commute (their justification, I think, without exception). And you can get a decent bike ride in now and then.
Missed the Mt Vernon Trail.MB1
Sep 4, 2002 9:58 AM
Which is really one of the nicest.
That is absolutely one of my favorite spots in Washington.bill
Sep 4, 2002 10:21 AM
It's best at sunup or sundown; I come around that little turn, take a look and lose my breath for a moment. When you're really lucky, you get a couple of herons in there and maybe a crew on the water.
re: MUTs Love, hate and respect them. Minor illustrated rant.aliensporebomb
Sep 4, 2002 10:22 AM
Great pictures and observations.

Lately, I've been riding the Cedar-Lake Kenilworth trails
in Minneapolis. Most of this is along current or former
rail corridors.

It's great to have long, straight, relatively flat places
to ride but I've already had several close calls.

Last night as I was riding west some guy on a battered
brown 3-speed looked one direction and steered his bike
in another - right at me.

When we were within a foot I yelled and he looked up
suddenly acting surprised that there was someone in the
oncoming lane at 18 mph.

A close call to be sure as I managed to be able to
swerve around him.

I see a lot of people with headphones and a lot of people
oblivious to their surroundings in general.
Seeing all of these pictures really makes me gladlook271
Sep 4, 2002 5:20 PM
that I live where I live. No need for MUT's-I have seemingly endless miles of rural country roads. Life is good.