Please, step aside when I'm descending
I liked this article from Bike mag so much I am posting it as my blog with minor edit:
...take, for example, the question of how to ride past another rider who is going the opposite direction down the same trail. While old-school guideline dictates that climbers have priority, this general rule of thumb can be taken to ridiculous extremes, such as climbers insisting on the entire trail when it's wide enough to pass. This blind rule following invariably leads to the interruption of a fun descent for no good reason- apart from thoughtless obedience to MTBs traditional rules.
...in the case of climbing versus descending priority one could argue the descender should have priority since they are going at a higher speed, are having more fun and have marginally less control of their mountain bike than the climber, who can usually put a foot down and step out of the way. In that case. the descender enjoys the Flow, and the descender just restarts and continues.
I know plenty of people already on this program when climbing some of our trails. I guess the best bet is to make eye contact and enjoy the ride.
Uphill traffic, whether hiker, mountain biker, equestrian, wheelchair rider, little kid, singlespeeder, off-road motorcyclist -- whatever -- have the right of way. *YOU* (as a mountain biker) may feel that you *should* be able to descend without interruption because it's more fun for *YOU* to do so, but multi-use trails are just that -- multi-use -- so the rule applies to all trail users, not just to mountain bikers.
As it should. Please, everyone reading, don't be so selfish that you'd change (or abuse) a longstanding, long accepted trail use rule simply because you want your descent uninterupted. It's easy to get your bike going again and return to the flow. The same can't always be said for those who're climbing.
When I'm climbing I get a similar flow (even if I'm dying) and I don't want that interrupted. Personally I hate it when I'm climbing a challenging trail and a downhill rider doesn't yield. Their obvious lack of awareness or outright disregard of accepted trail etiquette makes them look like selfish newbies (or if not newbies, simply selfish). If you want to experience uninterrupted descents, visit trail networks that are established as such, like Blackrock. Thanks.
I respectfully dissent.
Good point- one way trails like Whoops rock. Then you don't have to always be prepared to interact with another trail user on blind corners. Otherwise I agree head on collisions are inevitable.
I don't mind slowing or stopping for uphill traffic at all. If my grasp on flow is so shallow and tenuous as to be killed by being polite to someone I probably never find Zen in my flow anyway. How uptight is that person...?
Get the funk out of my way when we're both going the same direction though...ya bastard.
People actually climb trails? I thought that's what shuttling was for?... lol.
I think the thing to do is just yell Strava and expect everone to get out of your way.
good point- "Strava!" wins ascending or descending. When it's a Strava face-off the more agressive rider takes the right of way
I'll probably open a can of worms here, but...
The reason for said traditional rule is that it takes a whole lot more energy to regain motion while climbing, than it does for the downhill rider. In some situations it would not be possible to proceed uphill without resorting to walking - not so for the downhill rider, for them, just release the brakes.
This rule preceds MTB-ing by many decades, and applies to vehicles in the back country in general. Think of driving up a tricky road where you're barely able to maintain traction and meeting a downhill vehicle that doesn't yield according to the old rule - now you're stuck not able to regain forward & uphill motion, and now what?
In reading through the original posting, I think I detect a bit of selfishness on the part of downhill riders. We all enjoy the flow. If the trail is plenty wide, both riders can proceed. It seems to me that if we just use common sense, that we can, as Max said, make eye contact and enjoy the ride.
Blind obedience to any rule is pointless, and if you're blind to common sense, what are you doing on a trail?
I often stop and let descenders go by, but the rule is the right one. The ascending rider has the right of way. The same is true for pedestrians. They have the right of way, but they often (almost always actually) yield it. Most people approach meetings on the trail with common sense and that's why they are almost always amicable.
Let me point out also that if you descend with the idea that you never have to yield to another trail user, you WILL hit someone eventually.
BTW, Fantasy Island in Tucson is 95% one way and it's great. You can go pretty much as fast as you dare.
Well said Sir!