Trails of Wheels, Part I

Posted by Chris Stiegler on May 21, 2015

“Share the road,” they say.


Chester Creek Trail is a bike path from the beginning, among other things. It was envisioned by Lani Fleisher in the early 1970s as a means of connecting the mountains to the sea via a direct, uninterrupted route. As such, it has been bringing a wide variety of people out for recreation and transportation since then. Although I dislike generalizing criticism, there is a small portion of cyclists that have, in fact, a bad understanding of sharing this transitway. While most are mild-mannered, bell-ringing people on two wheels – Bike Anchorage representing a big chunk of this camp – there are folks who see the path as their terrain. I’m referring to these folks as agro-cyclists. They may be generally lovely people, but once they get on their bikes, the disposition shifts to one of entitlement and arrogance.


This kind of selfishness comes with particular characteristics.


  1. Bells Are For Wimps – In lieu of attaching a $9 bell to a $1500 bike, many agro-cyclists feel compelled to shout violently as they approach pedestrians, children, dogs, etc. The aggressiveness of a shouting voice is not necessary as many cycles are equipped with brakes, and the trail quiet enough to calmly announce one’s presence.


  1. Know-it-all-isms – Regardless of their speed of approach, this variety of biker will correct everything from your cycling form to your mannerism on the trail. As a newcomer to cycling, I am shaky on form and speed and have had two different run-ins with people correcting these mistakes in unfriendly ways. Perhaps this kind of criticism can be kept to one’s self?


  1. This Trail Is A Bike Trail – No matter how many other users are visible to these agro-cyclists feel as though the Chester Creek Trail is for their purposes first. I wish this was just a conjecture, but I have heard from more than one person that main purpose of this trail is bike-use. The Anchorage Parks and Recreation office is not so staunch, though they are making many improvements to suit cyclists needs, as well as the needs of the other constituents.


While there are other characteristics, these are some of the most disruptive to the calm of the trail.


But the most important thing to mention is that this is a small proportion of cyclists on the trail. By and large the run of Chester Creek creates a great place for cyclists and pedestrians, pets and people to comingle.