‘Pack riders’ create concerns on bike
By PAT MURPHY
Express Staff Writer
In international cycling parlance, the
French word is "peloton," or "group," but the racing strategy is more commonly
known among U.S. cyclists as "pack riding."
However, to Shelly Preston, trails and
special projects coordinator for the Blaine County Recreation District, "pack
riding" is a new hazard on bike paths.
"They’re very intimidating," Preston told
recreation district directors at their board meeting Thursday, May 29, as she
described groups of colorfully dressed and helmeted sports bikers zipping along
often at speeds of 30 miles per hour in tight formation and bearing down on
slower riders or hikers.
Preston said several pedestrians on the
paved path from Ketchum to Hailey said they were slightly injured last year when
bikers collided with them.
"Trails are no place for them," Preston
asserted. "They (the pack riders) see the path as a substitute for the highway."
But, she said, "pack riders" have
registered their own complaints—unleashed dogs that suddenly become obstructions
and potential hazards for bikers unable to brake fast enough.
The groups often are as large as 10 to 14
riders, Preston explained.
With bikers complaining that dogs on the
paths should be leashed and hikers complaining about speeding bikers, Preston
commented wryly, "Everybody wants their own private Idaho."
District Director Mary Austin Crofts
observed that "if everyone would be courteous, it would be a wonderful world."
District board chair Keith Perry
suggested, and Austin Croft and Preston agreed, the district should undertake a
courtesy education program through bike sports shops and among bikers.
The idea of courtesy patrols to caution
"pack riders" about their speed was tabled for the time being. Talk of requiring
leashes on dogs on the path was rejected.
In other recreation district action, the
- Supported a proposed program to raise
some $28,000 through advertising to offset the costs of
Wednesday-through-Saturday ski season bus service between Ketchum and Galena
- Finalized plans for the Saturday, June
14, Summer Benefit at Galena Lodge, a $10 per-person barbecue hosted by the
Friends of Galena and the Trails, which is the benefactor of the North Valley
- Reviewed a final financial report on
ski activities for the 2002-2003 season showing $295,161.31 in total revenues
from season and day passes and donations.
Received results of a survey answered by 533 season
ski pass purchasers about their ski trail choices and satisfaction with the
North Valley trails system.
Reviewed a preliminary sketch of the new
3,000-square-foot Youth Center facility that will be operated by the
recreation district at the old Wood River High school. Included in the
facility are computers for students, billiards, Ping-Pong, arcade games, a
lounge and a stage for performances.