Out Of Line: A Monon Trail Etiquette Handbook
How to I.D. Monon morons and trail terrors—and tips on how to avoid being one of the offenders.
1. TIME-TRIAL TODD
How to I.D. Todd will never enter a competition, but still wants to show off how fast he can ride. So he races on the Monon, buzzing walkers who rudely refuse to leap out of his way. How not to be like Todd. When the trail’s empty, like, say, on an early weekday morning, feel free to unleash your inner Coryn Rivera. But on a busy Saturday, expect stretches of pedaling at a crawl—and let pedestrians know you’re about to pass with a friendly “on your left” or, better yet, a ding of the bike bell.
2. LITTERBUG LUCY
How to I.D. Walking 2 miles in prep for that 5K can be exhausting, so Lucy keeps up her strength by downing sports gel. But instead of slipping the gooey spent wrapper into her pocket and carrying it to a receptacle, she “accidentally” lets it float to the ground while she checks her Fitbit. How not to be like Lucy. Trash cans line the Monon. Keep from getting sticky until reaching the next one by carrying a resealable baggie.
3. TALKING TRIPLETS
How to I.D. The Monon is a great place to spend time with friends, so these ladies walk three or four abreast while they chat, blocking traffic in both directions. How not to be like the Triplets. Try to walk no more than two abreast at all times, because even if it seems like no one else is on the trail, assume a cyclist is quietly approaching behind you. (And remember, the many coffee shops, restaurants, and bars that dot the trail would love to host your talking circle!)
4. JUMPY JUNIOR
How to I.D. He’s the small child squealing and running willy-nilly—back and forth, side to side, in circles—on the trail, causing that in-line skater to flip head over heels in a desperate attempt to avoid collision. How not to be like Junior’s parent or guardian. Hold your child’s hand as you walk or keep him in a stroller when traffic is heavy. If he’s old enough, explain that children can get hurt by not paying attention (read: Time-Trial Todd).
5. HEADPHONE HAL
How to I.D. Who needs birdsong and rustling leaves? Not Hal, because he’s bumping Skrillex so loudly that walkers in Carmel can feel the bass dropping in Broad Ripple. No wonder Hal can’t hear you calling out—repeatedly—to pass him. How not to be like Hal. With all due respect to Technotronic, pump down the jam, preferably low enough that you can hear people around you, or, better yet, try ditching the headphones and engaging with the world.
6. FREE-RANGE FIDO
How to I.D. Surrounded by sights and smells, it’s hard for a dog not to get excited. That’s why Fido runs from one side of the trail to the other, ensnaring unsuspecting walkers in his 90-foot leash. How not to be like Fido’s companion. Use a short, fixed lead instead of a retractable leash, and restrain your dog from approaching trail users unless they ask to greet him. (And if you don’t clean up Fido’s poop, you deserve to get bopped on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.)
This article is part of “Hot on the Trails,” IM’s road-free guide to exploring Central Indiana.
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