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Packs of Elderly

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via www.healthjockey.com


I live in a neighborhood with a lot of old folks. I also live on a block connected to this. I run and bike on the trail a lot.  Old people walk on the trail a lot.  I often find myself approaching a pack of elderly Americans at (relative, when I'm running) high rates of speed.  Sometimes I approach them from the front with a smile and a "hello".  Other times I approach them from the back with a dilemma. 

When I am on my bike, I yell out "On the left!" when approaching someone walking in the same direction as I am biking.  For most people, I can yell this out well in advance and they will raise their arm, move on over and we're done with it.  With old folks, there are two common outcomes. 

Outcome 1: They do not hear my "On the left!" call while maintaining their sloth-like course in the exact center of the trail, thus forcing me to gear way down and try the call at a closer distance and with a louder voice. 

Outcome 2: "On the left!" from a closer distance and with a louder voice scares the living daylights out of many, many people...presumably some with heart problems. 

I have tried bells and horns and they both run into the same basic issue: either a decent number of people do not hear the warning or they are startled when it is too close. 

Is there a sweet spot for "On the left!" calls, bells, whistles and horns? Is there a secret old-person trick I am unaware of? I'm tired of startling sweet old ladies just as much as I am tired of slowing waayyyyyyyy down (sometimes having to come to a complete stop) while biking on a multi-use trail.

The one positive here is that I have yet to see someone over the age of 60 walking while listening to an ipod.  20-something joggers with ipods are just about as bad as elderly walkers when it comes to obliviously walking in the middle of the trail.  If I can hear your music a good 20 feet behind you, chances are you are not going to hear any warning I am capable of. 

What say you?

(Seeing someone over 60 with an ipod (and while texting) is my #1 sign of me getting old.  #2 is seeing a woman over 60 with lower back ink and a butterfly tattoo on her ankle.  Grandma liked to party and The Chronic is probably on one of her playlists. That day is coming.)