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Walking with Trail Bikers

square824A red jacket or shirt serves to show them that I am there. My ears stay pricked for their sounds: snatches of rapidly approaching conversation, a circle of clicks from their wheels, and a whine not unlike the wind blowing through electrical lines. I watch out for them and they watch out for me. One hit me a few weeks ago. A shout and the scream of brakes told me that he was coming in an uncontrolled sloping fall down the trail. I stepped up to the raised dirt siding to avoid him. Alas, he had the same idea. His handlebars punched my lower back. He fell sideways. I took two steps forward and bit down so hard that I cracked a temporary crown. There was no animosity between us afterwards. The day was hot and salved my spine. I walked off the pain and the surprise.