thoughts and takeways during Sunday’s walk on the Northwest River Trail

We walk! We try to walk everyday, though some days weather, temperature, meetings and other things get in the way.  In fact, “More than 145 million adults now include walking as part of a physically active lifestyle. More than 6 in 10 people walk for transportation or for fun, relaxation, or exercise, or for activities such as walking the dog.”

adults who walk

Yesterday, we walked from Columbia’s River Park to Marietta and back. Remarkably, some of what we saw yesterday we saw last year.

bridge artThe graffiti artists are still at it; though we saw less this year. The above scene is really similar to the photo we took last year. Note, that there was a vehicle out there this year.

trail weedsThese thistle like-plants are back.

Of all the trail users we saw yesterday, predominant were bike riders and cyclists. It seemed to us that 80 percent or so were in this group. The walkers and joggers made up nearly all the rest. This guy, below, was the first boader we’ve seen on the trail.


Our observations about the trail users, ironically matches last years: ”

“Walkers, joggers, bike riders and a-hole bunch  of logo-adorned, tight fitting-clothing cyclists were on the trail this morning. Everyone who wore non-logo adorned clothing was quite respectful and friendly.

“The bike riders were courteous; the cyclists, on the other hand … well, let’s let this TripAdvisor comment be ours, too: ‘Of note, there have been some issues with road bicyclists using the trail as a speedy connector between points north and south. This has created safety concerns, as walkers and more leisurely bicyclists are not (and should not have to be) prepared to accommodate road bikers speeding along the trail. the Lancaster Bike Club and local authorities are examining the problem.’”

The bike riders were quite considerate as they alerted us with “On your left” calls — not one of the “logo-adorned, tight fitting-clothing cyclists” were that courteous.

bench placqueThere are several benches along the trail and they’re commemorated with brass plaques. The brass plaques are far more durable than the plaques on the benches at Columbia’s River Park. Many of those commemorative markers are unreadable.

trail signsThe River Trail now sports improved signage.

kid climbersHappened across these kid climbers practicing on the cliff; approving Mom was nearby and also approved the taking of the picture.

Military experience introduced us to walking and running decades ago. But, time does take a toll on the human body. As the years add up, endurance and walk rates are affected. Though we time and log our daily walks, the military walks, runs and marches were loaded with added weight (helmet, weapon, ruck, boots) and our times were better then.

So, how fast should an out-of-condition 70 something year-old be? In the days in which we wore the uniform, our target walk/march rate was 140 to 150 steps a minute. (Read the section below.) Today, our rate is reduced somewhat and we’re trying our “darndest” to keep it in the range of 120 steps a minute for an hour or so.

“Locomotion, of all forms, is the sum of the stride length and stride rate. The average human will self-regulate their locomotion to 3.1 mph. That’s also 1.39 m/s or 5 kph. If we assume an average step length of 30 inches, 5 kph equals a cadence of 100 steps per minute (SPM).

“The difference between walking and marching is speed. Marching is also called ‘military step’ and differs somewhat depending on the nation or sometimes the unit. The US military uses a military step called ‘quick time,’ with an average 30″ step, the cadence is 120 SPM, resulting in a speed of 3.4 mph or 1.5 m/s or 5.5 kph. This makes it approximately 2 minutes per mile faster than the average human walking speed.

“Between quick time and the maximum human walking speed is the forced march speed of 4 mph, also expressed as 1.8 m/s, 6.4 kph and 15 min/mile. This is often referred to as ‘the Ranger standard’ though this is not exactly true. This speed is achieved by marching at 140 spm with a 30-inch step.

“At this point, we need to examine the limits of walking speed. At a certain speed, the neuromuscular pattern known as a gait pattern has to change to maintain a specific speed. Race walkers have developed a gait pattern that is technically walking that allows them to attain jogging and running speeds while technically walking. However, this gait pattern is highly specialized and is only applicable to the sport of race walking. It is unsuitable for any other purpose. In the military or even the average person’s life, there comes a point when the walking gait must be abandoned for jogging and jogging must be abandoned for running. For the average human being, this breaking point is 2 m/s, which is also 4.47 mph, 7.19 kph, and 13:25 min/mile. This speed is reached with a cadence of 160 spm with a 30″ step length.” – SOURCE:






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