I'm riding the Shoreline trail yesterday afternoon, by myself, going out for a short/hard ride after work. Passed a number of people, lots of hellos and smiles all around. Pull up behind some fella riding fairly slowly up Dry Gulch and ring my bell.
Wait some more. Ring my bell some more. Attempt to shout loudly enough for the guy to hear.
Finally, I figure either he's being a jerk or he can't hear me, so I wait for a wider section and go ahead and pass him.
Fellow curses me out. Gets really red in the face and wants to fight me, apparently.
Needless to say, I keep riding and decline - I'm dubious that this ruffian will follow the Marquis of Queensbury rules anyway. Looking back, I see the ubiquitous Ipod cables reaching up to his ears. Figures.
Ok, the rant is this: If you deliberately prevent yourself from being able to hear your surroundings, you cannot get angry when you're surprised by other trail users. Ride with one ear bud, or no ear buds, or if you really must rock out, take it for granted that you won't be able to tell when people want to pass you. When they do, take it in stride, because screaming obscenities just makes you look like an idiot.