Trail Connection: Meet Igor
Igor and his son welcome you to the mobility future, where families can get a bit of a boost with pedal-assisted e-bikes and electric skateboards. Learn more about their favorite ways to use the trails and how to look out for other trail users.
Arlington’s trails are popular and used by many people—families walking and biking, couples strolling,, individuals exercising, and daily commuters running or biking to work. In fact, in a recent Arlington Parks and Recreation survey, 73% of Arlington households considered paved, multi-use trails the most important outdoor park facility.
While trails bring people together in the same place, it can be hard to connect beyond a friendly hello or a wave which is why BikeArlington and WalkArlington have asked people in the community to share their favorite tips, best trail moments, and more about themselves.
As a father of a four-year old toddler, and an Arlington County resident who really embraces the “car-lite” lifestyle, I am a big fan and frequent user of the trail system. As an Arlington County Government employee who supports infrastructure construction projects, I have a unique perspective on what it takes to plan, build, maintain, and expand our wonderful trail system. I am very thankful to the County Board and various advocacy groups for supporting these efforts.
What do you do for fun?
Our family loves having fun on wheels! We somehow manage to fit five bikes and five skateboards into our one-bedroom Arlington condo.
How do you use the trails?
I use the trails for commuting, leisure, and exercise. In my case, these are often one and the same. I actually look forward to my daily commute on an electric-assist bike, electric skateboard, or on one of the shared bikes.
I’ve also found multiple ways to bring my son along for the ride—whether biking and skating together, pushing him along as he rides his own bike, or towing him in a wagon. I can drop him at the daycare, get to work, run errands, and do grocery shopping on my own schedule, all while maintaining a minimal carbon footprint, and without having to pay for parking and gas.
What’s your favorite trail in Arlington? And Why?
All trails have something unique to offer:Jogging down Mount Vernon Trail offers breathtaking views of Potomac and DC; the Custis Trail is a cycling roller coaster between Rosslyn and Ballston; Lubber Run Trail offers an opportunity to do some mountain biking right in the middle of the County; the W&OD Trail connects me to my friends in Shirlington and Fairfax; Arlington Blvd by Fort Myer offers a perfect mile-long stretch for bombing downhill on a longboard.
Describe your favorite “trail moment,” when something was truly breathtaking, you achieved a personal milestone, had a really great interaction with another trail user, or another sort of positive experience?
When I was riding my electric skateboard up the Custis trail and passed a guy riding a uniwheel (basically a self-balancing unicycle powered by electricity), I realized that the future is here and now. It felt like I was in a mash-up of Back to the Future and Jetsons.
How do you change your riding/walking/running/etc. when you encounter someone using the trail in a different manner than yourself?
I always keep in mind that our trails are multi-use. Their shared-use nature means that certain etiquette must be observed in order for everyone to stay safe and happy while enroute. I try to understand the capabilities and limitations of various mode of transport and react accordingly.
If I am on my electric skateboard and I see someone pedaling or jogging at a slower speed, I will slow down, pull up behind them, alert them to my presence, and pass only when I have plenty of room to do so.
If I’m pushing my kid in a side-by-side arrangement and see someone passing another person going in the opposite direction, I will make room by re-orienting myself and my kid into a single-file formation.
What tip would you offer a first-time trail user?
Walk Arlington, Bike Arlington, and Arlington County Parks and Recreation websites all provide good information on how to use the trails safely. My personal safety tips are:
1. Move at the pace you can safely maintain, always look ahead and anticipate what will happen within the next several seconds.
2. Always have at least one ear headphone-free (yes, music in the other ear makes it that much better).
3. As courtesy to others, yield to those who have to work harder than you do (i.e., if you are riding downhill, yield to people pedaling uphill), leave plenty of room for others to pass you, communicate your intentions by using hand signals, your voice, or a bell
4. Last but not least, smile! If you are on the trail and not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.
Do you or someone you know love using the Arlington trails? We’d love to talk to you! Email us firstname.lastname@example.org.