(Some) cyclists

Cyclists-crowd

I am going to begin this entry with a rare conciliatory preface. I admire most cyclists. I like cyclists. A few cyclists I find positively inspirational (like @OttilieQ – visit her website and then put yourself on an organ donation register). Hell, some of my best friends are cyclists. So let me first say this:

I appreciate that Britain’s road infrastructure is not fairly balanced towards your favoured means of transport. I understand you often unfairly receive abuse from other road users who have little grasp of the Highway Code. I get that you are vulnerable – just a frail human being encased in a skintight outfit and an awkward-looking helmet, sharing the road with vehicular behemoths and their aggressive pilots who feel empowered to hurl abuse at you from the protective confines of their air-conditioned seat. I get it – truly I do.

That being said, some of you are still cunts.

There are many subsets here, so forgive the list format, but when a group commits so many assaults against polite society it helps to compartmentalise.

Cyclists that run red lights
Let’s get this one out if the way first. It’s obvious, it’s been oft written about, but it’s no less fucking annoying. If I’m at a pedestrian crossing and I get a green light, I don’t think it’s too much to expect that the red light greeting approaching road users will afford me safe passage to the opposite curb. I would rather it didn’t herald a real-life game of Frogger, with me starring as the frog.

The fact that you’re near-enough silent makes the whole experience of narrowly avoiding a collision with a high-speed Lycra-clad assassin even more terrifying. Is it that you don’t know? Does the cycling proficiency test not cover traffic lights?? Or is it that you are so supremely confident in your two-wheeled city-traversing abilities that you feel the traffic light is an unnecessary bureaucratic impediment to your swift onward journey, that as a cyclist travelling only 25 miles an hour you are essentially exempt from any kind of traffic control, and anyway… human beings are the simplest of obstacles to avoid, aren’t they? I suspect it’s the latter.

Cyclists that mount the pavement
You’re not like a Native American spirit warrior who walks two worlds – you’re either a vehicle on the road, or a pedestrian on the pavement. You do not get the option of whizzing down a pedestrianised zone because the traffic suddenly seizes up for a second or two. And don’t you DARE ring your little fucking bell to get me to move over as I amble at a perfectly reasonable velocity. GET OFF YOUR FUCKING BIKE!!

Cyclists who ride two abreast on narrow country roads
Having a nice chat, are we? No please, don’t mind me, or indeed the 47 other cars currently stuck in a slow-moving line behind you. If you were traveling single file there’d be just enough room to overtake without risking a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle, but you’re probably having a really important conversation aren’t you? Something about carbs or glutes I’d wager…

Cyclists that lean on your car while waiting at a junction
I must at least commend you for stopping at the red light, or resisting the urge to mount the pavement. But don’t touch my car. It’s my car. I don’t like strangers touching it. Especially sweaty ones. How about I lean out the window and pop a hand on your saddle while we wait? Too familiar? Then take your clammy mitts off my Ford Focus!

Cyclists that wear Lycra when they really, really shouldn’t
Some things you can’t un-see. A lot of cyclists pull off the Lycra look because, well, they’re cyclists, and such a pursuit lends itself to a toned physique. But there are some cyclists – I’m guessing part-time ones – whose bodies have yet to fully respond to the physical demands of this activity. In the name of decency, please wait until they have before donning the skintight outfit. Lycra is the least forgiving material at the best if times, but when encasing a body shape that errs on the lardy it becomes positively vindictive.

I don’t want to see every fold of your excess flesh, every roll of fat, every glutinous curve of your body. I don’t want an unfiltered presentation of the exact proportions of your massive arse. And I particularly don’t want to see the contours of your squashed genitalia. In short, I feel it’s unfair to have the equivalent of a human lava lamp thrust into my line of sight. Black is slimming. Lycra is not.

Cyclists that take their bikes down an escalator
Ha ha. No it’s fine. I didn’t want to jog down the steps so I could catch my train. I’m more than happy for you to impose your own rate of descent on everyone else behind you. I mean it is annoying taking that slight detour for the lift, isn’t it? I completely understand. Please, carry on. I insist.

Cyclists that ride without holding the handlebars
I’ve covered this already, but it’s worth repeating.

Cyclists that wear ultra bright headlamps
A new phenomenon this, but one that I’m experiencing with increasing frequency. Apparently the traditional bike lamp just doesn’t cut it anymore, and the high power xenon headlamp has become the nighttime cyclist’s illuminating device of choice. Nothing wrong with this, you may think. Why shouldn’t cyclists equip themselves with the same modern illumination that drivers have in their car headlights?

Well for one, ours are dipped. And as you cycle towards me with your head proudly held high, you are filling my car with the blinding light of a God revealing himself. I hope you can see me. Because I sure as Hell can no longer see you. Or anything else, for that matter…

Cyclists with a smug sense of self-satisfaction
You know who you are. For you, cycling isn’t a hobby or a form of exercise or even a way of getting from A to B. It’s an almost religious calling that you have taken up so that the rest of us infidels may gaze upon your majesty, your single-handed attempt to save the planet, and – let’s not be coy – your incredibly firm thighs. You despise drivers of motorised vehicles and pity poor pedestrians. Our complaints regarding your selfish use of the road and pavement falls upon deaf ears as the pious justification for your pedal-based tyranny oozes from your patronising lips. You commit the majority of the sins mentioned in this post on an almost daily basis. You ride around Box Hill on a Sunday because since 2012 it’s become your Mecca. But you’re not an Olympics-class athlete; you’re a cock. And I hate you. I think a lot of people do.

So, in conclusion: Cycle? Regularly do any of the things listed above? Then stop cycling. Or cycle really really fast. Down a train track.

Ta.

5 comments

  1. erick143

    beautiful momment

  2. Mrs Cyclingwobblybottom

    Cycle? Oh yes. For fun, with friends, with family, to exercise, to get about, to get to work.
    Regularly do any of the things above? Run red lights, lean on cars, mount pavement, own halogen headlight, escalators, no-hands – NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.
    Smugly self-satisfied? I hope not.
    Wear Lycra? Yes. Of course. Lots. And I am fully aware I look vile and horribly wobbly in all of it. Nearly everybody who isn’t actually on Team Sky has that problem. You make a valid point and I will instantly from now on ride in garments and fabrics that simultaneously don’t get caught in the various mechanisms of my bike while covering all my horribly wobbly bits and being breathable, padded and yet easy to move quickly in. Oh hang on, they haven’t invented them yet. And they probably aren’t trying to, because they already invented it. Lycra is the tool for the job and cyclists therefore have zero choice about wearing it, horribly wobbly or not.
    So now I have confessed to regularly committing one of your crimes on a grand scale, I have outted myself as a cunt, and should apparently stop cycling or cycle really fast down a train track. Except I doubt you meant that literally, and you probably only chose that particularly grimly distasteful sign-off for a ‘larf’. Ha. Haha. Ha.
    And there we could possibly leave it. And I probably would, were this not the fifth cyclist-bashing blog/article I’ve read in about as many days.The Telegraph is virtually doing a series of them (perhaps you spotted the bandwagon and jumped on?). And that in itself wouldn‘t be a problem either, apart from the also very valid points raised in this Guardian article: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2013/sep/22/cycling-daily-telegraph-lycra-louts
    I hope you read it. I particularly hope you read the bits about grouping horribly rude and dangerous cyclists with those of us just trying to wobble by in lycra on 2 wheels. I really, especially hope you read the paragraphs at the end about how when a driver sights my wobbly, lycra-clad behind, full of fury after reading pieces like this, they don’t know whether I’m a cyclist regularly committing just one of the crimes on your list (out of no choice), or all of them. And yet in part I’m depending on the actions of that furious driver to keep me alive. Maybe they’re imagining they’re a train and I’m cycling really fast down a train track. What a lark.
    But it’s OK for you to have written this because it’s just a larf, you did a little caveat at the start about some of your best mates being cyclists, and ‘You get it. Truly you do’.
    Truly, you don’t.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      I do hope that as regular readers will have figured out, if my blog targets any particular group of people it’s “selfish people”, or at least people that don’t consider the comfort, well-being or convenience of others. Alas there are a lot of them out there… Some drive cars (there are several entries on this blog about drivers), some walk down the street (ditto), some take planes, and, yes, some ride bicycles.

      “Some” is the principal word here. You sound like a conscientious cyclist – any furious driver that assumes you to be otherwise based purely on their experiences with your more selfish peers deserves as much ire as anyone.

      I don’t read the Torygraph, but I’m well aware of the bandwagon of which you speak, which is the reason for the caveat not only in my opening paragraph, but in the title itself. I rather feel I’ve gone deliberately out of my way to insist that the majority of cyclists are ok by me.

      But this is a blog that lists things that annoy me. And not a weekend goes by without a person on a bike annoying me, so it would be odd not to mention it on this blog, no?

      But I am going to take this opportunity to slightly amend that first paragraph to make my feelings clearer. I’m sure it won’t appease you, but it will better reflect my stance.

      (And I grant you, the Lycra thing is a tad unfair, but I had a very particular person in mind when I wrote that, and I am almost 100% sure your body shape is nowhere near as ill-suited to the material as this person’s was.)

  3. Mrs Cyclingwobblybottom

    Actually, that does somewhat appease me. “I admire most cyclists. I like cyclists.” was really, really not coming across before, and now you’ve clarified that. I’m far more ready to accept a narrative of ‘the vast majority of you on 2 wheels are doing your best but some cunts are ruining it for everyone’ to the previous ‘everyone who wobbles in lycra is a cunt who should be under a train, except not of course my best mates who cycle’. And almost certainly my initial interpretation of it was harsher than it would usually be as I have cyclist-bashing-article-fatigue, so apologies for that.
    I’m not a Torygraph reader by nature either, but as we’re both well aware of the bandwagon it shows how vocal (and potentially dangerous) it is. And as I really don’t think aggressive drivers need any more reasons to drive aggressively at cyclists, I’m still rather peeved you chose to add to the noise at this time. However, as you’re writing about things that annoy you and as the majority of what you’ve written about is, indeed, very, very annoying, fair enough. Thank you anyway for the amendment. I look forward to the return of posts on Thundercats and bra straps.

  4. ianbrettcooper

    I’ve been cycling for 45 years. In fact I like cycling so much that I never learned to drive a car because I reckoned that cycling was healthier and almost as convenient. So whenever I go farther than a mile, I cycle, and if I have to go farther than a few miles, I take a bus or a train. Anyway, as a committed cyclist, I’m a bit confused by the assertion that lycra is a necessary part of cycling. I’ve never worn it. I wear cotton in summer and wool in winter – it works fine for me.

    As for the assertion that cyclists shouldn’t ride two abreast. WRONG! Motorists should ALWAYS change lanes to overtake every cyclist, so if cyclists are riding two abreast, as long as they’re not taking up more than one lane, what’s the problem? If you routinely squeeze past cyclists without changing lanes, THAT’S the problem – stop doing that! It’s extremely dangerous!

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