Friday, June 21, 2013

Why I hate cyclists!

I went for a drink with my mate Jonny this week. I’ve known him for nigh on forty years and I think we got as close as we ever have to falling out! You see, Jonny is a mad keen cyclist, and I’m sorry but I just have no time for them. I know it’s healthy, environmentally friendly and a cheap form of transport, but does that give them the right to consider themselves above the law?

....and no friends
Jonny’s argument is that the worse he can do to my car is chip the paint or dent a wing mirror. The worse my car can do to him is kill him. My response is ‘don’t wind me up then!’ If someone has a gun in their hand you show them respect, not look down on them, flaunt breaking the law in front of them and just generally carry on in your own little zone expecting everyone to see life the way they do.

Now, I have to be balanced and, of course it goes without saying that not all cyclists are like this, just as not all dog walkers let their dogs pooh on the pavement (& not pick it up) not all Scotsmen are mean, Irish thick or Portsmouth fans lunatics….ok, it might be difficult to disprove that last one.
I'm sure the lady in black is normal?
I’m sure as a runner there will be things that I do that causes offence, particularly with drivers on country lanes. Case in point: runners with headphones: Wrong, selfish, very dangerous.  

You're a very bad lady
But cyclists, if you are decent human beings, please note the following:

In the car I get wound up by:

Undertaking – every evening I have to crawl through a part of Harpenden because the road is just slightly too narrow to overtake an idiot cyclist on his fold up bike in his pinstripe suit who has just got off the train, if there’s a car coming the other way (& at 6pm there are plenty!)
Having finally got past him you come up to traffic lights that have turned red and you have to wait helplessly as this idiot undertakes and goes to the front of the queue! We then start the whole process again. (Well, not now because I go as hard up to the curb as I can to stop him getting past on the inside)

If there’s a cycle path, why do some cyclists persist in using the road? Don’t tell me, you want to go fast. So do I, but sometimes I can’t because of you. Go fast on your cycle path, but keep your eyes open, I fail to see the difference.

Please don’t cycle two abreast, you just deserve grief. Yes, you still see this!


Red light at traffic light means stop for cyclists to. Particularly in towns and cities.

When I’m running, I am very often startled by cyclists who come up behind me. Where’s your bell? I have checked this out and supposedly it is the law to have a bell on a bike at point of sale but not a stipulation when the bike is ridden, leading to many cyclists removing them. (Perhaps without it the bike becomes more aerodynamic?)

From 20 yards, a hearty cry of ‘bike’ ‘morning’ even ‘run fatboy run’ or a ring of a bell really does make a difference. One day I will accidentally step out in front of an overtaking bike and it wont be pretty for either of us.

Great Film, still an inspiration!
Secondly, and this applies equally to runners. I’m a friendly guy, if you are coming the other way, or overtaking me, just acknowledge me. A nod, a wave, a word is alI ask. I don’t want to hear about your job, your sick aunt or even where you’re going, but you are, like me, someone who has escaped to the great outdoors and this is a joy and a privilege as we share creation. That gives me empathy with you and I don’t think it hurts to acknowledge that. So go on, nod back.


As a little aside on this, I find runners and cyclists ruder the more affluent the area I’m running through. I suppose this is an identity thing, and perhaps politeness or acknowledgement is considered a weakness. Pathetic eh, but true!

I’m scraping the barrel on my last point, but why do some bikes not have mud guards? I cannot stand seeing the backside of someone whose lycra shorts look like they’ve been soiled. I’m sure you had some great fun whizzing through those puddles and dirt tracks, and now you’ve got half of it up your backside!

Sort it out.

Why such a polemic against cyclists? It’s like people who have a fear of dogs will typically have a story of being bitten when they were younger. When I was 18 I was walking home from work along the path which runs alongside the Harpenden to St Albans road, and it was winter and it was dark. Suddenly I was hit hard in the chest and sent reeling to the floor. I was confused and thought I was about to be mugged until I heard this sound of a wheel spinning and some groaning. A cyclist without any lights had hit me at top speed. We both were shaken up, a bit bruised and grazed, and my suit was covered in mud. He never offered to pay! I guess I have a long memory.

Jonny will always be my mate. When we go for a beer we’re always like a couple of grumpy old men ‘It wasn’t like this in our day’ etc, but this is one subject we’ll never agree on.

It’s a natural progression from running, to knees/hips/ankles giving way, to cycling. When my injuries cause me to hang up my Asics I’m just going to become fat!
 Postscript: I've just told my wife that i've had  bit of a rant about cyclists. her face dropped and she told me how she found out today that a chap called Rob who goes to her church was recently knocked off his bike and now has brain damage. Nobody deserves that, and my comments are meant a little to provoke, perhaps amuse, certainly think but NEVER to hurt or desrespect anyone who has suffered a loss or an injury whilst out cycling.

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