Wednesday 9 October 2013

Let's Talk About...

... you, my morning nemesis, clad in black, Lycra shorts, black vest, black helmet and racing in front of me... on a bike.
Yes, let’s talk about you, my daily companion (look, it’s just an expression, all right?), as you speed away from me, ducking cars, weaving your way around lorries and jumping red lights.
Which one will jump the next red light?
That’s where the problem lies.
It is not the fact that your bicycle is better than mine, that you are taller than I am, that you have longer legs and therefore ride faster than I do. It’s the fact that you seem to have almost no respect at all for the Highway Code.
A code, by the way, by which we all ought to abide: motorists, bikers, lorry drivers, skaters and... cyclists.
Is it a sense of superiority that consumes you? The thought of overtaking each and every cyclist you whizz past on the road. I see them as you leave them behind, huffing and puffing. Breathless. I, too, get breathless. And all the time you, looking regal and majestic, ducking cars, weaving your way around lorries and jumping yet more red lights.
I could live with the ignominy of defeat. After all I get my own back on the 8:12am guy. You know the one because by the time I cheetah past him you are a good two hundred yards ahead of me. What I cannot live with, though, if the thought of the damage you do to cycling.
Listen, brother, we are the baddies in this story. Even if we are the ones who get crushed under the wheels of an LGV. We are the cyclists riding on the road two abreast, we are the ones who climb onto pavements (you are, actually!) and we are the ones with the Lycra shorts (as if showing off our well-shaped legs were a crime). Finally we are the ones who run through red lights (you, again!)
So, let’s talk about you, Mr Early-Morning-Rush-Hour-Fast-Rider.  Let’s talk about the hateful looks drivers give me after you have jumped yet another red light. I stay behind, you see? I am the scapegoat for their anger. Lorries close me in, bus drivers pretend not to see me on their side mirror and bikers compete with me for the small gap in between cars. This is the consequence of your selfish actions: you leave me, your fellow cyclist, in the middle of this Roman gladiatorial arena. With most thumbs pointing down.
I know I will see you tomorrow again. And the day after tomorrow. And the day after that. I wish I had the opportunity to let you know at least half the message I have written here tonight. But I know that won’t happen. Tomorrow, as I come up from one of the many side roads near my house and turn right on to the high street, I will wait for that instant, that moment when you will overtake me, without so much as a nod of the head, speeding away into the distance, leaving this motorists’ bête-noire muttering obscenities under his breath as you duck cars, weave your way around lorries and, not for the last time this week, jump another red light.
© 2013
Photo taken from The Daily Telegraph
Next Post: “Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music”, to be published on Sunday 13th October at 10am (GMT)


  1. Always someone in a hurry and they will pass on by

  2. Send this to the papers. Perhaps, someone will recognize himself/herself in this description and learn something about how others perceive him/her.

  3. Oh, Cuban. This is awesome. Bravo.

  4. These cowboys are known as 'lycra louts' here, and yes, they do damage the image of cyclists. And, too often, themselves.

  5. I know about this so much; Im only a woman who loves to walk alot and some times ago a woman in a bycicle. Beat me no so much but the amaxing she begin to say me horrible things andirty words She said stupid how you see where you walk eyc.only I say was I think the persons goinh in bycicle were relax and happy persons....

  6. Such a shame when someone gives a good thing a bad name! I hope some time he'll get to see this and recognise himself ;)

  7. El respecto a la circulación es primordial, aunque bien sé que algunos se saltan sus códigos, pues tienen prisa.
    Un abrazo.

  8. That must be frustrating for you. Too bad some people only think of themselves, in a hurry, going...nowhere.

  9. Yes, there seems always to be someone (like the one who rides through the red light) who gives the rest a bad rap! I understand your frustration...and empathize.

  10. it is strange that as soon as you're no longer in a car but on a bike the road code seem to lose priority...i confess...i'm guilty of this as well sometimes... but's terribly dangerous...ugh.. so thanks for the reminder to stick to it more closely..

  11. Hear, hear!

    I have no patience for arrogance in anyone, but when that attitude actually makes life harder for others, then it goes beyond annoying. It's, as you note, damaging.

    I wish you could stuff a printed copy of this down his lycra shorts.

  12. Many thanks for your kind comments.

    Would you believe it that last Friday on the way back from work, he overtook me? Serendipity? No, he probably read my post and thought to himself: I'll teach him a lesson! :-)

    Greetings from London.

  13. Too right. I once crashed on a bike in London. I flew over a car and landed on my head - thankfully I was wearing a helmet. I was perfectly OK. The bike, though was a write-off.

    I should have been riding more sensibly. My crash was over 30 years ago and people are still having to say the same things.

    My helmet had a neat little clip-on rear view mirror (much good it did me on that occasion - but it was useful). I wonder if you can still get them?



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