Pedal Pushers

Too much of something is not always good; my personal exception to this theory of course is money, but as for everything else…just forget it. People 'en masse': queues, Anarchists 'en masse': protests, Cars 'en masse': traffic, I can just about cope with all of this, but one thing I can’t cope with? Cyclists. And they don’t even have to be 'en masse' for me to get pissed off. Unicycle, tandem, small group or marathon, the uncontrollable agitation rises up within me and it doesn’t matter if I’m a driver or a pedestrian either way I see it as an inconvenience, a hold up.

But the real reason why I hate cyclists so much (aside from them being an inconvenience) is because of their complete total and utter lack of awareness on the road. They ride around the streets willy nilly, completely unphased by the growing number of cars behind them, weaving in and out of traffic with no indication, not even looking where they’re going, completely unfit to be on the road. I often drive past cyclists thinking “do you actually want to die?” And at night it gets even worse; with no hive jacket, no break lights and flat tyres, it’s as if they’re asking to be mowed over. Ghost riders. They appear out of nowhere like a thief in the night and I often find myself slamming my breaks down and darting around them to avoid a crash. I distinctly remember on one dark, rainy occasion swerving the wheel to dodge a pedal pusher and I ended up driving through a huge puddle of water inadvertently saturating the cyclist head to toe. It was glorious; I loved it. If I’d of had the time to stop, I would of whipped out my camera and watch him gesticulate through my passenger side window. Served him right springing out of nowhere like that.

The shoddy cycling comes as no surprise; after all you don’t need a license to ride a bike. That’s a law that I’d like to see enforced, at least it would take some of those maniacs off the road. But instead of laws being implemented to discourage cyclists, the good old mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has created the Barclay’s Cycle Hire scheme to promote the use of environmentally friendly transport. Everywhere I look there are Boris bikers all over the place, riding round the streets and docking their bikes on every corner. And that’s not even all of it; when the tourists get involved it’s even worse. They leisurely ride down the street in big groups, stopping at every instance to look at the sights causing unnecessary traffic. To top it all off they don’t even pay attention to the cycle lanes. I understand there can be some issues for pedallers when it comes to sticking to the cycle lanes, take for example the situation in New York:

I will make leeway for such occurrences, but do not take the piss. If there are no obstructions USE THE CYCLE LANE and get out of my way, that’s what they’re there for. 

In some instances cycle lanes aren’t big enough to cater for the cyclists ‘en masse’ and they have to shut down the roads for marathons causing maximum disruption. If I had a pound for the number of times I’ve been ‘diverted’ because some pathetic cycle fest has taken place I’d be minted. Considering all my grievances about cyclists you can imagine my horror when I saw this at the weekend:

Yes, that’s right the London World Naked Bike Ride; 1,000 naked people riding round the city while I’m stuck in traffic they’ve created, forced to oogle multiple balls and arse crack jiggling about. Fml. I shouldn’t have to endure such monstrosity, just let me go about my business.

The odd thing is that all these issues I have with cyclists only really arise when I’m in London and I haven’t figured out why. I used to live in Shanghai, China, where the amount of cyclists is ten fold to London, and all the chaos never really bothered me. In a city of 16 million people (20 million including day-to-day commuters) the vast majority use bicycles as their only means of transport. Over there, bicycles are ubiquitous; they are absolutely unavoidable, it’s simply their way of life. Everyday I would walk out my front door only to be confronted with hundreds of cyclists on their way to work and I was the one who had to dodge out the way. But I didn’t mind it, I actually found it rather amusing, almost endearing. They ride their bikes, wind, rain or storm with no problem at all, completely detached from the hustle and bustle they're amongst. Some even use bicycles as heavy duty goods carriers! I kid you not.

From a cyclists’ point of view, I understand that they may see it as a great way to keep fit, a cheaper alternative to an automobile and an environmentally friendly way of cutting back on greenhouse gasses. I do not deny any of these things but if you can afford it, why not use a gym and take the bus? I just don’t grasp the appeal of dicing with death for the sake of keeping fit and being ‘energy friendly’, because let’s face it- the world keeps turning, energy keeps burning and no matter how many people cycle, their efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses will always be counteracted by the vast majority.