Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Fair Weather Cyclists

Let me be clear. We're all entitled to use the roads, provided we do so with care and consideration for others. A bit of common courtesy combined with the observance of some relatively simple rules and regulations should ensure we all get to and from our destinations safely. Yes, there will be incidents and accidents to quote Paul Simon, but these, while inevitable are thankfully relatively rare given the volume of traffic out there. Be aware, be cautious, think of others.

You see? I'm a fair-minded, thoughtful individual with liberal, John Stuart Mill 'harm principle' sympathies when it comes to road use. Which is why, when I say what I'm about to say, you might wonder whether I'm losing it a bit. It's just that...well, you fair weather cyclists get on my effing tits. You've got no right to be out there with your gleaming, un-corroded, winter-shy bicycles clogging up the roads and all available lampposts and cycle stands as soon as the bloody sun comes out. I mean, there's me, come rain or shine, snow or frost, slogging my way into town every day - and I never miss, ever - nose running, eyes raw, fingers sopping and solid, risking my life on all manner of slippery and treacherous road surface, often in the dark, attaching and detaching lights, scrabbling into useless rainwear at every squall, choking on fog, coddling inside layers that are never quite enough...just so you can come along in late May, all virtuous in your tee-shirts and idiotic shorts, and claim the roads for yourselves. Well it's not right, is it? They're mine.

And you - yes you - on your Boris Bike, trundling around, thinking you're something special, never signalling, chatting to your mates as you ride four abreast, stopping to take in the scenery, bloody-well enjoying your little cycle in the sun, whilst wilfully ignoring the essential tenets of daily city centre cycling - you need to buck up. Here's the code. Learn it:
1) Always go through red lights (if safe to do so - you're on a bloody bike, f'Chrissakes)
2) Always go the wrong way up one way streets (if safe to do so - you're on a bloody bike, f'Chrissakes)
3) Shout at and shock idiotic pedestrians who don't look because they're on their mobile phones (safe or otherwise NB you may legally clip them on a shoulder or knee)
4) Scream at and remonstrate with bus drivers when they try and kill you (because they can't really answer back with passengers on board and professional restrictions and whatnot)
5) Kill - literally kill, if at all possible - white van drivers because they are trying to kill you (pre-emptive, self preservation principle)
6) Remove taxi drivers' wing mirrors at every opportunity with a violent swing of the hand (they're taxi drivers - doesn't matter; and they deserve it for past and future mis-deeds)
7) Have at your disposal a pithy string of epithets to hurl at swerving, mindless drivers on phones, fiddling with radios etc (my personal favourite: 'I've got two little girls who want to see their Dad at home tonight, not visit him in hospital because some cu*t thinks his phone call is more important than fucking looking where he's going' - admittedly, this is clumsy and lengthy and only works when, by some miracle, I've caught up with the miscreant at the next lights and his window is open and he's not fucking enormous and shaven-headed.)

So where was I? Oh yes. You, on your Boris Bike, indeed all of you fair weather dawdlers - this is what we hardened cyclists are all about. It's not a playground out there. Get with the programme or get off our roads. And stop taking our parking spaces. I mean it.

Ok. Off my chest. I think I need a nice cup of cocoa and a Digestive.

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