Firstly, i’m not a great fan of labelling myself as anything, let alone a cyclist. Mainly because i don’t dress myself in full lycra from the neck down just to go for a short ride to get a tin of beans, and also because i think labelling yourself as something is quite tragic sounding, leave the labels for the Tescos reduced section, ok.
I started commuting to work, by bike, around two years ago and I’ve gotta say it really has changed my life (slightly). I decided to use what little money i had at the time to purchase a bicycle with the intention of becoming a fully fledged commuter cyclist.
I decided on purchasing a Cannondale Trial 4 (2015) mountain bike which is known in the industry as an ‘entry level’ bike.
My first ride, to say the least, was eventful. I’d completely forgot what limited ‘rules of the road’ knowledge I’d retained from my bike rides as a kid and quickly found myself running red lights, giving way to the up, down, and left, and steaming across roundabouts as if i was late for my tea.
After a few days I’d brushed up on my road ethics and started to settle into my morning commutes. My ride was a mixture of cycle paths, bridleways and roads. I quickly learned of the chaotic state the roads are in around North London, and probably the rest of the city to be honest. I struggled, initially, with dodging pot holes and arseholes, and by arseholes i mean people that drive like they are playing MarioKart or Crazy Taxi.
I am considerate to other cyclist and motorists, in fact all road users. But that holds no strength against the drivers that automatically beleive you’re in the wrong, in their eyes, no matter what you do.
So what are these instances that you talk about I here you say? Well, drifting a couple of centimetres out from the kerb when your legally allowed a metre, in my eyes, doesn’t warrant having someone slow down as they are passing you, open their window, honk the horn like a delirious fox hunter, and hurl abusive language in your direction.
This for me is a weekly occurrence and is the lesser of the abuse and hostility i receive whilst riding. I understand people get frustrated with the roads as much as anyone who uses them, but there has to be common courtesy applied by all for it to go as smooth as possible.
I was brought up to be thick skinned, so people swearing and ranting their heads of at me really doesn’t bother me, most of the time i just laugh and smile at them, which, weirdly enough, normally makes them worse. But being thick skinned, unfortunately isn’t much of a defence when you come off your bike due to a collision.
I’ve had my fair share (4 to be exact), but i will tell you about one that sticks out in my mind. Ok, if I’m honest, it surprised me the way the driver had reacted.
I was cycling up to a roundabout, my direction of travel was to take the second exit. After waiting for my chance to proceed, I entered the roundabout. A man driving a 4×4 abruptly reared his ugly wheels and blatantly made a little jerk over to my direction (which was to the left) and inevitably sandwiched my wheels between his car and the kerb, ultimately knocking me off my bike and onto the pavement, where I was close to hitting some pedestrians.
This childish act of road rage left me flumoxed, and to be honest, I was raging. I decided on this occasion that i wasn’t going to let this one go, so i gave chase to confront this tank driving commander and to see if this person lived up to his wanky driving.
Once I’d caught up to the rear of his tank. I put the big gladiator foam hands into his rear windscreen, making him slap the halters on and charge out of his tank like a nazi panzer commander confronting the allies.
He ran up to me and, without any warning, started slinging dick my way.
He attempted to punch me at least 47 times before realising that i was a young man at 6ft 3 and he was on the shite side of 50 and about as tall as Napoleon. I tried to explain to him that he nearly killed me and also some by standers waiting for the bus, but he was in such a rage that it really was falling on deaf ears so I picked my bike up and bugged out with the satisfaction that I’d really pissed this geezer off, paybacks a bitch ya tele-tubby.
Anyway, of course I’m going to be bias, but i believe the majority of cyclists obey the rules of the road and conduct themselves in the correct way. But obviously there is idiots on each side of the road. What do you think?
Thanks for listening.