Just what is it about seemingly normal and perfectly pleasant people that turns them into such utter pricks the moment they jump on a saddle and start pedalling on two wheels.
It’s different to the road rage you see when people get in cars; you can understand that, they’re in a big metal tank, they feel powerful and protected, and their behaviours change accordingly.
But on a bike you are completely vulnerable, and yet still so many people turn into complete, irredeemable lunatics that I actively despise with a passion.
I’ve traveled to work by bike in London for two years now, and lived and cycled in the bike-filled streets of Cambridge for four, so I know what I’m talking about. I still enjoy cycling but by god I’d enjoy it a lot more if these wankers weren’t on the roads with me.
17. People riding Penny Farthings
Yes, I have actually seen this happen in real life, it’s not some Onion-style joke that you think can’t possibly happen, not even in the hipster-filled lands of East London. Well I saw it and, whether it was done ironically, post-ironically, or whatever the hell follows post-irony, it is unacceptable. It is a stupid bike and that’s why God invented the BMX, so people didn’t have to live like this any more. And before you ask, of course it was in Shoreditch.
16. People on those lie-down bikes
Not one you see too regularly in London, these – I’ve looked it up and their official name is a ‘recumbent bicycle’ – were all over the shop in Cambridge, and you know the one word I think when I see someone riding one? ‘Wanker.’
Apparently they’re quicker than normal bikes but I can’t believe they’re anywhere near as safe and they look ridiculous, so sit up straight and cycle properly like everyone else you lazy bastards.
15. Santander cyclists
I refuse to use the term ‘B***s bikes’ as, like most things with to do with our esteemed foreign secretary, he had bugger all to do with them and took all the credit (and the name; tbh ‘Ken’s cycles’ doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue) when they came in. Anyway, I digress.
Despite the fact that the scheme is absolutely a good idea and should be lauded for helping take people out of cars, and definitely should continue, it doesn’t stop me getting annoyed by part-time cyclists wearing no helmets and no protective gear who cannot control their admittedly-weighty bike in any way shape or form, basically menacing everyone else on the road. It’s tough to criticise as I’m fully in support of the scheme in general but criticising is literally the point of this article. So screw you, Santander cyclists.
14. Women riding massively heavy bikes with wicker baskets on
A close relation to the Santander cycle, what on God’s green earth makes women (and it is always women) think that riding a dutch bicycle that looks like it’s been made of a mixture of lead and concrete with a giant wicker basket on the front is remotely practical when their route takes them round the Wall of Death that is Old Street Roundabout.
But on they merrily cycle, taking about three years to climb a hill, oblivious to all around them. Weirdly, they never seem to get into accidents and I have no idea how. Maybe cars just bounce off them. What is the wicker basket for? Ah, of course, their enormous handbag which has everything they could ever need for any situation ever, including a full IKEA toolset. It’s good because what that bike could do with is being weighed down a bit more.
13. People who ride around parks with ghettoblasters
If you look like the lad above, and it’s the 1980s, and you live in the Bronx, and you have a proper ghettoblaster and when you get off your bike you put some quality hip-hop on and start treating the surrounding, and growing crowds, to a lesson in virtuoso breakdancing, then that’s fine.
If it’s 2017, you’re a bloke who still lives with his parents in his mid-30s and you spend your spare time riding round a park with metal blasting out of a poor quality Tandy boombox, then you need to get a) a life and b) a job.
12. People who squeeze by at red lights to line up alongside or just ahead of you rather just waiting behind you
Notice we have made it this far without any mention of those cyclists for whom waiting even one second longer than they need to is a personal insult to them; a sleight on their utmost and pivotal importance to the continuing rotation of the Earth and everyone on it. Well, readers, now is their time.
First in the firing line is a really specific one, but one which makes my blood boil. I’ll be honest, pretty much all the detail is in the title just up there – look up a bit – there it is.
Honestly, what is the point? We’re all stopped. No one’s going anywhere. You are – at best – going to gain about six feet on me. And if my get my game face on, I’ll easily eat that up when the light hits orange. But no, you’re going to squeeze through the tiny gap between me and the van, whose paintwork you are about to scratch, just to pointlessly get ever-so-slightly further up the queue. You are literally a queue jumper, and sorry mate but this is England and that puts you only marginally above a paedophile.
11. People in lycra
Mate, you’re commuting in to your job on an IT helpdesk. You’re not doing the Tour de France. Any miniscule time you make up by upping your aerodynamic capabilities will soon be trimmed off by getting stuck behind a bus which needs to let 45 feral schoolkids off. It’s pointless and, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you look like an idiot.
10. Cyclists with no lights
Just. Buy. Some. Lights. They’re. Literally. About. Three. Quid. On. Amazon.
9. People who cycle with their kids on the back seat
On a deserted country lane in the height of summer, then just about maybe I can let this go. In the middle of rush hour going through Piccadilly Circus then it’s a big nope from me. I mean, are you completely mad? If you go down next to an HGV, at least you can make some sort of vain attempt to save yourself by diving off your bike, but your kid’s buggered. I know the tube is terrible, but honestly, give the poor blighter a chance in life.
8. Boris Johnson
The guy’s a prick.
7. People who take shortcuts through hold-ups or round red lights by cycling up the pavement and then back onto the road
Scum. Sub-human scum.
6. People who overtake you whilst you’re on the go using the tiny gap between you and a giant bloody lorry
The phrase here is ‘it’s your funeral, mate’. Couldn’t wait until there was a bit of clear road? No, didn’t think so, things to do, people to meet, deals to close, pointless existence to maintain (until you get trapped under the wheels of an HGV).
5. The rider who tries to ‘educate’ every passing motorist who makes a mistake
Now, in my experience, motorists have been pretty good with me. They usually give you plenty of room, they wait for you when you’re huffing up a hill, they usually signal. Occasionally, though, they will let the side down – and if they’ve done it deliberately or carelessly then you are perfectly within your rights to give them a volley of good and pure Anglo-Saxon.
But God it winds me up to see a driver who’s made a tiny, tiny error and some absolute prick (obviously, obviously with a GoPro on their helmet) lecturing them about the rules of the road and the right of ways of cyclists. What do you think this will achieve mate? No one likes being lectured and they’re more likely to get wound up and annoyed and drive into someone (hopefully you). You can just tell that some of them absolutely love it when a motorist makes a mistake and they can get on their high horse. Actually if they could get on a high horse rather than a bike then we’d all be better off.
4. People with no helmets
This is your head when you fall off and hit the road without a helmet on:
I mean, if that’s what you want for yourself then fine, knock yourself out (a-ha), but I’d rather not have to see it, so just do it for me OK?
3. People who use their phones while cycling
I understand this is 2017 and we cannot go more than five seconds without checking our phones for a tiny morsel of peer approval that comes when those sweet sweet likes come trickling in from that absolute solid gold hot take you had on that viral video, but FOR CRYING OUT LOUD GUYS CAN YOU NOT GIVE IT A REST FOR TEN MINUTES.
Cycling is like a survival sport: there are constant hazards firing at you from 360 degrees; every time you make it home alive you breathe a sigh of relief (this may not apply if you live in Didcot); you need all four of your limbs and every ounce of your concentration to do it properly. How on earth can you justify checking your phone? And before you say it – if you’re using GPS then either pull over and look, or try the revolutionary tactic of actually looking it up before you set off and remember it. Indefensible.
2. People who cycle with no hands on the handlebars
Now pretty much everything else on this list, I can justify using reason, logic and extreme anger. Alas, dear readers, I cannot reason this one into second place, but it’s my list so I don’t need to.
The arrogance. The smugness. The sheer wankerness of people who cycle along with no hands on the handlebars. It sickens me. “Oh look at me, I don’t even need to use my hands to cycle. Look how amazing I am. Look how clever I am.”
Well, ma-tey, the joke’s on you because you’re less aerodynamically efficient by being bolt upright (I think. Probably). And everyone hates you. And you’ve got no mates. And I cannot describe how much I’d laugh if you fell over. In fact, I’d probably get off my bike and stand over you screaming abuse like Roy Keane did to Alf-Inge Haaland (unless you were actually hurt, then I might be nice. I’m not an animal, it just really annoys me).
And before you ask, no I can’t do it myself but that plays no part in my decision. Not even at all. Definitely not.
1. People who run red lights
Let my fury know no bounds because these people are truly the devil’s own.
Cyclists who run red lights are appalling human beings on a variety of levels, which, as if traveling floor-by-floor on a lift, we will pass through.
Firstly it’s the sheer arrogance to decide that, despite being quite literally on a road, the rules of said road do not apply to you. Oh, but you want cars to follow the rules of say, indicating, giving you space and not killing you? They need to follow the rules, but you don’t? Oh that’s fine then.
Secondly, it’s a massive danger to pedestrians crossing (no joke there, it just is dangerous).
Thirdly, it’s another form of queue jumping and please refer back to point 12 for my thoughts on that.
Fourthly, it’s the fact that drivers are not exactly trying to avoid having excuses to hate cyclists. A lot of them hate us even when we’re behaving well. But there you go giving them ample – and justified – ammunition to slag us off to everyone, not to mention that it will wind them up, and they could then take it out on another, entirely blameless, cyclist later in the day. We all suffer for your selfish actions and it really gets my goat, so much so that if I was a goat, this is what I would do to cyclists who run red lights:
May you all burn in hell come judgement day.