Some thoughts on cycling, every day, in all weathers.
I am a misanthrope from the moment I put bum to saddle, until I dismount.
I used to only hate taxis. This soon extended to include all drivers. Now I hate other cyclists and pedestrians, too. Here are some of Eleanor’s tips for happy cycling. If everyone could follow these, I might start liking people again.
1. Drivers: If you’d like to suggest that I move forward/get out of your way, the usual verbal abuse, gesticulation and honking is sufficient. You really don’t need to drive into the back of my bike repeatedly to bump me forwards.
If you do hit me, have the decency to stop and make sure I can still stand. An apology is always welcome, too.
If you cut me up and I then catch up with you at the next set of traffic lights, I will then cycle at snail’s pace directly in front of you for as long as I safely can. Just so you know.
Driving up behind me and honking to make me jump isn’t funny. Especially up hill. I’m going as fast as I can.
Y’know that red or green stripe down the lefthand side of the road? The one with little white bikes painted on it? Can you guess what that’s for? Not cars. Ditto that nice box with bikes painted on it that sits in front of you at traffic lights. Incidentally, those yellow criss-cross boxes are not places to sit and wait for a traffic light to change colour, either.
You have mirrors. Use them. You also have eyes. Use them, too.
You have indicators. Use them, don’t just turn across me.
Speed limits are there for a reason. Those really annoying “if you hit me at 30 there’s an 80% chance I’ll live” ads are true for cyclists as well as children. Although, see above, I’d really rather you didn’t hit me at all.
2. Cyclists: Signal. Using your arm. Make it obvious where you’re going. Not only are you less likely to get squished, but people won’t hate you. Anyone who is not a confident/good enough cyclist not to be able to signal without swerving all over the road SHOULD NOT BE ON THE ROAD.
Having said that, don’t cycle on the pavement. Everyone hates you. And it’s illegal.
Wear a helmet, because not wearing one is screamingly moronic. Ditto cycling after dark without lights. That’s just asking to be killed.
If I overtake you and you then catch up with me at the next set of traffic lights, don’t muscle your way in front of me. That just means I have to overtake you again in 2 mins.
3. Pedestrians: Remember that bikes are silent. You have eyes. Use them.
Make a clear distinction between road and pavement. On one you definitely have right of way. On the other, get out the way.
That’s all for now. No more cycling until Monday. I can feel my blood pressure dropping already.