Hell on Wheels

Apologies if this has already been posted...

London cyclists, do you recognise this?

Hell on Wheels
No. It’s not the name of some fiendishly difficult road race in Europe. It’s the title of a brilliant essay in the Atlantic on the sorry state of cycling in London.
The author, a rider who has biked as a primary means of transportation in the city for over a decade, bemoans the rising tide of cycling – and the push to double London’s cycling population in tandem with this summer’s Olympics. Her prose is sublimely evocative. Here’s a taste:
“I’ve biked dozens of American states and all over western Europe, and nowhere else have I encountered a cycling culture so cutthroat, vicious, reckless, hostile, and violently competitive as London’s. New York City’s cyclists are, by comparison, genteel, pinkie-pointing tea-sippers pottering around Manhattan with parasols, demurring, “No, after you, dear.”
“London cyclists accumulate in packs of 25, revving edgily at stoplights, toes twitching on pedals like sprinters’ feet on the blocks at the starting line. Rule No. 1 on the road here is that submitting to another slender tire ahead of you is an indignity comparable to allowing oneself to be peed on in public. Bafflingly, this outrage seems to be universal: purple-faced octogenarians on clanking three-speeds, schoolkids with handlebars plastered in Thomas the Tank Engine decals, and gray-suited salarymen on fold-up Bromptons—all will risk mid-intersection coronaries to overtake any other bicyclist with the temerity to be in front. To stir this frenzied sense of insult, you needn’t be slow. You need simply be there.”
Click to read the entire Atlantic essay – and, in the process, feel better about the state of cycling wherever you are (as long as you’re not in London!).
 

dawesome

Senior Member
"Lionel,knock up an article about cycling, there's a love!"

Picture's good though:

shriver-wide.jpg


That cabbie's got a few bodies under the patio.
 

Hip Priest

Veteran
I must admit, I don't like being overtaken. If it's a superior cyclist, who is quicker than me, I don't mind. However, if it's someone who has gained an unfair advantage by jumping a red or mounting the pavement, then I simply MUST catch and pass them.

Very unbecoming of a gentleman.
 
How does a cyclist rev edgily? Indeed, how does anyone?

It's a fun little swatch of purple - but I don't recognise London cycling in it.

It seems to have been written for a lark - and not for a readership who ever have or ever will cycle in London. I quite like the fact that London cycling enjoys the sort of effective two-speed system that the EU can only dream of.

When I'm up for the fight, I can carve up FX4s and brush mirrors with my elbows - and when I just want a nice cup of tea, I can swan along like a male Miss Marple. Better still, I can do both those things in the same place without feeling I don't fit in with the pace.

I love the cartoon in the post below - but sadly I think I might be closest to the cabbie....
 

Hip Priest

Veteran
Heaven forbid woman should pass you. Oh the shame! ;)
Funny you should mention that. On one of my earliest commutes, riding a bit of a BSO, I caught and passed a very slow moving female roadie atop a pristine Cervelo. She obviously took umbrage and shot past me like a rocket about 10 seconds later!

I think I ruined her recovery ride.
 

Pat "5mph"

A kilogrammicaly challenged woman
Moderator
Location
Glasgow
Peace to all cyclist on earth! 5mph is the new fast, didn't you know? :laugh:
 

HovR

Über Member
Location
Plymouth
Funny you should mention that. On one of my earliest commutes, riding a bit of a BSO, I caught and passed a very slow moving female roadie atop a pristine Cervelo. She obviously took umbrage and shot past me like a rocket about 10 seconds later!

I think I ruined her recovery ride.
When I first rented a Boris Bike I decided to test out what sort of speeds I could get it up to. To my amusement I ended up overtaking a roadie who was riding a nice mid-range bike. ^_^
 
I think racing on public roads is both lame and incredibly stupid. But hey, if folks want to get themselves injured or killed, who am I to stop them.
I'll pass your comments on to the cycling club my 16-year-old has just joined. They've been racing on unclosed public roads for almost a century and must be warned!

To my slightly naive eyes, they seem a lovely lot and were very welcoming to a rare junior member. I now see them for what they really are: Lame and incredibly stupid. Thanks for the tip-off.

No wonder our jails are so full!
 

Hip Priest

Veteran
This is good stuff. Next time my much-fitter mate drops me on a climb, I'll just tell him he's lame and stupid. It'll make a change from my normal response, which is a list of excuses.
 
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