What would you do?


New Member
I've been commuting from West London to the city and back for 4 years. Last night heading home I had a unique experience...

At Trafalgar square I noticed a cyclist on a racing bike, without clipless pedals. A bit rare, just barely registered it in my mind. Said cyclist proceeds to RLJ down the Mall ahead of me. I'm on my winter bike - hybrid with full mudguards rattling away. I'm taking it easy home, not going fast nor slow. When I get to Buckingham Palace I go up Constitution Hill on the cycle path, not the road.

The cycle path is a slight uphill drag, dark and a tight squeeze. There is an iron fence on the left, cyclists coming down on the right and pedestrians further over to the right.

Going up the path I start to catch this same cyclist. It's not safe to pass so as I get close to him I freewheel and regulate down to his speed. You'll have to trust me that I wasn't tailgaiting or wheelsucking. However, I was behind him. He was bouncing away trying to go fast. He seemed to be a bit tired.

He then glances behind as he hears my mudguards and in an instant does a full emergency stop!


It was clearly an aggressive move toward me. Thought I was too close? Was trying to beat me up the hill or something?

I wasn't too close and managed to stop. Barely. I couldn't go to the right or left of him.

Then I...what would you do next?


New Member
...was left with no choice but to break into "Two Tribes" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, with full dumdumdumdumdum for the synth bit.

I think I'd have asked him why he stopped and said it was dangerous, then went on my merry way before I got battered.


exactly how close were you to him?

I'd have tried not to lose my temper and I'd have asked mildly (hopefully) what the problem was

In real life I suspect there'd have been some shouting unless an obvious reason for a sudden stop appeared
Ask him what he though he was doing?

He probably thought you were wheelsucking. Nothing wrong with that but some people get upset about it.

I was hanging on one guys wheel once and he tired to make me crash by pulling out to overtake another cyclist at the very last minute.
Wow, some people are real idiots, makes me want to say Chill Wiiiiinstaaaaan a lot.

When I was commuting there was never anyone going fast enough for me to draft, apart from one guy who I used to race, but that was fair game as we used to swap over. A few people used to try and slipstream me, but either couldn't keep up or couldn't be bothered to ride at that pace.

Just write it off as one of the many numpties out there.


New Member
I don't think I was too close to him; I had the space to come to a complete stop without touching.

Maybe the right thing to do is be zen about it and go on my way. But this guy tried to break my neck. I wanted to break his. I was shocked and furious. My stopping was full adrenaline fight or flight reaction.

I went up along side and shouted, 'WHAT THE F**CK?!'

He then proceeded to say something about how he's been hit from behind before. I yelled 'of course you have the way you cycle. you're a sh*t cyclist'

he then tried to say something about being hit from behind is not his fault. I said something more about him being a sh*t cyclist. And that was pretty much it.

It's a unique one for me. I almost punched him in the face. Like I said I try to be zen. It's not always easy or natural.

Then, for the rest of the way home you can imagine my reaction to the taxi that beeped me for being in primary while trying to pass me at a tight interception. Then what I did to the guy in the saab who cut across the cycle path without looking to go into the petrol station. Riding p*ss*ed off is dangerous...

...deep breath. I actually really am a normal person.


Senior Member
Given the shock, I'd have asked in a bewildered voice what the hell he was up to!.....Best not to get in any dialogue with a potential nutter tho, but maybe a reasonable thing would have been to ask if there was a genuine problem (maybe there was??).......tho this would engage him in a potential argument if he did do it maliciously.

So go on.................

What did you do??


Rider of Seolferwulf
South London
What a nutter!! I would probably have dodged around him and called a cheeky "Come on slowcoach".


Ride It Like You Stole It!
South Manchester
Chill !!!! - I'd have burned him on the hill - popped back onto the road and gone for it.....heh heh

He was obviously not an ascertive rider !


Legendary Member
I get nervous when strangers come uncomfortably close to my back wheel. How do I know if they have the observational skills and reactions necessary to avoid me if I take action in an emergency situation?
It's probably less of a worry for sporting cyclists and those involved with club runs who get used to people following, but to the cyclist who usually cycles alone, tailgaters can be a concern.


On the odd time it's happened, I assume that they must know what they're doing if they're doing it and cycling that quick, leave them to it

surely some sort of wave of the hand is plenty to show them you're not happy with them drafting?

Molecule Man

Well-Known Member
Personally I hate having someone else close behind me, but my usual reaction is just to gradually slow down until they get fed up and overtake, rather than force a confrontation like this guy did.


New Member
Lost count of how many times I've been rear ended by other cyclists here in Cambridge. Really irritating, usually it happens because I've been (controversially) stopped at a red light. On one memorable occcasion I was rear ended when I slowed to a fairly gentle stop at a police stop tape, the road having been closed because a building had just been hit by lightning and the fire brigade had just arrived, the woman behind me tried to yell me down after hitting me because I'd stopped too suddenly. I reminded her that she'd been cycling with only one hand on her brakes, that brake being her rear brake, her other hand being occupied with holding an umbrella to keep off the driving rain. Think I might have called her something that would paraphrase as being promiscuous and stupid too.

I do hate it when people get too close behind, because it means that if I have a legitimate reason to stop or swerve they've got no time to react. If I'm out with people who I know, who are good at what they're doing, then I'll share what I view as a controlled risk in cycling close behind each other. Thats a very different scenario, its one where we're aware of and controlling risk. Having a stranger right up behind me is just freaky, and I hate it, and usually if it happens I'll turn up the speed a little and lose them.

The last thing you should do to get rid of someone on your tail is to hit the brakes hard, although if you're going to struggle to miss someone if they do that then you're too close.
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