07 March 2011

On Cyclists: A Modest Proposal

This past weekend I witnessed within a mile of my home no fewer than three accidents involving motor cars and cyclists. In one incident, which I passed on my way home from a Malbec run to the local wine merchant, I watched the unfortunate rider, chubby and old, flopping around on the ground, blood staining the pavement, as tanned ambulatory workers with crewcuts rushed to his side and fire trucks lined up along the road. A gruesome sight, but one not without a special resonance with betweeded motorists such as yours truly.

Cycling is a problem that is getting out of control. On any given morning there are packs of cyclists tearing along suburban streets in menacing helmets, scaring children, running over housecats, and offending us with their bulging gut and ridiculous shorts. Gangs of bicycle enthusiasts converge on local tea houses, cycling shoes perforating the expensive flooring, where they order cups of coffee and clog the lavatories. If those are unavailable, they just pop round the corner and piss into the foliage like common criminals. The cycling community, like white-tailed deer and koala bear populations, is clearly in need of a severe culling before the situation worsens and we suddenly wake up to find random cyclists using our backyard as a velodrome. The last thing I want to see over my morning cup of tea is old Dr. Steinberg, fat, sweaty, and bespectacled, perched upon his brand-new Cervelo like a hog on an upturned bucket among the succulents.

There is no point to cycling. It serves no useful purpose, being in most cases purely recreational and an opportunity for corpulent doctors, dentists, and software entrepreneurs to show off their latest cycling acquisitions. Cyclists are an arrogant and bullying group with a reputation for foul language that in my experience is well-deserved. More than once have I observed a cyclist curse angrily in public, the last such incident directed at my former editor, small, female, and blonde, which naturally provoked me to return the compliment in full force intending to knock the offender off his contraption and beat him about the nose. When the cyclist and his companion swung round to confront us, however, they took one look, muttered an insult or two, and kept pedaling, knowing full well that in a confrontation between cyclist and pedestrian it is usually the pedestrian who wins, especially a muscular pedestrian with shaved head, large stick, and enraged Levantine wife with the full range of Arabic insults. If you must travel in cyclist habitat, it is best to do so fully-armed.

Cyclists lead a privileged life. Not all of us are fortunate enough to be able to take off several hours each morning to ride a $25,000 bicycle around town as if we were on a leisurely summer tour of the French countryside. Some of us are forced every day at sunrise to drive an antique Mercedes-Benz or dilapidated Porsche to the office, sometimes even without so much as a small cup of tea. Accidents are bound to occur. Which brings me to my proposal. Since cyclists are usually out and about the streets anyway with nothing better to do, it seems a very sensible idea to assign them various errands on behalf of local residents, such as dropping off dry cleaning, buying budgerigar seed, or picking up a case of wine. Not only would this keep drivers off the road, thereby protecting the lives of bicycle enthusiasts, but it would create a certain level of goodwill and discourage motorists from claiming they never saw that cyclist in the first place.

12 comments:

CCL said...

Perfect.

Derek Warren said...

Bravo! Said doctors and dentists watch the TdF every July and then feel the need to take to the roadways. They should just stay at home and get on their under-used Abtrainers.

I read somewhere that as pedestrians, we hate drivers; as drivers, we hate pedestrians; but as BOTH, we hate cyclists.

Anonymous said...

Well said. It is no good thing to have hordes of bovines in tights riding around terrorizing innocents like inner steppe Asian Horsemen. Something has to be done, like mountain biking.

Anonymous said...

I would like to forward this wonderful post but cyclists are a humorless lot.

Stockton Andrews II said...

Brilliant piece LBF. Those miscreants no doubt saved themselves from a painfully learned lesson when they ran away.

Sadly,these spandexed and sweaty hordes are allowed to bring their cycles on the trains,too. Added to the weary rail-commuter's worries are the probability of getting whacked in the head with a dirty tire by some clueless "revolutionary" with a No Blood For Oil sticker on his petroleum based helmet.

A.E.F. said...

Admiral, and may be they could be given Team Zissou inspired uniforms? Striped shirts with epaulettes, Adidas track shoes and red knit hats?

Anonymous said...

I am in Laguna Canyon and I see them too - they drive me insane!!!

Bruce said...

I came across at least five packs of pedalers whilst driving over the moors in the fog to a hunt meet last Saturday. Groups of 10 to 20 cyclists - poor visibility, no lights. And what do they do when they hear the car approaching - spread our wider so you can't pass. Retards.

David said...

Good Lord thank you for saying such things. I am regularly forced to reroute my morning commute because the cyclists here are actually chaperoned by police officers who block traffic for them. It simultaneously perturbed and disturbed, one of the worst combinations of emotion that comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Someone recently suggested that cyclists restrict their activity to the sidewalks; how petit-bourgeois! In New York City, it is illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk (pavement, for those of you who must indulge in British-English terms), and acknowledgement of the auto as 'king of the road' is unspeakably suburban;a dodgey proposition at best, and one best left to those whose sole occupation is the tending of the 'best lawn' on the block....

Gerard said...

A piece worthy of WASP 101. I am sure you can both grab ahold, nah acost, some young cycliste and set them straight. BMW drivers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but yourselves.

Jeff said...

The reason I don't ride a bicycle is the same reason I don't ride a Big Wheel- I grew up and now drive a car. Humorless lot they are indeed.