Tuesday, January 19, 2010

#140: Bicycle Race

Gawd, cyclists. I can’t be the only one who’s sick of the bastards. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Tour Down Under, and I’m also one of those people who think that no matter what the Government are paying the likes of Lance Armstrong to race here it’s just not nearly enough. His worth to this state, in publicity value alone, can’t be underestimated, especially last year. I said, at the time, it’d be like Michael Schumacher coming over to race the Clipsal 500, oh, and bringing Lewis Hamilton and a few others with him. Funnily enough the people who critise the event all seem to be the same kind of folk – they hate anything sporting that might actually draw attention to the state, and most do nothing to promote South Australia anyway. Sorry guys, but sporting events, with some impact on both the environment and infrastructure, do more to expose the state to the all-mighty tourist dollar than a bi-annual Festival of Arts. Hotels at the moment are running on around 80%+ occupancy rate, I can’t remember the last time the Writers Week reached those numbers. Not that I have anything against Writers Week or the Festival, or the fringe, or WOMAD, or any such event that brings people here and brings cash into the state. Bring on the Clipsal and hang the wowsers I say.

Now, back to the bloody cyclists. I can’t think of what annoys me more, the attitude of the bastards, or the insane practice of wearing lycra whilst riding. Frankly, like Superman shirts on fat men, the only ones who should be wearing lycra are either men with builds like Arnold Schwarzenegger, circa 1983, or Matt Shirvington, who remains the only white man who wore lycra that made black men envious and all men say, “Jesus Bloody Christ!! He’ll knock someone out with that!!” Wearing the lycra for a recreational ride would be like me heading out for a quick hit with a few pals and wearing full cricket get up, including pads, helmet, padding under the clothes, arm guards and the like. I’d look like a twit, feel like a twit and, frankly, I would be a twit. Take note, lycra wearers.

Cyclists drag on the cleats and lycra and head out to terrorise motorists every weekend. They’ll ride around for about an hour, pretend that they’re Alberto Contador or Stuart O’Grady and then find the nearest coffee shop where they’ll promptly clog up the footpath with their discarded bikes, spread out, drink latté and wait for someone to come and pick them up and drive them home. All the time they’ll flout the road rules by riding four abreast, riding in the middle lanes slowly, cutting corners, disobeying traffic signals and then blaming motorists who invariably hit them. Sorry guys, if someone shoots through a red light and gets clocked by someone going on the green, then it’s the one going through the red who’s to blame. And trust me; if you come off your pushbike in such an accident, all the lycra in the world won’t help you. In fact you’ll be no better off if you wore shorts and no shirt – lycra isn’t designed for safety, it’s designed to lighten a rider and help them go faster. But hey, don’t believe me; remove a few layers of skin. It’s not like it won’t grow back, eventually, and, as the saying goes, chicks dig scars.

God forbid you actually ask one of them to, well, get out of the way or beep the horn when they do cut in front with no hand signals (or even a mere look behind) or run the stop sign. You’re opening yourself up for a world of abuse, obscene gestures and, if they can get close enough, the old ‘running of the cleats’*, a practice that results in more cyclists being knocked down, either on or off their bikes.

The bulk of these idiots aren’t professionals, nowhere near it. They’re middle level managers who, frustrated with their lives, see riding as an escape. Good for them. I walk a lot, to escape and unwind, but I don’t wear pants that reveal either my shortcomings or my religion to passers by, nor do I run through red lights for fun and excitement. And don’t me started on the fat people. Sorry, I’m all for people wanting to get fit, but if you’re riding your bike then stopping after twenty minutes and tucking into a large plate of pasta followed with cake, well you’re only kidding yourself chubby. Go home; take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror. Yep, those rolls of lard are what everyone else sees, and guess what? It only expands after the third round of chocolate cake.

What’s the solution? Beats me. Better education perhaps? The Amy Gillette Foundation might be better served by addressing the needs of all road users and helping to identify and educate the new breed of weekend warriors who have invaded our streets. I’m all for confiscating the cars of those fools who hoon drive, perhaps the police need to confiscate the pushbikes of those cretins who think that the roads belong to them, because they’re ‘doing the right thing by the enviroment’. Trust me, wankers, you’re not. You ride once a week. It’s a drop in the ocean. But get that anger out, because, come Monday, your arse is mine, and I will make you suffer.

And yes, I not only own a bike, but I ride one as well. But I obey the traffic rules when I ride it on the road and I don’t own any lycra, and frankly I’d not wear any unless I’d had a few drugs, was very drunk and dressing as David Lee Roth with the view of going to a costume party.

*wherein the cyclist will take his/her cleats and scratch the side of a car and then turn suddenly and flee up an alley or run a red light.


Danny said...

I'm a cyclist but I seem to come outside your target zone, as I don't own any lycra (shorts and a hi-viz polo is enough for me) and I follow road rules when riding, and try to avoid main roads with traffic whenever possible. My main use of the bike is for commuting to work (and exercise at the same time).

But yeah, there's a good share of stupid and pretentious cyclists out there, just like there's arrogant and blind drivers.

David Drury said...

And I've lost count of the number of times that some passenger or driver thinks its "funny" to make a loud noise at you as they pass you on a bicycle. It goes both ways.

I have had a fractured spine as a result of a driver who thought that he shouldn't watch what direction I was going though a roundabout (ie he didn't give way to the right).

The Clipsal makes everyone think they're racing car drivers, the tour makes everyone think they're a cyclist. The rest of the year everyone gets on with it.

TCARSC said...

As I said, I own a bike and I ride it - it's good for me and good for something else I expect. No lycra. The idiots I'm looking at are those weekend cretins who think that they're actually in the tour.

David - last week we witnessed a lycra wearing guy on a bike going screaming through a red on Payneham Rd, nearly got himself cleaned up. His response to the horns? Gave everyone the finger. Clearly he was upset and felt that red lights mean nothing to him.

Those are the wankers that need their bikes taken away. Those guys and pushbike couriers.