Me and a couple of my cycling compadres were out for a ride the other night and we witnessed, from another cyclist, a lack of etiquette that could politely be described as ‘very poor form’.
There were just three of us – it was a wet, grim kind of night. Friend number one is skinny lad – young, quick, wears a lot of Rapha (you know the type) – and then there’s me and another; no mugs but nothing special. On this evening I was being given what is commonly known as ‘a right pasting’ by my two merciless friends (I have excuses for this, lots of them, but I’ll spare you…). On each climb they would drop me, then slow casually at the top to let me catch up – nothing was said, they’re both civil types – but we could all see who was failing the Darwinian selection that night.
On the big climb of the day, as usual the two of them pulled ahead, then slowed to a stop to re-fuel. I reached them, and continued on at my unimpressive but methodical pace. Peering over my shoulder I spotted another rider approaching through the gloom; head bent over his bars, a picture of effort, climbing at a fair clip.
Now these are our local roads so we recognise people, even vaguely. As we were all defying the frankly miserable conditions together there was sure to be a bit of banter to be had, in an ‘all-in-it-together’ kind of way, even if this new addition isn’t a familiar face.
But no…before I knew it this mystery man had really put the hammer down and scorched past me on the top section of the climb; no thumbs up, no chat, not even a grunt…‘he’s only bloody attacking us!’ I muttered between breaths. Within seconds my Rapha clad mate had responded, leaving me in his wake with a ‘I’m not f***in’ ‘avin that’, and he jumped on to our nemesis’ wheel. Still no response from our new friend – no nod, nothing – he hasn’t even looked at any of us, let alone spoken. The two of us trailing behind accelerate, just enough to see his continued and strange refusal to acknowledge his cycling brethren.
As the pair rode off silently into the distance, our mate was attached to this guy’s wheel and settled in, close enough to hear our attacker breathe – as if to say ‘you can attack all you want mate, I’m going nowhere.’
For all we know this anti-social cyclist is still out there now, right on the rivet, thinking my mate is clamped to his wheel. For all I know he might be.
Whatever this guy’s problem was, riding fast is one thing, but you’ve got to have a bit of class on the bike – a nod, a wink, a cheery wave – we’re all on the same side after all.