Bloody cyclists! The cultural appropriation of cycling.

How do you feel about drivers who will not be overtaken; who drive like they own the road; who get road rage; who pay no mind to other road users; whose vehicle serves as a status symbol, to compensate for some secret insecurity?

Laughable? Selfish? Dangerous? Perhaps all of these and some.

I notice more and more people riding bikes with the same mentality as those I’ve described above. By my reckoning many if not mostly post Wiggins TdF win / Olympics 2012. All too ready to spit and shout. To get defensive about ‘their’ space on the road. To criticise and berate other road users for using the road. Generally displaying the same intolerant obnoxious attitudes of the worst drivers on the road. All too willing to share their expertise and dogmatic opinions. Missing the views and experience of a meandering ride in their quest to go as fast as they can to bag whatever Strava segment they think will give them dominion over lesser mortals.

These people are not fit to call themselves cyclists whatever that distinction means. At best they’re bad drivers who now happen to ride a bike. Bad drivers by virtue of their unchecked ego, sense of entitlement, aggressive and boorish behaviour. Behaviour exasperated by the unfamiliar vulnerability of being out of their metal boxes. Now at the mercy of those they once were and in all likelihood still are when they get back behind the wheel.

They are part of the all too vocal minority. Those that fit with the notion that cycling is the new golf. The cultural appropriation of cycling by these and those I call the Rapha class is in my view one of the most negative outcomes of the upsurge in cycling in England. They’ll have an impact. They’ll get things done. They will though in time find something else to sublimate their insecurities and satisfy their tribal need to belong. Go back to watching the equivalent of Clarkson’s Top Gear, fighting on the terraces and finding new and inventive ways to oppress and bully their way to the top.

I look forward to that. I look forward to them getting back in their flash cars. I look forward to seeing their frustration of being held up by the infrastructure they leave behind. Enjoying it with those that have found, know and feel the glorious independence and free-spirited nature of riding a bike. Riding a bike just because. Regardless.

the essence