SCARY: Mountain bike riders set upon by dogs, Rod Wilbers front and behind Dave Moffatt show how they held up their bikes for protection.
SCARY: Mountain bike riders set upon by dogs, Rod Wilbers front and behind Dave Moffatt show how they held up their bikes for protection. TREVOR VEALE

Kindness please

DID you know that a cyclist is not necessarily a cyclist?

I have it on good authority that there are cyclists and there are people who ride bikes. That's to differentiate themselves from the serious, speedy, Lycra-padded-short- and-cleat wearing scary cyclists that zoom past everyone.

Cyclists are the ones to be very cautious about. Your regular person who rides bikes is generally much less likely to be concerned with speed and more with doing something like the shopping.

Did you also know (I am full of information) that there is a well-known Penny trick which women use to maintain decorum when bike riding? Take a penny/twenty cent coin and a rubber band. Pull the back of your skirt through your legs, secure the coin at the front with a rubber band and voila your skirts stays discreet and there is no knicker flashing. How very ladylike.

The MMIL (Middle aged Men in Lycra) and the like don't care about such social decencies as they pour themselves into brightly coloured, tight fitting gear. This can be quite revealing but it doesn't matter as they ride by so fast. The nude bike rider is a whole other set of tools, so to speak.

A motorbike rider is likely to wear leathers, strong helmets whereas a cyclist will be protected from harm by a thin layer of Lycra, sunglasses and a lighter helmet. Some suggest it's like wearing cling wrap and hoping for the best.

But there is a war over who owns the increasingly congested roads. The car lobby is not always sympathetic to cyclists, especially when they ride two or more abreast. Murderous road rage episodes have happened where drivers have been known to deliberately swipe cyclists or drive into a bike pack. This mob refers to cyclists as the "cockroaches of the road”.

As long as there are not bike paths, there's trouble. And riding on the footpath doesn't win any friends either.

That is an excellent way to join the pedestrian and car lobby together against the bikes.

Does this rage affect people who quietly ride their bikes into town to get the weekly groceries? Afraid so.

You may have green credentials and feel a sense of virtue about your Earth saving credentials, but the ongoing war on the road means there are no winners.

You are likely to be sideswiped and yelled at much as the speediest cyclists.

Haven't we had enough of uncontrolled rage and fury in public spaces?

Kindness please.


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