5 Cyclists I love to hate

The cycling community is almost like its own little nation. We all share one hobby, or ‘nationality’ – we’re all from Cyclocity (or Veloham?) – if you like. However, within Cyclocity there are a number of diverse groups.

We tend to either ride alone, or in groups with our own demographic. On a weekend, roadies will go on club rides, usually then split into further sub-sects of ‘racers’, ‘sportivers’ and ‘out-for-a-piece-of-cake-half -way-ers’, MTB riders collate together at a car park somewhere but I’ll admit I’m less well versed in all that.

When commuting, however – the different groups tend to have to interact a little more. Now – I love you all – everyone from Cyclocity  is awesome – but there are some riders I meet on my commute who I love to hate.

1) The cyclist riding without bike lights

I’m a safety girl – sorry to admit it, but I rather like the idea of riding with lights so that car drivers can actually see me. Maybe I’m just boring, but I quite like that reassurance that I’m not going to give someone behind the wheel the shock of their life while I just roll along like the invisible (wo)man. If you don’t have lights – check out the 5 best selling bike lights here.

2) The Stalker-Like-Rider-That-Rides-Too-Close-Behind

This is particularly prevalent on a windy day. Now – in cases where a person is on a club ride, and their friend is starting to get tired – grabbing a free lift home is totally fine. But strangers? Either overtake, stay back, or acknowledge your trying to hitch a ride and share the work. Drafting is ok if it’s agreed between riders – wheel sucking and stealing a space in the slipstream like an easy-ride-thief is not ok.

3) The cyclist that stops in front of you at traffic lights

Apparently this is called shoaling – so if it’s prevalent enough to have a name, it seems many fellow cyclists have fallen victim to it. Rider A is stopped waiting for lights to change from red to green, Rider B rolls to the lights and stops in front of rider A – for no apparent reasons assuming this is acceptable behaviour.

If we’re more honest, it’s more annoying when rider B actually sprints off faster, because at least when we overtake rider B five minutes down the road we get to feel good. When there is a rider C, D, E and so on involved during busy commute times, of course it’s more of an issue when space starts to run out.

Photograph: Adrian Brown/Gett
Photograph: Adrian Brown/Getty

4) The Brompton rider or MTB rider who overtakes you

Well, this just kills your pride – doesn’t it? Out for a jaunt, feeling pretty sprightly.. and BAM – there’s someone on your right waving cheerily from a Bropmton/MTB/otherwise less speed efficient bike. I don’t really hate this rider, really they have to be admired, I just hate that they’re making me feel bad.

5) The one that hates being chicked

This is one for the girls out there, and it’s a bit like the above, but with a role reversal and a less than amicable reaction from the overtaken rider. You’re out enjoying an easy ride – a commute, maybe a ‘recovery ride’, and you have the audacity to cycle past someone of the male sex. You might smile, wave, say hi. Before you know it, the overtaken rider is sitting on your wheel, huffing and puffing away like we’re in some sort of re-enactment of Froome/Quintana alla Tour de France. After a mile or so, he might try and SPRINT past – only to be reeled in again a mile down the road. It’s very childish – but it must happen a lot, because there is a whole range of clothing dedicated to it (chicked.com)

Kit from www.chicked.com

Kit from www.chicked.com

As I said-  every rider above shares the same hobby as me, and I’d extend a friendly spare tube/pump to any of them on any day – but that doesn’t stop them getting on my nerves at times. If you’re feeling in any way riled up, I suggest you check out our post ‘7 things you should give up to be a happy cyclist‘.

Anyone got a rider they love to hate?

(Michelle is a time trial racer who blogs, and tries not to rant too often, at ridewriterepeat.com. She tweets from @michellearthurs)

Correction: We had a bit of problem with our WordPress software publishing the wrong version of this article. In an early version, we mentioned helmets in the first section. This understandably raised some eyebrows. I apologise for that and I will be more careful when hitting the publish button in future to be certain the correct version of the article will be live. I read all articles prior to publishing and have the final say, so the responsibility lies with me. Andreas

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106 Responses to 5 Cyclists I love to hate

  1. Stacey 02/11/2013 at 9:26 am #

    When I first read the title ‘Five cyclists I love to hate’ my first thought was ‘Boris Johnson’ … come on, don’t tell me I’m the only one?!!

  2. Nick B 02/11/2013 at 9:34 am #

    I hate lazy articles like this.
    For one the 5 things type list format is so old and dull – it reads like something from Jackie magazine from the 70s.
    Secondly as I cyclist I am not part of a “nation” any more than I am as a pedestrian or driver – I am just someone who rides a bike.
    Thirdly why does anyone give a toss about what other bike riders do. Why do you care if people ride electric bikes or BMXs? Why are you whining about bikes with no mudguards – just ride further back or slightly to the side. I really don’t understand why you all seem to hate each other so much and spend so much time being concerned about what each other is doing. Just get on with riding your bikes and let others ride what they want. It sounds so bloody childish.

    • humancyclist 03/11/2013 at 6:00 pm #

      It’s just a bit of fun. I don’t for one minute imagine the author truly hates these cyclists. Sure, it’s a linkbait headline but hey, everyone’s fighting for attention out there.

      • Chris 04/11/2013 at 9:11 pm #

        >”Sure, it’s a linkbait headline but hey, everyone’s fighting for attention out there.”

        Then lets all race to the bottom, shall we?

        At best, its just laziness and at worst, its disingenuous and vapid.

    • Jules 03/11/2013 at 7:05 pm #

      Spot on Nick!

  3. Guy C 02/11/2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Point2 – I thought current thinking was that two people riding not only helped the slipstreamer but also the front person. There was a bit by Chris Broadman during the TdF couverage. See: http://www.itv.com/tourdefrance/features/chris-ned-wind-tunnel-tour-de-france-2/

    :)

    • Jules 03/11/2013 at 7:07 pm #

      Guy you are correct.

  4. Sonnenblume 03/11/2013 at 9:54 am #

    Wow, ‘hate’? Really? I thought cycling was supposed to be enjoyable. How can you love cycling if you hate your fellow cyclists?

  5. Dennis 05/11/2013 at 4:14 am #

    Its funny because I like 4 of the 5 things you hate.

    Lights – either on my bike or in my car I really hate cyclist without lights especially at night and in those very dark unlit places. you just cant see them.

    Wheel suckers – I really dont mind them drafting behind me. it doesnt make any difference to my ride as im riding my own pace anyway. I think women tends to hate wheel suckers especially men because they get concious and thinks that the guy behind is admiring their arse.

    Shoaling – i dont mind them either. so what if they get in front of you? just overtake them if they are slow but if they are faster than you then whats the problem? they will eventually overtake you shortly and be in front of you anyway. dont forget, every time you stay in the ASL you are technically “Shoaling” the car behind you ;)

    Brompton and MTB’s – its not about the bike. a strong cyclist will be faster regardless of what bike he or she rides. Im a fairly strong cyclist and I ride a winter setup bike complete with mudguards and double pannier bags and it weights around 14kgs by it self (empty bags) and my panniers are always full when im commuting but i can easily ride faster than any average daily commuter cyclist.

    Being chicked – very rarely happens to me when im commuting but then again I dont really care and to be honest most women cyclist smells good so they make my commute more pleasurable.

    My advice to you Michelle is to stop stressing yourself with these silly issues and just enjoy your ride.

    • Cantab 06/11/2013 at 8:43 am #

      Got to agree with Dennis, Wheel Suckers aren’t really a problem, you’re already riding your own pace, so you’re not loosing anything by letting them have a wheel. That said, I’m not going to be pointing out potholes or other hazards to a total stranger – the cycling equivalent of buyer beware (rider aware?) – and woe betide you if you crash in to the back of me (the key problem, I don’t know how good you are at holding a wheel). And at the end of the day if they’re bugging you, dig deep and drop them. Hard.

      Shoaling does bug me though. Its normally some numpty on a city bike who doesn’t make it in to double digit speeds. Why they think they need to be in front of all the other cyclists I don’t know? The only time its acceptable is if the shoaler perfectly times their approach so as to maintain constant motion, thereby pulling away faster than the rest of us. I think this may become my new bugbear, any offenders will be challenged “you wouldn’t try to skip a queue at the post office, so why do you think you have the right to stop in front of the rest of us?”

      • Roy 07/11/2013 at 6:05 pm #

        I suspect the “shoaling” is in the mind. Someone stops slightly ahead of you at the lights, and this is annoying? Get a life.

  6. Alehouse Rock 10/11/2013 at 3:55 pm #

    [[[[[ Let’s not forget the cyclists who—-at traffic lights on red—-ride past the ASL (cycists’ safety box area) and pull up 8 feet beyond it…..you know who you are!

    If we don’t use our ASL’s, drivers will, so let’s use the damn things before they’re withdrawn.
    A.R.

    • Ed 22/11/2013 at 11:02 pm #

      “If we don’t use our ASL’s, drivers will, so let’s use the damn things before they’re withdrawn.”

      There is no point in using them in my area because the genius who drew them up didn’t realise that if you are in them then it is more or less impossible to see the lights and when they change!

      • Alehouse Rock 23/11/2013 at 4:52 pm #

        ED—-the cyclists I’m moaning about are the ones who go ten feet PAST the ASL, which means they have absolutely NO chance of seeing when the traffic light changes to green……but I take your point about the less-than-perfect design of the so-called “safety-areas”. I hope in future there’ll be a 10-second advantage green light for us, on bikes, to pull away before the motors do. Come to think of it, I’m sure that’s what will happen (one fine day!)
        A.R.

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