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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107 Responses to 5 Cyclists I love to hate

  1. Russell Bulmer 31/10/2013 at 8:56 am #

    The cyclist without mudguards when it’s raining.

    • Andreas 31/10/2013 at 12:49 pm #

      How did we miss that one! So true!

      • George 01/11/2013 at 2:14 pm #

        Yes! It’s Britain, for heaven’s sake, and it rains. If you’re going to commute on your road bike through the winter, gets some guards…please.

    • Carolyn 01/11/2013 at 2:10 pm #

      cyclists who overtake on my inside when I’m a couple of feet away from the kerb.

      • AC 01/11/2013 at 6:40 pm #

        I do this sometimes to Shoalers who block me in at the lights. I reached the lights first because I am quicker, so get out of the bloody way!

    • Enitan 01/11/2013 at 3:27 pm #

      Mudguards are for wussies i think. Ride and get dirty.

    • Jon Camden 01/11/2013 at 3:58 pm #

      The cyclist with badly fitted mudguards when it’s raining is much worse. They’re alright, Jack. You’re following and covered in muck!

      • Nick B 02/11/2013 at 9:46 am #

        Don’t follow then..

    • Rowan De Bonaire 01/11/2013 at 6:48 pm #

      Yes Russell, totally agree. it’s rude and anti-social. I require guards on Audaxes I organise, and I do believe that the Cycle To Work scheme should stipulate mudguards, carrier, and tyres over 28mm, to stop the abuse of the scheme by weekend warriors buying sports equipment! there – rant over! Aye thangyaw.

      • Nick B 02/11/2013 at 9:45 am #

        Never had mudguards and never worried about others having them either. It isn’t rude or anti social – you just think you are more important than you actually are as what I chose to do on my bike has nothing to do with you. If you don’t like the occasional bit of spray then either overtake me, move slightly out of my line or lay off my back wheel. If it makes you feel worse then I have just bought a nice new moser on the cycle to work scheme – no guards, thin tyres etc… The fact is that the type of bike and components I choose to buy has nothing to do with you.

    • Pete 01/11/2013 at 11:37 pm #

      Cyclists who go through red lights. (That’s about 95% of you on my morning commute) .

  2. Alistair Burns 31/10/2013 at 9:25 am #

    I didn’t know it was called shoaling bit it really pisses me off. There is an enormous bunch doing this every day at the Buckingham Palace right turn into The Mall. So often these people who are incapable of stopping at the line are also daydreamers and you have to ride around to pass them as I invariably do. Stop at the line or behind if there is insufficient space, going in front is selfish, rude and plod is welcome to charge me £50 should I ever be guilty of it.

  3. Brockley Jon 31/10/2013 at 9:37 am #

    Haha, +1 for ‘shoaling’!! It’s generally someone on a wreck of a bike capable of 10mph max and they do it in front of 10 or so lycra-clad commuters ready to sprint away come amber! They are basically a mobile chicane. Waterloo Road northbound at the junction with The Cut is a particularly good place to see this.

  4. Sarah Rogers 31/10/2013 at 9:47 am #

    Freewheelers. Also those who pedal really hard for 3 or 4 rotations then freewheel, it just looks weird 🙂

    • Michelle 31/10/2013 at 6:37 pm #

      Totally agree! I hate driving behind freewheelers.. always think: “mate – I’ll give you plenty of room, and plenty of respect – but please make it at least look like you’re trying!”

  5. Michael J 31/10/2013 at 9:48 am #

    Regarding point 4, you’ve probably seen this clip of a postman before: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VN54oOMVrXQ

    Something else that is annoying is people in front who haven’t changed down a gear or two at lights and then struggle off in front of you incredibly slowly. Also people with pedal clips who have to faff about getting clipped back in.

  6. Corin 31/10/2013 at 9:51 am #

    Totally agree about riders without mudguards in the rain.

    Also, those riders who seem to swim along utterly oblivious to any other traffic, traffic lights, zebras, indeed anything at all on the road, in a state of zen like calm, without suffering any ill effects whatsoever, in contrast to my intense concentration and attention to the road and what’s going on around me that’s required to keep me from being killed or seriously injured at any moment. I’m just jealous of them, really.

  7. Alistair Burns 31/10/2013 at 9:57 am #

    @Corin I think a perfect example of that recently was the women who cycled around the level crossing gates and only stopped when a train took the skin off the end of her nose. For some the culture of ignoring traffic lights and pedestrians on crossings becomes deeply embedded in their minds and they are mere obstacles to be overcome rather than necessary safety measures.

  8. Frank 31/10/2013 at 10:01 am #

    People without mudguards in wet weather. Not only are they getting themselves wet/dirty (thats their prerogative) but you have to cycle at least 10 metres away to avoid getting a face-full of their spray.

    Incidentally, last night I was stopped at a roundabout to give way to an approaching car and a cyclist all dressed in black with no lights or helmet cycled straight past me causing the car to skid to a stop. Missed him by inches. An idiot with a death wish. Sometimes Karma works beautifully…20 minutes later I cycle past him as the police have pulled him over for jumping a red light. 🙂

  9. Peter 31/10/2013 at 10:03 am #

    #2 really annoys me, especially when they just speed past when you start to tire and dont even give a chance of returning the favour.

    I am perhaps guilty of #4 but it is followed up by a unisex version of #5. Funny how often riders on flash looking bikes take offence at getting overtaken by a MTB and then can’t handle the pace.

  10. Marcus 31/10/2013 at 10:09 am #

    Yup, it’s gotta be the ‘shoaler’. I have passed you way back. Do I have to do it again?

    Seriously, have some manners. If you did that in a car, or in a queue you’d soon be told what people think of you. My other pet hate is the undertaker rolling up to the lights. So frickin’ dangerous. Don’t do it!

    Anyway, before I sound like a psycho, cycling in to work (with many lights and Scotchlite!) sure beats the train any day.

  11. Tammela 31/10/2013 at 10:47 am #

    Totally agree with #s 1, 3, & 4!

  12. Brockley Jon 31/10/2013 at 11:40 am #

    I have a theory on the shoalers. I think that they ride so slow that by the time they get to the lights, the cycle refuge is normally full (of people who’ve just overtaken them). Now, rather than hang back, waiting in line with the cars, they for some reason feel the need to be with the other cyclists (safety in numbers) and end up placing themselves in a stupid position on the road.

  13. Yaron 31/10/2013 at 11:45 am #

    Cyclists with seriously strong front lights… especially inside Hyde Park, or any other badly lit places. I don’t really want to wear sunglasses when it’s dark…

  14. Jude 31/10/2013 at 11:51 am #

    1 and 3 get my vote. I’d also add cyclists who barrel through pedestrian crossings, expecting the people who are legitimately trying to cross the road to leap out of their way. Please – if you don’t have right of way, show some respect for those who do.

  15. Anne Marshall 31/10/2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Number 4 amused me as I am a Brompton rider as well as owning a normal bike. I do often go past other cyclists and often get really weird looks but that’s primarily because the Brompton is far quicker away from a stop at lights and also goes nippily up hills!
    My biggest bugbear is cyclists with the annoying combo of no lights or mudguards. You don’t see them till they’re right in front of you and by then you’re covered in muddy rain spatters!!

  16. Michael 31/10/2013 at 1:00 pm #

    It’s got to be ‘Shoalers’ all the way – I didn’t know the word for it before, thanks.

    Drives me mad.

    Interesting to read how many others are exasperated by it too. Maybe we should start tackling them for being so rude. If they got a few tellings-off per week, or per ride, they would soon mend their ways.

  17. Jen 31/10/2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Number 5 absolutely! Didn’t know there was a word for it or website, love it!

  18. Eoin 31/10/2013 at 4:40 pm #

    Ha! This is all resonating (espc being overtaken by a MTB!!).

    I know that people debate helmets (and believe me, I’ve heard all your weird non-persuasive arguments) but I get annoyed at people not wearing them. I’m a doctor. I know what it looks like when your skull opens and it’s not that pretty.

    Also – headphones. It’s *not* that important that you soundtrack your commute, and it’s dangerous.

    The combination of no lights, no helmet and headphones on a dark night is guaranteed to wind me up.

    • Peter 31/10/2013 at 5:20 pm #

      Totally agree with the headphones. I tried it once but hated not being able to hear what is going on around me. To stay safe on the road you need to have all your senses fully alert.

    • Stacey 01/11/2013 at 10:35 am #

      I agree with headphones but I wear mine when it’s cold as it protects my ears but, I hasten to add, I don’t switch them on as it’s just dangerous.

    • Montyz 01/11/2013 at 10:40 am #

      … and no brains!

    • Chris 01/11/2013 at 12:47 pm #

      Then you must be in a constant state of being annoyed with seeing people smoking, overeating, not exercising, abusing pharmaceutical drugs, etc etc ad nauseum?

    • Gordon 01/11/2013 at 6:00 pm #

      Saying people shouldn’t use headphones while cycling is like saying deaf people can’t cycle, nonsense, surely drivers using headphones is worse, especially considering that a noise outside of a car at 115 db would be reduced to around 65 db before you take in to account the headphones, I am a cyclist who uses headphones but I can hear the click of my freewheel, so please don’t assume that because someone is wearing headphones that they cannot hear, that leads to the sort of attitude we get from drivers that “all cyclists run red lights” we are all riding bikes and doing it our own way.

  19. Jon 31/10/2013 at 4:43 pm #

    Shoaling is annoying when the person in front of you pulls up in the wrong gear and gets off slower than you. How can the author be more annoyed when they pull off faster and get out of your way? Is that a typo??

    • Michelle 31/10/2013 at 6:33 pm #

      I was partly joking – in that it’s a shame when they turn out to be quite fast and you don’t get the chance to overtake them with a patronisng nod..
      But in real honesty it’s obviously more annoying when they faff about with gears and pedals..

      • Mik 01/11/2013 at 8:58 am #

        I’ve no problem with someone shoaling me and then being faster anyway, but maybe because I do similar, if I come up behind someone I’m faster than but there’s no safe way to go past then when we’re stopped at lights is a good option. I hate overtaking someone just to find out that they’re actually faster than me and I misjudged it so tend to hang back a little to check.

        Bike Ninjas (all in black & no lights) get the vote for me. And I’ll have to apologise to anyone who gets sprayed, but I can’t run mudguards on my bike because it gets transported in the back of a car for half of my commute (that’s my valid reason anyway, I’ll keep quiet about just not liking how they look 🙂 )

        • Rossthebossi 01/11/2013 at 1:14 pm #

          SKS do some great quick release ones.

  20. Bozidar 31/10/2013 at 9:33 pm #

    Cyclists who simply must overtake you, but don’t have the stamina to continue accelerating and are simply puffing in front of you. The moment you increase your cadence, they make the extra effort to push in front of you but then remain there.
    I actually become a stalker rider to such persons, simply to return the annoyance of having someone pushing just to overtake instead of having his/her own rhythm

    • Brockley Jon 01/11/2013 at 10:14 am #

      Similarly, the cyclist who is riding slow, so you go to overtake, and then suddenly they speed up, making you look like the one who is overtaking just for the sake of it! Alright, I don’t want a bloody race, would you rather I sit on your mudguard!?

    • Orla 01/11/2013 at 3:17 pm #

      Definitely, this happens constantly on my commute. The slower riders insist on getting right up the front at the traffic lights only to have every single bike overtake them again.

  21. Clare 01/11/2013 at 9:12 am #

    Oh no….I’m a person with no mudguards! I took them off when I became convinced that they were the only things standing between me and a speedy cycle. It will come as no surprise to more experienced cyclists that they weren’t. My fondness for cakes and chocolate probably has more to do with that.

    I have occasionally also been the person who pushes to overtake and then collapses exhausted. It’s the combination of a competitive spirit and no ability whatsoever. On the rare occasions when I think I might actually be able to catch someone, I can’t resist it. The first time I did it, I was sick afterwards.

    If it makes me a cyclist less to hate, I’m not doing any of these things in London. I just love this blog and learn a massive amount from reading about all you brave riders tackling city streets.

  22. Richard 01/11/2013 at 9:30 am #

    I’d add the really maddening (and dangerous) idiots who, when you’re riding safely away from the curb, come past you on the inside with absolutely no warning. Grrrr!

    • Em 02/11/2013 at 12:39 am #

      Richard, I agree 100%, I absolutely hate it and it makes me very nervous on the road. I often find myself constantly turning my head to see if there’s any mad quick cyclist silently creeping up behind me. Which is why I am a huge advocate of using your bell to warn other cyclists you’re coming up behind them. There was an article here a while back talking about how using your bell is rude but I really wish people used it more.

      On another not, no mudguards… I’ve never used any and I never thought it might annoy anyone, because I’ve never been annoyed/affected by other people not having theirs.. don’t remember ever having been sprayed with mud by another cyclist! Perhaps because I leave more space when overtaking?

  23. Fab 01/11/2013 at 9:40 am #

    Shoalers, my number 1 pet hate definitely.
    I also dislike the undertakers (so dangerous) and the ones riding too close behind.

    A few weeks ago, this chap was riding behind me whilst on talking on the phone (on handsfree it seemed) and was ridiculously close to me I was fully aware of that as I could hear his conversation. I approached the traffic lights and slowed down to position myself by the left side the safe box and he didn’t anticipate that I had reduced speed and clashed against my back wheel and landed on the kerb, and did some damage to my mudguard. He was alright in the end, but I kind of had a feeling that something like that would happen, so stay away for your own good!

  24. Bilboben 01/11/2013 at 10:18 am #

    I am one of the good guys who actually stop at red lights. I hate the fellow cyclist who tuts at you, shouts at you, pushes past you as they cycle through the stop light.

  25. David C 01/11/2013 at 10:24 am #

    People doing trick stands at red lights. It’s not big or clever and everyone around you wants you to fall over.

    Dude – you’re 35 so stop playing the game where the ground is made of lava and your feet get burned if they touch the ground.

    Just put your feet down like everyone else.

    Oh, and people with handle bars the size of a mars bar – so small you’re amazed they can use both hands at once. HOW do you steer that properly?

    • goonz 02/11/2013 at 1:14 am #

      Better not get yourself on lfgss.com then ha!

  26. Payne by name 01/11/2013 at 10:35 am #

    “People doing trick stands at red lights. It’s not big or clever and everyone around you wants you to fall over.

    Dude – you’re 35 so stop playing the game where the ground is made of lava and your feet get burned if they touch the ground.

    Just put your feet down like everyone else.” Love this one!

    My bugbear are the cyclists who have to cycle down the middle of two lanes of same direction traffic. This causes the cars in the inner lane to move towards the curb which then pinches the majority who cycle up the inside.

    I’d like drivers to become conditioned to thinking that cyclists will be on the inside not being constantly stressing about where the hell we are.

    Oh and cyclists that hammer across red lights safely cocooned in their invisible peloton. I always shake my head in an attempt to convince the waiting motorists that we aren’t all arseholes.

  27. Stacey 01/11/2013 at 10:40 am #

    I’d go for No 1 everyday but I’d extend it as I just don’t understand what it is about cyclists that makes them think they’re automatically visible? It’s when you see people careering around in black and assume that everyone can see them … well, funnily enough, not everyone can and as a driver you’re definitely more likely to notice something that’s bright and moving not someone’s that camouflaged with the background. I’d go so far to say that I think hi vis should be compulsory.

    • smegheaddan 01/11/2013 at 10:54 am #

      All cars should be bright yellow. How am I expected to see a grey car on a dull day!

      • Stacey 02/11/2013 at 9:00 am #

        You can reverse this but cyclists can usually hear a car, not the other way round. It’s a question of my safety and in an argument between a car and a cyclist, I know who’d win. There’s an awful lot of casual cyclists out there that don’t have a clue about cycling etiquette let alone what they could/should/must do – if you can ride a bike you’re allowed on the road which is something you can’t do as a driver. I’m not saying every cyclist needs training (well, I probably am but it’s not practical/feasible) but by wearing hi vis at least as a driver you can see them careering around. I wear a hi vis as I know by wearing it, it automatically increases my chances of being seen … what’s so wrong with that?

  28. Montyz 01/11/2013 at 10:46 am #

    I’m a “Road user”… we are all road users and therefore are bound by the rules of the road. Today, I paused in a side road (in my car) to allow a young child and his mum (assumption) to cross the road. Despite this, a cyclist whizzed past me at speed (on my right); thankfully no one was hurt on this occassion. Giving cyclists a bad name.

    My entry to this Cyclist I love to hate is; “I know it’s a Give Way, but hey, I’m not stopping” – usually wearing black with no lights and texting… what’s that all about!

  29. Russell 01/11/2013 at 10:51 am #

    As a Bromptonian, I’m loving 4 – rarely happens on my watch though, even with my extra-fast red handlebars – and mudguards are a must. I’ve got them so I don’t get soaked, so why would I want to get drenched in your roadwash?

    My top hate: Red light jumpers, particularly as somebody said earlier, when they push past you so they can barge past pedestrians. Brilliantly the Polis are running a mini-campaign along Grosvenor road at the moment, so I’m enjoying the look of mortification on the people they catch.

  30. smegheaddan 01/11/2013 at 10:51 am #

    Cyclists who don’t fully overtake properly and clip your front wheel when pulling back in, only to stop and say be more careful! WTF?

  31. Andy 01/11/2013 at 10:54 am #

    The lithe lycra clad lads with less fat on them than a rasher of streaky bacon, who lope past me with a cheery hello as I try and puff and pant my way up the slightest incline, dressed in my 50+ And overweight body on one of my Moultons, trying to say hello back without sounding like a holed bagpipe. Lads, do me a favour and at least look like you are struggling a bit!

  32. Jozudave 01/11/2013 at 10:54 am #

    Like most people the shoaling by people on slow bikes is a personal bugbear. It’s not just annoying, it’s downright weird. Do they have no conception of reality or something?

    But the one that probably really irks me has to be people running dangerous red lights.

    First of all, I don’t want to spend my commute seeing people almost get killed on a regular basis, but it also has a very well known negative effect on our overall reputation with drivers who feel it is quite fine to be extremely rude and dangerous towards cyclists because “Hey all cyclists are rude idiots who bring it on themselves right?”

    And the other day a guy wearing a similar red jacket burned straight past me when I was stopped at a red light at a pedestrian crossing. Apart from the fact that this is SOOOO dangerous if I were to say reposition myself while he’s careening towards me which could result in a nasty collision for us both I was then stopped by a police bike 30 yards down the road in a case of mistaken identity!!!

    To be fair the copper was pretty nice about it and said he couldn’t be sure which cyclist is was because we were both in red. But by then the culprit was sadly long gone….

  33. Shut Up Legs!! 01/11/2013 at 11:10 am #

    I used to commute through central london and hated having to stop at practically every single set of lights. Worse was constantly overtaking those effing bicycle riders who jumped every set of lights ahead of you, whilst you stop.

    Now I commute through the b roads over richmond park, and love it. Over 10 miles, I probably stop at 1, or maybe 2 lights if I’m unlucky.

    I also love laughing at the cyclists that are totally ill prepared for the weather, and get caught out in rain and they’re wearing jeans and t-shirt etc, or in winter when you see some crawling along at 5mph and look like they’re wrapped up for a winter in Russia.

    The one’s that really get me though are those without lights. Honestly, you are an accident waiting to happen.

    You need a big light to go through richmond park as it’s pitch black. I go down sawyers hill in the evening, and often up ahead their is a cyclist on their piddly bike with an appalling front light. As I’m racing up to them, with my big beam shining (Cateye Nanoshot +) – I cover it and freak them out a little bit, only as I stealth cycle up alongside them uncover my hand and fly off. Totally scares the shit out of them – love it (get a proper light you dipstick!)

  34. Phil 01/11/2013 at 11:35 am #

    I hold a special dislike for the Bike Ninja: all in black/dark clothing, no lights, no helmet, no sense. I nearly got hit by one yesterday morning: he (BN is usually male, 17-35 ) overtook a bus by a traffic island, forcing it to brake and crossed the centre line into my path as I was cycling round an illegally parked delivery van, ( I was in the middle of the lane, well within my side of the road ). If he had been half a second slower we would probably both have been in A&E. I see a number of them on my commute, and it amazes me that there aren’t more collisions, as they are damn near invisible.

  35. Laurie Canham 01/11/2013 at 11:36 am #

    My favourite hate is the cyclist who ALWAYS ignores red lights, even when traffic is streaming past on the other road. Worst one was a guy with a child on his bike, no helmets, no restraints for the kid, and went straight through on red. No doubt he would have blamed the car driver if he (or more likely the child) had been injured or killed…

  36. Me 01/11/2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Shoaling is relative. I am not the fastest cyclist in the world, but (also because of that) I don’t want to get stuck behind people who first have to clip their shoes in before setting off properly. Also, the ASL box is big for a reason – if there’s space in the box, I’ll go in, even if it means I’m going past a single-line queue of people in the narrow cycle lane leading up to it – they had a chance to do that too! And above all, cycling in London is not for racing, but commuting and leisure, you can race on a circuit or in the countryside on a weekend!

  37. Simon Wilcox 01/11/2013 at 2:01 pm #

    Bike Ninjas are one of my pet hates (exactly as Phil describes above) but just as bad are the Sunbeams, selfish pillocks riding along with a light the size of a WWII searchlight on the front.
    It’s completely unnecessary and puts other riders at risk by blinding oncoming traffic.
    You are selfish because you’re putting your fellow Cyclocity residents at considerable risk.
    Your selfishness puts riders behind you at risk because a dazzled driver may not see us in time to take avoiding action when they try to turn behind you.
    Your selfishness puts riders ahead of you at risk because we can’t see a bloody thing behind you and have to jam on the brakes to make sure we don’t run in to a parked car or door.
    And if I hold my hand out to shield the light and ask you nicely to twist it down a bit because it’s too bright, the correct response is “sorry” not “f**k off” as I got from a bloke last night.

    • Shut Up Legs!! 01/11/2013 at 2:24 pm #


      I think I issue temporary blindness to a few oncoming cyclists through Richmond Park.

      Seriously, I do cover it up as I pass, but only for those with real lights.

      Those with no lights or piddly one’s I point it full beam (600 lumens!) directly at them.

      (You need a seriously bright light to get through the 2 mile stretch in the park).

      Once I’m out it goes onto blink mode.

      • Simon Wilcox 01/11/2013 at 2:29 pm #

        Then you are a bloody menace and should be run out of Cyclocity !

        • Zoe 01/11/2013 at 9:36 pm #

          Not to worry, he’ll get his comeuppance when he gets a horny stag running him of the road,or someone riding up his arse because he blinded them!
          I hate people with overly bright lights as well,what are they compensating for? Being too dim?!

  38. Nick 01/11/2013 at 2:18 pm #

    As a MTB rider guilty of #4, all I can say is “Sorry”. 😉

    The type of cyclist that really winds me up is the one that jumps red traffic lights or pedestrian crossings. What makes them above the Law?!

    Unfortunately it seems to be a regional past-time up here in Hull. 🙁

    • Simon Wilcox 01/11/2013 at 2:27 pm #

      Red light jumpers annoy me too *when they inconvenience other road users* – I don’t have too much of a problem going through a red light per-se, I’m guilty myself of “proceeding against a red light” when the way is clear and I’ve slowed down to evaluate the risk.
      What I can’t abide is idiots who run red lights so fast they couldn’t stop if they needed to. And there’s a special place in hell for those who weave between pedestrians who are legitimately crossing the road on their green signal.

      • Shut Up Legs!! 01/11/2013 at 2:30 pm #

        Jumping any form of lights is Illegal.

        You give cyclists a bad rep for this, period. Don’t do it.

        • Simon Wilcox 01/11/2013 at 2:40 pm #

          Indeed it is and vastly more often than not I stop (it’s good training to accelerate off the line, esp with the weight of my commuter bike and panniers!). I would argue though that the bad rep comes from those who jump red lights (and ride through pedestrian crossings, or race through shared spaces) without due care for other road users (including pedestrians).
          I doubt that anyone cares if someone rides through a red light when there’s nobody else around and the cyclist is not putting themselves or any other road users at any danger or inconvenience. What they do care about is the cyclist who thinks that they own the road and are completely invincible.
          A couple of weeks ago I witnessed a nasty crash between a cyclist and a pedestrian on the carriageway that was caused in large part by the cyclist riding too fast and yelling for right of way. He ended up in hospital with a load of broken ribs and damaged the pedestrian’s back. It’s idiots like that, who show a complete lack of respect for others that give cyclists a bad name, not those who can take a responsible view of the risk and decide whether it is safe to proceed, red light or not.

        • lonegringo 01/11/2013 at 3:16 pm #

          1) Cyclists who jump red lights
          2) Cyclists who jump the red light of the cycle lane
          3) Cyclists listening to music who can’t hear your bell and meander all over the cycle lane as if they are the only one using it
          4) Cyclists who go so far past the solid white line that they’re actually in the pedestrian crossing or beyond it into the crossing line of traffic.
          5) Cyclists who stop in the middle of the cycle lane to adjust their iPod/answer the phone
          …oh so many more

      • Shut Up Legs!! 01/11/2013 at 2:43 pm #

        Watch this.

        • Shut Up Legs!! 01/11/2013 at 2:48 pm #

          More often that not Simon, there is someone around watching.

          It doesn’t matter – jumping a red light is illegal. Cars don’t jump through lights when there is no-one about, do they?

          If cyclists want the same manner of respect that road users have, then all cyclists should observe the law if they want to ever be given that respect. That means stopping at all lights, regardless of whether anyone is about or not. Next time you jump a light, when there is no risk, I hope a police officer catches up with and gives you nice ticket. 😀

        • Simon Wilcox 01/11/2013 at 2:49 pm #

          I’ll have a watch when I get a moment but I suspect it illustrates my point. Inevitably these guys will go flying around all over the place being dicks. They deserve to get squashed.
          They are not the people I’m talking about and it’s the general inability to tell the difference between recklessness and responsibility that leads to blanket statements such as yours and the tarring of all of us with the brush intended for the idiotic few.

        • Nick 01/11/2013 at 2:50 pm #

          @Simon Wilcox: One one part I agree, that cyclist yelling for right of way is the epitome of a cyclist with no regard for anyone else on the road…and what can happen to a cyclist if we don’t give consideration to others.

          However, I’m afraid that I have to disagree with the sentiment about riding through a red light if there is no-one around.
          It is against the Law.
          Cars aren’t allowed, vans aren’t allowed, motorbikes aren’t allowed, lorries aren’t allowed and most certainly bicycles aren’t allowed.

        • Simon Wilcox 01/11/2013 at 3:04 pm #

          Not quite sure where in the thread this reply is going to end up but OK – I do see your point although I see drivers going through red lights every single day even people around or not. Usually in a convoy where at least the last two vehicles drive right through red long after the lights have changed.
          In Europe it’s relatively common to see traffic lights that change to flashing amber in the evenings and require approaching drivers to exercise caution and proceed when it’s safe to do so.
          I guess I just wish we lived in a society where everyone was trusted to do the right thing but selfish drivers have spoiled it for the rest of us by driving with so little care and causing so many crashes that we now think it’s best to make everyone stop, even when the exit is clear and it’s safe to proceed.
          I do see your point about how others see it, when I slow down to allow pedestrians across a zebra crossing they often seem quite surprised and will often wave me through, cyclists stopping for them is clearly something so unusual they don’t seem to know what to do about it. When I proceed past a red light I guess there’s nothing to tell any observers that I’m one of the responsible people so I get lumped in with the nutters.
          Hmm, maybe I should take a different approach but I still think we ought to be able to use our proper judgement.

  39. Alistair Burns 01/11/2013 at 2:45 pm #

    Mark Cavendish in The Standard :

    “What would you do as Mayor for the day?
    Make cyclists stop at red lights. Don’t jump them, it gives me a bad name. I hate it.”

    Every online discussion about improvement of cycling facilities degenerates into abuse of cyclists because of those who choose to cycle through red lights, on the pavement or without lights. As a result we have no moral high ground, no reasoned discussion and consequently no improvement in safety through the actions of red light jumpers. Ironically the red light jumpers maintain they are doing it for their own safety, they are not, they are doing it because they are selfish and ignorant of the consequences of their actions.

    • Beth 02/11/2013 at 9:38 am #

      Spot on Alistair. We are a minority, if we want the support of other road users and pedestrians we cannot be seen to be ignoring the rules – we lose the support we vitally need. I’m tired of pushing for improvements when all I get is ‘you lot all jump the lights’ – it’s not something I can deny, sadly.

  40. Pedro 01/11/2013 at 2:52 pm #

    Cyclists who jump red lights.

    Cyclists who turn left from a right hand lane (never seen anyone do it the other way round but sure it happens).

    Cyclists who give you a mouthful of abuse when you call them on riding dangerously/like an arsehole.

  41. David 01/11/2013 at 3:20 pm #

    I absolutely hate BMX riders. No lights, mud gaurds, helmet oh and no common sense. They have the need to ride on the road side by side meaning if you want to overtake you then end up in oncoming traffic. Really annoys me. Buy a proper bike. You aren’t 10 anymore!

  42. sonya 01/11/2013 at 3:59 pm #

    Ridiculous, probably the first point is the only non snobbish one. Clearly this is written just to take the piss. There are so much more annoying things some cyclists do. You really lost me here.

    • David 01/11/2013 at 4:29 pm #

      @Sonia I’m sorry if I sound naive but how are these points in any way “snobbish”? Of course there are so many things wrong with how some cyclists behave on the road but they clearly have been covered by other comments.

  43. Peter 01/11/2013 at 4:13 pm #

    oh dear, seem to transgress most of these. My Bianchi doesnt have mudguards. I dont zoom away from lights, i do find myself weaving in and out of lanes if i know the route very well, especially in rush hour

    I have to say im unsure about approaching a set of lights on red. do i go down the side of the traffic? do i go to the front of the car queue?

    What i actually do IS go down the side of the traffic but stop at the the rear of the front car so if it decides to turn left im safe, the second car has probaby seen me. i do make a big play of looking at cars indicators if along side me just so they know i think they arnt going left. it sometimes works!

    but i do listen on headphones, but low level. I always wear a crash hat, always stop at lights and junctions. I take great pleasure in pissing off cyclists who think I shouldnt. As a 59 year old I dont have the stamina to maintain a steady 20 mph but never respond to tuts, I like my average 13-14 mph per journey. I also take great pleasure in wearing my old, now non-waterproof yellow Gore jacket, it is old and faded and bears scars from impact with tarmac.

    in the end, no one really pisses me off tons, we are all knights of the tarmac together.

    • Montyz 01/11/2013 at 6:06 pm #

      Annoying and cautious and yet light hearted. 🙂

  44. Rowan De Bonaire 01/11/2013 at 6:54 pm #

    When I’m ‘Oop t’North’ I notice another hateful beast. The Lekky biker who doesnt pedal! They buy illegal Chinese ‘mopeds’ from dodgy outlets, then just ride them like motorbikes, getting in the way on what little infrastructure we have in the provinces, and then shoaling at every opportunity.

    Another London bugbear is the fixie riders who whizz past you as you slow for lights, blow through the lights (at least there, we have Darwinian behaviour in action), only to be passed on the next open stretch. …. and repeat. I remember a commute from Old St to St johns Wood – a straight line basically – on my path racer (ironically, also fixed wheel), consistently blowing off three of these hipsters all the way, only to have one of them abuse me for passing him. maybe it was my 100 year old bike that rubbed salt into the owund/

  45. Rowan De Bonaire 01/11/2013 at 6:57 pm #

    People who shout “Where’s your helmet?” My reply is “In your imagination”. Gives me enough time to exit their stmosphere.

  46. Epsom2KingX 02/11/2013 at 12:40 am #

    I don’t push it at lights, always have lights and rarely jump lights: but I do splash as I never where have mudguard

    I’m a short fella and even on a 54 frame it leaves little room for anything but lights on the seat post. If there is a mudguard that clips to the seat stay or a light I’ll jiggle things about to accomadate a mudguard.

    But TBH I don’t mind bit of spray when its wet. I just remind myself that its wet and I’m going to get wet. If I wanted to stay dry I’d ge the train.

  47. goonz 02/11/2013 at 1:21 am #

    I shoal but then I cant remember the last time I was over taken at the lights or on the road. I alaays leave space for other cyclists and am usually always first away from the lights. I hate slow riders lioking down tryjbg to clip in and keep an eye on the road whilst wobbling at a busy junction so I make sure im at the front.

    My hate is getting sprayed by bikes with no guards. Its not just rain water its grease and never comes out!

  48. Alistair Burns 02/11/2013 at 1:32 am #

    @goonz Of course you are first away if you get in front of everybody else and in their way. They would have to check behind to see if it is safe to pass you while you carry on regardless. Nice for you..

    • goonz 02/11/2013 at 11:44 am #

      ha! I never obstruct another cyclist, to the point I would rather obstruct cars and get in their way than the way of a fellow cyclist.

      If I do shoal I always move into line so other cyclists can still get by me if they are quicker. Yet to ever happen and thats even with me having to clip in.

  49. Kyoto Kid 02/11/2013 at 5:38 am #

    From the States here.

    We have our share of similar “bad cyclists” but the worst in my book are those who choose to ride on the pavement at speeds sufficient for the street. It’s especially terrifying when they come up from behind with no warning and fly past within an inch or two. One misstep, and you could find yourself on the way to the hospital.

    Where I live (Portland, Oregon – which oddly enough allows adult cyclists to ride on the pavement) there is a clique of “Lance Wannabes” which feels they are a privileged society beyond reproach, for if you ask them politely to give a warning next time and to slow down before passing (which by the way is the law) you often become the target of obscenity upon obscenity, questions about your heritage, and the middle finger salute

    • Stacey 02/11/2013 at 9:14 am #

      Luckily for us, it’s illegal over here to do that – as a pedestrian you should only have to worry what’s on the road … not the pavement as well.

  50. Andrew Wilcox 02/11/2013 at 7:46 am #

    Electric cyclists overtaking me when going uphill

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