Monday, February 04, 2008

I am a cycle pistol.

“Where are you going?” says Polly.

I am turning left on autopilot from Hills Road into Cherry Hinton Road on my bicycle, really enjoying the concrete cycle filter which even has it’s own traffic light just for bicycles. The light is green so I am luxuriating in my unimpeded and enhanced cycling experience until Polly shouts at me and I remember that we had discussed earlier the necessary route of cycling along Hills Road instead of going down Cherry Hinton Road because Cherry Hinton Road can be rather congested and dangerous, especially with the kids on the back of the bike.

“Shit, I am going the wrong way,” I say.

I slow down and watch Polly cycle off into the distance. I’m trapped in the filter and try to work out how to get out of it. Mick is on the back of the bike so I can’t bump up and down the kerb. I don’t want to push the bike backwards because the extra weight of Mick tends to make the bike behave in odd ways. The safest way is to continue forwards and try to cycle back round into the main road without killing myself or my child.

Before I can divert, a woman with blond hair and shades steps in front of my bike. She doesn’t notice me because she is focused entirely upon her mobile phone. She’s so engrossed that she’s not realised that the bike traffic light is green, that she is standing on the road or that I am about to cycle into her leg and arm and head.

I am a cycle pistol

Her boyfriend shouts at her to be careful. She looks up, notices me, shrugs then looks back down at her phone and carries on walking. No apology, no skip run, absolutely no reaction to indicate that she’s sorry for walking in front of me even though I’m on a green light.

I try to think of some really clever things to shout and come up with the following options:

“Excuse me, unless you are texting “I am standing in front of a bike even though there is a green light for bikes” then your text is very inappropriate.”


“Hey, See that green light, it has a picture of a bike, not an idiot doing texting on a mobile phone,”


“Thanks a lot, the prospect of having to start my bike again from standing for no real reason other than that you’re crossing the road whilst doing a text has helped me to appreciate just how brilliant momentum really is.”

I am a cycle pistol

None of these seem snappy or bitchy enough so I weigh up the following possibility…


When this one pops into my head I get very excited. It seems to me that this is one of those rare occaisions in life where I have a completely legitimate case for being allowed to shout fuck off at a person.

My weighing up process goes like this.

I am on a bike (plus)

I have a toddler on the bike (plus)

I am on a bike lane especially designed for bikes (plus)

The bike traffic light is on green (plus)

The woman is standing in the bike lane even though it is a green light (plus)

The woman hasn’t apologised or made any effort to accept that she is in the wrong and I am in the right (plus)

I am a cycle pistol

I calculate this to be six plus points to no minus points. As far as I can see there is absolutely no reason at all why I shouldn’t shout fuck off at this woman. I am totally elated. I pull back my shoulders and inflate my lungs, but suddenly a strange kind of calmness washes over me and a voice inside my head says “This woman is a total idiot, but you have a chance not to be. Why don’t you just try not shouting fuck off at the woman and see what happens?”

I am a cycle pistol

The voice in my head is right. Reluctantly I acquiese to it’s suggestion. I stare after the woman and watch her boyfriend shake his head.

The road is now clear but the bike traffic light has gone red so I have to wait. Every second I wait is a second that I berate myself “David, you should have shouted “FUCK OFF,” at her. You would have been so cool, shouting “FUCK OFF,” at her. You would have been just like the Sex Pistols on Bill Grundy. That would have really taught her a lesson. Oh why didn’t you shout “FUCK OFF,” at her? No wonder you were never in the Sex Pistols - you don’t know how to indiscriminately shout “FUCK OFF,” at people do you? You great big loser.”

Eventually the light goes green and I find my way back to my route. I cycle towards Polly along Hills Road cycle path, which is an small section of the road with a painted line and an icon of a bicycle painted on it. She is waiting for me just opposite Hills Road College.

As I cycle towards her she shouts “BE CAREFUL DAVID,”

She is shouting “BE CAREFUL DAVID,” because a Jaguar is pulling out of it’s drive and has nosed forward across the pavement and into the cycle lane just ahead of me.

I look at the Jaguar and pretend to be confused.

I slow down to a pathetic wobble, and then at the point where my bike is central to the Jaguar’s bonnet I pretend that I am concentrating so hard on trying to stay in the cycle path that I have to put my foot down on the floor in order to retain my balance.

I really ham it up, pointing my tongue out of my mouth in concentration, and putting my hand out to apologise to the Jaguar, mouthing “Sorry,” at the driver, but the driver is ignoring my performance.

I figure that the God of cycling has given me the Jaguar as a reward for my good behaviour towards the idiot woman so I simply stop my bike and wait for him to look at me, and then I point at the road mouthing “You’ve stopped over the cycle lane,”

He looks at me and mouths “I know,” as if he is really bored, but I can see that despite his insouciant air he is a beaten shell of an old man.

I am a cycle pistol

I am a cycle pistol.

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