Mud splattered up back, on legs, over bike. A mountain biker. Fearless? Not of the road it seems. The street is deathly quiet. Silent. The only cars are parked, yet our mountain biker is riding on the pavement. At speed. He gets closer. Neal looks at me. I look at Neal. Communication is non-verbal. An eyebrow raises. ‘He’s having a laugh‘ is writ large across his stony face (in his day, Neal was a downhiller of some repute until a compound fracture shattered his leg). The cyclist’s eyes flick to and fro. He’s gauged our reaction and declined to hang around. He pelts into the middle distance before taking a hard left hander into the lane. Slack mouthed and for once, lost for words, Neal and I shake our heads. Unreal. Mountain bikes are for the mountain and where necessary, the road (when getting to and from the mountain). This quiet residential street is home to children, parents and the elderly. A cyclist on the pavement is a silent and unnecessary menace.
Last week is was ninja cylists that sent me into a tizz. This week its cyclists who rivde on the pavement when there is absolutely no reason to do so. The cyclist was in his 30s and should know much, much better. Occasionally, very busy and dangerous sections of road can force cyclists onto the pavement. This is a given, a last resort and occasionally an act of protest. Whatever the motivation, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. If the pavement is narrow or busy, wheel the bike. If it’s wide or quiet, use a bit of common sense, accept that the pedestrian’s rights trump all and leave as soon as you can (better still, follow the advice of the Republic of Bicycletopia). In these instances, the urban conditions have necessitated your course of action and it’s a position that is possible to defend. But a cyclist riding quickly on the pavement of a quiet residential street, free of cars on a dreary Sunday afternooon? Plleeease. Every cyclist is a tiny PR machine for every other. I don’t want this chump to represent me.
Cycle art courtesy of the Republic of Bicycletopia and Artcrank.