The tail-light sidestep

Do you know how to perform the tail-light sidestep?

I do.

You see, I’ve had quite a lot of practise on those traffic choked mean streets. The move is part Phil Bennett, part Mark Cavendish, but all performed at a leisurely pace and with a butter-wouldn’t-melt cherubic smile. After all, you’ll never beat Peter Sagan on a 35lb city bike.

Let me explain.

You know how it is. The traffic crawls through town like the lamest of congas at an overly long party.  Being a bike – the most effective, cheapest and sensible form of transport yet devised – we can move languidly and relentlessly, quietly making progress on the inside (carefully of course, no squeezing through super tight gaps and plenty of wariness at left turn junctions). Then…..then…..then……. you see the eyes.  Rear view mirror or wing mirror. It matters not. The eyes.

They’re narrowed and certainly not happy. Progress? Somebody else is making progress? And I’m sat here in £30k of depreciating cash going nowhere?

The car edges to the left.

I move to the centre.

The eyes track me. The car edges right.

I move to the left.

Those eyes again.  The car follows.

Gently flowing now, elegant. like a Swan in a tux. I spin to centre.

The eyes lock on, the car drifts over. I meet the gaze.

A sleight of hand. A feint to the left, a subtle move of the head. A suggestion.

The car commits…….. to the left.


Quick acceleration, heaving on the handlebars and…..BOOM!  I’m through the massive HGV sized gap on the right hand side. Arms aloft, making pistols with my fingers and shooting celebrations at the moon, I acknowledge the rapturous applause from the knowledgeable group of spectators, all recognising a sprint master at work.

Thanks Phil. Cheers Mark.

To work out how to perform the tail-light side-step, see Phil and Cav in action below. This article comes with small-print – never muck about it rush hour traffic, endanger yourself  or others, nor be a nuisance and give cyclists a bad name. Oh yes…. and only pick the scraps you can win. 🙂

Queue up your sidestep……

…….and sprint.

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