Of late there have been more than a few posts in the internetosphere highlighting the errant behaviour of ‘cyclists’. There was one recently from the brilliant people at road.cc. I’m sure you can think of many others. Such articles are of a genre. However, I bridle at the use of the term ‘cyclist’. In the case of the article above, the aggressor would seem to fit the definition of ‘pyschopath who happened to be using a bicycle as a form of transport at that particular time of day to go about his psychopathic daily business, to include the act of beating-the-living-crap-out-of-septuagenarians’. Almost always the term ‘cyclist’ is applied in error.
It’s worth drawing this semantic distinction when there is such a welter of anti-“cyclist” sentiment out there; most of it from dumbass below-the-liners. Lazy attribution of the term only enforces the stereotype that all cyclists jump lights, run down old grannies, set alight paper bags of dog poo and leave them on your doorstep, that sort of thing. I’m all for more people riding bikes, insofar as it’s good to see people using bicycles as a practical means of transport. It doesn’t mean they’re cyclists. (in fact, as the three readers of this blog will know, i’m not actually ‘all for more people riding bikes’ at all and will be glad when this sorry bike boom dies on its consumer-driven ass and the choppers on rapha bikes currently crawling up the gorge like a plague of carbon cockroaches ((in full rapha carapace, obviously)) disappear back to the 18th hole).
I’m certainly not about to wander along the path of comparison and suggest a reappropriation of the term, thus negating its power and pejorated form, reclaiming it for those who wear the true badge. This is a path fraught with danger, and also a path best left to the experts. However, I am suggesting that we think carefully about how we apply the term ‘cyclist’, and question it when it’s foregrounded ahead of a more obvious description; like sociopath, or murderer, or alcoholic, or simply a sociopathic, murderous alcoholic.
Race the World
On a separate but equally curmudgeonly note, i was pleased to see Cycling Weekly waxing lyrical about the ‘Race the World’ in this week’s comic. It’s definitely one of the more accessible sportives of recent years. You even get a free bike and ‘individual tent space’. It consists of 5 legs taking place in 5 continents for the bargain price of just under £8000 per leg, or £40,000 all in. Did I mention the free bike and individual tent space?
They seem to be missing a few extras you might normally expect for that kind of price. Namely, a full time fluffer, a beater to rouse the pheasants into flight for the evening meal, a travelling tank of lobster and beluga sturgeon for ravitaillement and a sponsorship deal with Rapha. A full set of rapha garms might exceed the entry fee though. These people are not cyclists; and as an event it’s beyond satire. A race for people who don’t race and can’t ride, who don’t know how to function without a concierge, have a sanitised and bogus view of suffering and adventure and a total shedload of money to burn on vanity projects. It surely has to be the apotheosis of the demented sportive trajectory.