Features

Cycling in Lycra is bad for the soul

7 May 2016

9:00 AM

7 May 2016

9:00 AM

Spring is here and the air is alive with the sound of sweaty manmade materials rubbing together, as middle-aged cyclists fill every road, dressed head to toe in Lycra. They whizz along, jumping red lights, weaving in and out of the path of trucks, screaming at pedestrians and taxi drivers; barely evading death three times a morning. Lycra isn’t just a fabric; it’s a state of mind. At work, these often portly, always angry, red-faced individuals might be mild-mannered middle managers who work in marketing. But in their cycling kit they are superheroes who happen to swear a lot.

The double Olympic champion Laura Trott was once asked to help with a safety campaign which involved riding around the capital to highlight the dangers cyclists face on the roads. She returned absolutely terrified — by cyclists who dressed like her but behaved like maniacs. ‘I see cyclists jumping in and out of the buses and people wonder why they get hit,’ she said. Trott was too polite to say that this is largely a male problem. You rarely see women sporting the full Lycra look unless they’re actually cycling competitively. There’s even an acronym for it, Mamil: middle-aged man in Lycra.

Thanks to Boris Johnson — who, mercifully, does not cycle in a stretchy body sock — and his £47 million cycle superhighways, Londoners can soon expect massed pelotons of Lycra to flow inexhaustibly all the way from Westbourne Grove to Tower Hill via the Victoria Embankment, massively enhancing our collective sum of rage.

Lycra is bad for the soul — and almost nobody looks good in it (the exceptions are 1980s LA gym birds and Jane Fonda). Even professional cyclists look ridiculous. So why do ever-increasing numbers of people dress like this? Joggers — also afflicted by the Lycra bug — will tell you that it’s practical and aerodynamic, but you don’t see Mo Farah running around in a skintight bodysuit.


Well, I have a confession: I am no stranger to the stretchy fabric. For ten years I rode a racing bike in London and would often sport Lycra. I even wore those special shoes that clip into the pedals. Lycra seeps into your brain. You might be pottering around the Chilterns, but in your mind you’re riding Paris–Roubaix. At work, you’ll nod at fellow cyclists when making tea and swap stories in a low murmur of battles fought at the Elephant and Castle roundabout.

I didn’t like people overtaking unless they had more Lycra on than me. I’d arrive at work hot and angry, my body pulsing with adrenaline from fighting the traffic. About five years ago, I had an epiphany. My competitive commute was making me unpleasant. I was turning into one of those self-righteous cyclists people write letters to newspapers about. So I gave up the Lycra.

If you look at countries where cycling is genuinely popular, such as Denmark or Holland, nobody wears it. Danes would think you were mad to cycle to work in a special costume and then change. Couriers — who cycle the most, and the fastest — don’t wear head-to-toe Lycra.

I now cycle in ordinary clothes. I wear a coat in winter. In summer I wear a shirt. If I’m getting too sweaty, I slow down. I’ve even ditched my racing bike, with its thin tyres and no mudguards, as it was completely impractical for Britain’s terrible road surfaces and changeable weather. I now have a Dawes Civic, a sturdy Alan Bennett-esque machine that gets me everywhere I want almost as quick as before but without the hassle. If the ride takes a little longer, I know that I’ll make it up in not having to get showered and changed. I’m much happier and, most importantly, I’ve rediscovered my love of cycling.

Nowadays there is no need to wear Lycra at all. For those who have to wear proper kit, i.e. people going on genuinely very long rides, there are companies that make cycling clothes that look normal. In fact they work better, because they’re often rainproof, let the sweat out and have padding in all the right places. And without Lycra, of course, loutism will diminish. Cyclists will become civilised once more.

And so I appeal to you: joggers, nobody wants to see your genitals, wear a tracksuit; cyclists, buy an Alan Bennett bike, your dignity will thank you. It’s high time to leave Lycra to the professionals. At least they’re paid to look stupid.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
  • uberwest

    Agree 100 %. Lycra should be banned on aesthetic grounds. For men at least.

  • Andy O.

    Yawn. Most of us wear lycra because it works. London louts are louts because they are commuting in London. The rest of us can safely ignore this drivel.

    • Flintshire Ian

      Largely true. Most of the bad cycling behaviour that I have seen has been from skinny young blokes in central London and not from those of us trying to keep the weight increase from becoming a middle aged disaster now that the squash / football/ rugby or whatever is no more but the refuelling habits remain the same.

  • congreve

    It’s bad for for the body of any pedestrian who strays into the path of these whizz-kids and it sickens the soul of onlookers forced to contemplate heaving and ill-formed buttocks.

    • Sue Smith

      I’d have to agree with this. The aggression on footpaths, in particular, is frightening. In Vienna it was dreadful – they whizz along, darting between people, and I always felt tremendously nervous and worried we’d be knocked over. That’s not good!! A couple of times my husband said, “hey, ride on the road” and the shocking expletives in return told us all we needed to know.

      I haven’t been in London since 1971 so cannot comment on the situation there.

      • HJ777

        But you weren’t knocked over and very few people are either seriously injured or killed by cyclists.

        But many pedestrians are killed and injured by motor vehicles even on pavements and pedestrian crossings.

  • MummyofPrudence

    The Middle Aged Man In Lycra Song

    I’m married to a middle aged man in Lycra,
    Although he doesn’t wear it much around the house,
    As it’s really not so fetching,
    In a man who’s quite knock kneed,
    Though from a distance it’s dramatic,
    And looks wonderful at speed.
    For it’s shiny blue and stretching
    Every which way that it can,
    And it tends to get all static,
    (Though not like a caravan)
    Nor yet is he acrobatic
    But it makes a crackling sound,
    When his stuff he is a strutting
    Which is something that I’ve found
    Can be really quite off putting,
    So I don’t know where I am,
    As he rubs it up against my Harris tweed.

    • logdon

      Is Harris Tweed a new euphemism?

  • HJ777

    I don’t wear Lycra when I cycle.

    When I cycle I’m usually on my way to my rowing club and I change into Lycra when I get there.

  • David S

    You really shouldn’t base your choice of cycle wear on whether other people will think you look stupid – why should you care? There’s a time and a place for most things. Lycra is for fast runs out in the country, not for commuting in London traffic. And there is no need to show your genitals in a properly padded pair of cycle shorts.

    • Flintshire Ian

      My daughter buys me baggy cycling shorts with detachable padded inserts so that there is no lycra on show. This also provides pockets for keys, money, and phone. But the primary purpose of the regular birthday presents is, I am well aware, to keep the lycra out of sight.

  • Teacher

    From what I see Bycras are petty criminals on wheels.

    • HJ777

      You could equally say that drivers in fast cars are the same. Only they have lethal weapons at their command.

      • Sue Smith

        When I was in Amsterdam I was in constant fear of bicycles. I could easily be knocked over and killed by one (I’m over 60). Same here in Australia. Our taxi driver in Amsterdam said many people are killed by cyclists in that city each year. They are, in fact, lethal weapons because they ride on the footpaths at high speed.

        When riders complain about car drivers they are merely projecting their own tendencies.

        • HJ777

          I have never had a problem in Amsterdam.

          Taxi drivers are experts on everything, aren’t they, and their opinions are never biased of course. In fact, there are, on average about 6 cycling related deaths in Amsterdam every year – and that includes cyclists themselves.

          You might like to compare that to deaths caused by motor vehicles. In the UK, there is around one pedestrian killed every three years by a cyclist on a pavement/footpath/pedestrian crossing, compared to almost two a week by motor vehicles.

          • Sue Smith

            Given that there are millions more cars you would expect greater deaths from these, so I don’t know what your point is. There’s no reason why anybody should be killed by cyclists. Period.

          • HJ777

            Even taking into account the relative numbers, motor vehicles are far, far, more dangerous to pedestrians. That’s my point.

            Inevitably, where there is mass and movement there will be accidents and sometimes people will be hurt. They are much more likely to be hurt the more the mass and the greater the speed, i.e, by motor vehicles, whose drivers, therefore, should exercise much greater caution.

            By the way, the term in the UK is ‘full stop’ not ‘period’ and you had already used a full stop, so you didn’t need to write it out.

          • Sue Smith

            In Australia “period”, used as I did, means “forever”. It has nothing whatsoever to do with punctuation. You are trying to correct a very experienced high-school English teacher.

          • HJ777

            No it doesn’t. Consider yourself corrected.

            Perhaps you should find an occupation you’re better at.

          • Sue Smith

            You are totally wrong about this, as you are in using a preposition at the end of a sentence.

          • HJ777

            Contrary to your belief, there is no rule in English against using a preposition at the end of a sentence. You may prefer not to but it is not a rule and the alternative is often inelegant.

            Perhaps you should find an occupation at which you are better.

            I’m sure you prefer that, but it is no more correct. Next you’ll be telling me that you shouldn’t use split infinitives.

          • Sue Smith

            Another internet troll. No shortage of them. On yer bike, mate!!

          • HJ777

            Oh dear.

            I expose the fact that you don’t even know your subject and your only response is the pathetically weak “troll!” response.

            You should not be teaching English if you think there is anything wrong with putting a preposition at the end of a sentence. Latin, perhaps. English, no.

        • Jon

          “Our taxi driver in Amsterdam said many people are killed by cyclists in that city each year”

          He’s lying. Hope this helps.

  • David Bates

    ” They whizz along, jumping red lights, weaving in and out of the path of
    trucks, screaming at pedestrians and taxi drivers; barely evading death
    three times a morning.”
    Lazy hack journalism, probably copy and pasted from one of many such clickbait articles written by somebody who couldn’t be bothered to do their homework. You quote Laura Trott:
    “‘I see cyclists jumping in and out of the buses and people wonder why they get hit,’”
    The trouble is that over the last couple of years at least the bulk of cycling fatalities have been women, which rather goes against your argument, and a huge proportion of cycling deaths involve lorries, typically at unsafe junctions.

    As it happens I do wear lycra because it’s more comfortable. I don’t charge about and get my blood pressure up, shouting and screaming. I take my time, ride at a speed I’m comfortable with (not overly fast), keep my distance from vehicles and keep a sharp eye out for pedestrians just stepping out into the road – especially those whose eyes are glued to their mobile. It makes for a pleasant and enjoyable ride – and I don’t need to dress in any particular clothing in order to behave like that.

    • #toryscum

      My theory, nothing but anecdotal evidence backing it up, is that it’s the cyclists who lack confidence that are killed the most on London roads. In the gutter, next to a lorry at a junction is not a good place to be, lycra louts (guilty) have the knowledge and confidence not to be there.

      • John Brocklehurst

        There’s actually quite a large body of evidence that backs up your theory.

        • #toryscum

          I haven’t read any of it. So bonus, good to know.

    • Sue Smith

      Actually, my sister belongs to a Sydney riding group – they’re Lycra wearers – and she constantly comments about the aggressive male riders in her group and elsewhere!!

      • David Bates

        So what? I’ve seen aggressive riders not wearing any lycra whatsoever. All I was saying is that wearing lycra doesn’t automatically make the testosterone flow and lead to dangerous cycling and high levels of aggression.
        Based on your comment, I presume that your sister wears lycra as well. Does she become dangerous and aggressive as a consequence?

        • HJ777

          Probably not, but she probably gets very annoyed with, and embarrassed by, her sister’s daft comments, whatever she is wearing.

      • HJ777

        She never notices aggressive drivers, presumably?

        Let me ask you a question. Who do you think is most dangerous, an aggressive cyclist or an aggressive driver?

  • SonOfaGun

    Who doesn’t look good in tight clothes? Fat people.

    • RedMercury

      “Spandex: It’s a privilege, not a right.”

  • Berny Breen

    I think it helps with any activity if you are dressed appropriately. If you want to cycle slowly by all means wear your tweed. If you want to travel more safely (faster) wear your lycra.
    The loutish behaviour is more to do with people being crammed on top of each other than their attire.
    This is a very misleading article. . . . #justsaying

    • HungryHorace

      Do you cycle and wear Lycra Berny?

      • Berny Breen

        Guilty on both counts – not as fast as I like to think I am 🙂 @@HungryHorace:disqus

        • HungryHorace

          At least you’re honest 😉
          Well i wear cycling shorts on my cycle to work. I cycle 11 kms and there’s no way I would cycle that, without a shower and change of clothes afterwards. Lycra shorts make sense.
          However there are a lot of self-rightous types on bikes these days.In fact a lot of people seem to be wound up to a huge degree, both in cars an on bikes. What’s wrong with people?

        • HJ777

          I think the puzzling thing is that many cyclists choose to wear shiny Lycra, which usually isn’t usually very flattering. Why is cycling Lycra seemingly always shiny?

          I cycle (not in Lycra) and I row (in Lycra) and rowing kit is usually matt Lycra which looks far better, in my opinion.

  • Jon

    What a silly article.
    Angry people on bikes result when the infrastructure places them at risk.
    Ditto, breaking the rules.
    Lots of youngish, aggressive males on bikes is a result of everyone else being terrified.
    Lycra is worn because it’s good for keeping the sweat away when you’re riding fast.

    All these things are a direct result of the terrible environments cyclists are thrown into. If you want to get rid of all of them (with the possible exception of Lycra), campaign for better infrastructure and better protection from motorists. Then you’ll get normal people dressed normally going about their business in a normal way. But you’ll never get rid of lycra because it’s good for it’s intended purpose.

    You could of course ride my 15 miles each way in a natty three piece suit if you want, it won’t be very natty once you arrive though.

    • David Keech

      It’s bizarre how much the anti-cycling crowd focus on lycra, when in reality there’s very little of it. The same goes for red-light jumping. If they see 10 cyclists waiting at a red light and one of them goes through it, that is evidence that all cyclists are law-breaking louts. It’s like they can’t even see cyclists unless they’re wearing lycra and running a red light.

      Take this video of the brand new N-S route for instance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLCm2hoM9aE

      Not a single lycra lout to be seen. Some in suits, some in casual jeans, some in sporty active clothing, lots of hi-viz but no BMC or Sky branded Wiggins wannabes. Towards the end, you can see the entire column of Northbound cyclists stop at a red light.

      This is what cycling on protected cycleways looks like. Normal, average, ordinary.

      • HJ777

        Yes, and a quarter of motorists admit that they have sometimes jump red lights.

        And over half admit to routinely breaking the speed limit in 30mph zones (i.e. in areas which are likely to be residential).

        • RedMercury

          Actually, I’m going to wander off a bit…

          One difference I find between cyclists and motorists when it comes to breaking the law is the attitude.

          There was a recent police sting in my area regarding Stop signs. So the cops hung out and gave tickets to people who did not stop, whether they were driving a car or riding a bicycle.

          The car drivers knew they were supposed to stop. When given a ticket, they accepted it and went on their way.

          The cyclists, on the other hand, were up in arms! “How dare you target me?! Don’t you have anything better to do? It’s safer for me to run the stop sign! I shouldn’t have to stop at stop signs because I have better visibility! It’s not fair! I’m being persecuted!” The local bike blogs were apoplectic. “Police targeting cyclists!” they proclaimed.

          The difference, from what I see, is that motorists will admit to their failings and realize they are doing something that they shouldn’t. As the 12-Steppers would say, the first step is admitting that you have a problem. Cyclists, on the other hand, feel that the laws should not apply to them and any attempt to enforce those laws is a conspiracy against all cyclists.

          • HJ777

            Anecdotal and how do you know? Did you just happen to be there and just happen to have time to stay to watch and listen? Sounds implausible to me.

            You also need to consider the danger posed to others by both groups. Virtually none in the case of cyclists – severe danger in the case of drivers.

            And you do know that most cyclists are also motorists? Generally speaking you are talking about the same people.

          • RedMercury

            Anecdotal and how do you know?

            Because I know the cop who got stuck with the duty. I also read about it on various blogs.

            You also need to consider the danger posed to others by both groups.

            Yes, let’s be honest. Bicyclists never kill pedestrians. While I’ll agree that cars cause more injuries, if you compare it based on miles travelled, it’s about the same.

            Basically, the argument comes down to “You’re less likely to die if you’re hit by a bicycle” which is absolutely true. But I shouldn’t have to risk bodily injury, either. And I certainly shouldn’t have to pay for my time in the hospital just so you don’t have to stop for the stop sign.

            And you do know that most cyclists are also motorists? Generally speaking you are talking about the same people.

            Yup. In fact, I’m one of them. And I made certain that I have an appropriate policy (it’s actually part of my renter’s insurance, oddly enough).

            We sort of segue back to the original intent of the article here. Heck, one reason I like to bike to work is that it’s a workout. Why should I pay money to the local gym (and devote the time) when I can multi-task and get my daily exercise by biking to work. I’m saving the planet (less pollution), improving my health, etc. It’s win-win!

            But I am transporting myself to work. The exercise is secondary. But that’s not true for some.

            Yes, there are plenty of people timing their rides, counting their calories, trying to improve their times and fitness. The road is their gymnasium and nothing should interrupt their workout. But the road is not their gymnasium. It is, first and foremost, a transportation network. And with that network comes rules that we all follow for our own safety and the safety of those around us, even if it makes it a less optimal gymnasium.

          • HJ777

            We should believe something because you know a cop who told you so? Laughable.

            Cyclists very, very rarely kill pedestrians and almost never on footpaths or pedestrian crossings. Cars regularly do.

            As for your stats, they’re bogus. They don’t take severity of injury into account and basing it on miles travelled is ludicrous because a high proportion miles travelled in cars is on roads where there aren’t any pedestrians such as trunk roads, dual carriageways and motorways. In areas where there are likely to be pedestrians, cars are far more likely to injure pedestrians per mile travelled.

            If you want the real stats, look here:
            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-13040607

            In 2008, pedal bikes made up 1.8% of urban, non-motorway traffic but were involved in just 0.25% of pedestrian deaths and below 1% of serious pedestrian injuries

            During the same year, there were 13,272 recorded collisions between cars and bicycles, resulting in the deaths of 52 cyclists and no car drivers or passengers

            A study of collisions between cyclists and other vehicles from 2005-07 found police allocated blame to drivers in 60% of cases, to the cyclist in 30% and to both parties in the remainder

            Source: Department for Transport

          • Sue Smith

            Yes, I’ve seen this type of behaviour myself. Sometimes theses are shown on TV during nightly current affairs programs; a camera is set up at traffic lights in the eastern suburbs of Sydney and these show cyclists breaking the rules with impunity many times over. Even in the face of this glaring evidence the cycling fraternity will still become denialist and hostile. Don’t we all know they’ve got rights?? And, besides, it’s green and clean!!!

            Watch out if you’re over 60 and using a footpath; a tumble can cost you your life and nobody cares in the least. They’ll just ride off. And most of the time they’re coming behind you on the footpath at high speed and do not ring the bell. We walk daily and on the south coast of NSW it’s a live hazard daily walking on the wide footpath by the beach.

  • John Smith

    Strange all that ..
    I will continue to wear the appropriate clothes as I proceed up the Dales

    The only issue I have is so called ‘professional’ drivers proceeding far too close to me and my bike
    As per the Highway Code give cyclists a cars width

  • rbw152

    I must confess that I have an unreasonable sense of prejudice against the Lycra clad Wiggins wannabes pedaling around the country roads of Sussex where I live. I know it’s wrong but I can’t help it.

    It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, early, middle or late, there’s always at least a couple of fit men on expensive machines cycling along with their arses stuck up in the air amid an aura of pious goodness. You can almost see their thoughts as you come up behind them: ‘you’ll have to wait, I’m not pulling over for anyone’.

    It’s so tempting just to give them a little nudge as I drive by, then laugh maniacally as they lay in a ditch full of stinging nettles. Hah! Not so bloody cool now are you?

    Sorry, I know it’s wrong but if you’re one of these men (and they are always men), who likes to take a day off and pretend you’re in the Tour De Sussex just understand one thing: I never feel like this about someone cycling in ordinary clothes.

    • HJ777

      Why would they want to spend time trying to understand your unreasonable prejudices?

      I’m sure they have better and more interesting things to do.

      • greencoat

        Yes, like getting their arses up in the air. Hey, perhaps they’re Muslims?

        • Disqus Bolloqus

          Get out of my way. I’m in car don’t you know, and much more important than you!

          • Sue Smith

            Get out of my way on the pathways and in the parks, I’m a cyclist. Don’t you know I’m much more important than you – and entitled. And (sticks out tongue) I don’t have to pay registration like motorists.

          • HJ777

            Cars have to be registered and insured because they are dangerous.

            That’s why bikes don’t have to be and riders don’t have to be licensed – they’re not dangerous.

    • Sue Smith

      In Australia we call them MAMILs = Middle Aged Men in Lycra. I met one recently at a work reunion for my husband. He was super fit and trim and I admired his body and general state of health, contemplating my own rapidly expanding girth and general laziness. He said his wife was an Olympic competitor in something-or-other. Both had recently ridden their bikes absolutely hundreds of kilometers (as have my sister and brother-in-law; the length of France on a bike, in their 60’s). I do feel shame about my unfit state and I wonder if this is why people are so resentful of MAMILS, apart from their shocking lack of manners and sense of entitlement. Honestly, I think it becomes an addiction; what starts out as something about health and fitness – and getting away from cerebral activities – then consumes their every waking hour. Usually these kinds of people are quite driven and high achievers. My doctor rides a bike and he looks hideous, gaunt and years older than me – though the same age. So, I do wonder about it all.

      I hasten to add that I didn’t notice these kinds of physical features on the inhabits of bike-loving Amsterdam. All looked very healthy and I didn’t see a vestige of lycra.

    • Jon

      “It’s so tempting just to give them a little nudge as I drive by, then laugh maniacally as they lay in a ditch full of stinging nettles. Hah! Not so bloody cool now are you?”

      Yeah, bloody cyclists, breaking the rules.

      • Disqus Bolloqus

        Get out of my way. I’m in car don’t you know, and much more important than you

    • Disqus Bolloqus

      Get out of my way. I’m in car don’t you know, and much more important than you.

    • Tom Sykes

      Read the highway code.

  • AngstAnon

    “And without Lycra, of course, loutism will diminish.”
    Complete rubbish.
    I lived in San Francisco for years and the mobs of fixie riding hipsters were by far the most obnoxious cyclists in the city, responsible for nearly all the ill-will generated toward anyone on a bicycle. And guess what? Not a square centimeter of lycra to be found on any one of them.
    I suspect that your uncivilised louts were uncivilised louts long before they donned their first kit.

  • bobloblaw

    The English are uniquely amusing sometimes.

  • Disqus Bolloqus

    Another anti cyclist blog, along the lines of my dog has three legs, therefore all dogs have three legs

    • Jack Rocks

      Does your dog wear lycra?

      • Disqus Bolloqus

        I don’t have one, but if I did, it would, and ride a bike a too.

      • Disqus Bolloqus

        Sadly Jake only has three legs, and therefore doggie Lycra outfits do not fit. Instead he relies on tailor altered plus fours.

    • hedgemagnet

      Most of the papers have to shake their piggy banks occasionally and if they find they’re getting empty, they’ll tweak and churn out what amounts to the same old tedious and trite article about cyclists, simply for clicks n giggles.

  • MikePage

    I often think The Uniform is a barrier to more widespread takeup. Another capital city of Europe – Berlin – is festooned with cyclists of all ages and speeds and very little lycra. My only concession is a decent pair of cycling shorts as I get through a pair of regular ones in about 50 miles.

    • SonOfaGun

      Berliners are far too busy being liberal and sensitive to the world thinking of them as sport nazis to wear lycra.

    • Jack Rocks

      Germans wear lycra to nightclubs so I wouldn’t hold them up as an example.

      • Tom Sykes

        And the haircuts!!

  • Disqus Bolloqus

    Get out of my way. I’m in car don’t you know, and much more important than you.

    • Hugh

      That’s what you took from the article?

      • Disqus Bolloqus

        Yep

        • Hugh

          Even though he’s a cyclist?

    • Sue Smith

      Get out of my way on the footpath; I’m a cyclist and much more important than you.

      • Richard

        I am a human on the pavement, get out of my way you small and harmless insect or I shall crush you.

  • I_love_monday_mornings

    You talk about how obnoxious cyclists are out on the road but, even worse, I had to share a small office with one of these sweaty rubber-clad sexual deviants.

    • Disqus Bolloqus

      Yes, but what about cyclists?

  • Mr J

    The Brits are so weird about cycling, and it goes way back.

    In the 1970s I was shot by passing morons on a Sunday morning.

    In the 1980s I was turned away by plump landladies and grumpy publicans.

    Now the excuse for raised blood pressure seems to be wearing Lycra.

    • Sue Smith

      I would have thought the recent invasion of Europe trumped (cough) all these concerns!!

      • Mr J

        Invasion? Is this off-topic or have I missed something?!

  • Jack Rocks

    Thank you Henry. I’m glad I’m not the only one who detests lycra ***kers.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Nobody over 18 should ride a bike ,unless delivering pizza.

      • SunnyD

        you mean “drugs couriers”

  • Tom Sykes

    So what is the alternative for a long ride?
    Ride with effort for anything over 50 miles and any small crease in the clothes will start to chaff and rub. Loose clothes flap like a journalist who lost his expenses vouchers. Bright colours are safer.
    I agree that wearing team kit is naff if you are not in the team; but the same holds for any sport

    • Father Todd Unctious

      My Uncle happy to wear tweeds and plus fours as he piloted his penny farthing down the deep lanes of Devon.

      • Disqus Bolloqus

        My uncle was happy to use a horse and carriage. Can’t be doing with the modern motorised version.

      • Tamerlane

        Shame you never visited him you might have learned something about country life.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          I lived three doors away from him for 20 years. I am Devon bread and buttered my ‘ansome.

          • Tamerlane

            Only online.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            It is an odd response on something so inane. It proves what an ugly personality you are and how desperate you are to make any headway against my pertinent and well informed posts, that you are happy to simp!y gainsay everything I post.
            I most definitely Italy cone from Devon. But you choose to claim I make it up. How totally wierd.

          • Tamerlane

            You do make it up.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            …..and you have nothing of value to say. Try an insult you tongue tied idiot.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Liar.

          • Tamerlane

            See what I mean?

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Sorry. Do you even claim to know better than me who my family members are and where I lived? What a twit.

    • Jack Rocks

      Get a stationary bicycle. Cycle away to your heart’s content without being an irritation, annoyance and hazard to other road users.

      • Disqus Bolloqus

        Jack, try a stationary car

      • Tom Sykes

        Get back under your bridge.

      • HJ777

        Get a stationary car – you know, the sort of ones that young children ride in outside supermarkets, Or a driving video game. Then drive away to you hearts content without endangering other road users or congesting the roads or causing air pollution.

        • Jack Rocks

          Don’t be silly.

  • Father Todd Unctious

    Where I live they have built a six mile cycleway parallel to the busy road, but the cyclists still insist on taking to the road and making the traffic creep along at 15 mph behind them.

    • harry smith

      Is it shared use? As you know, these lanes are more dangerous for cyclists than the road, per mile.

      • Father Todd Unctious

        No. Cycles only. It is a cycleway.

  • CharleyFarleyFive

    Utter twats, the lot of ’em.

  • Tamerlane

    All the gear, no…

  • Adam Bromley

    Odd that articles like this keep repeating the same myths. First off, a lot cyclists In London don’t wear lycra and there’s a lot people using Boris bikes in their own clothes. Secondly the comparison with cycling in other European cities such as Amsterdam or Copenhagen is absurd. London’s population is 7 x greater than both cities combined, it is a huge sprawling metropolis. Unless you live in central London (I suspect the author doesn’t live that far out), then if you cycle it can easily be 30 to 40 mins plus each way. That’s why people wear lyrca and have performance bikes – distance. You try cycling from Zone 4 to the centre of town on a Dawes, it will take you half the morning. Honestly just do some research, before typing such twaddle.

    • Jack Rocks

      Use the tube.

      • Disqus Bolloqus

        Wearing Lycra on the tube would just be silly.

      • Adam Bromley

        Why? Free country, if I want to cycle somewhere what’s it got to do with you.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      The metropolitan population of London is 8.5 million. That of Copenhagen is 1.3 million and Amsterdam 1.6 million, so not seven, but three times larger.
      Average cycle speed in London is under 10 mph. So they ride maybe 5 or 6 miles in their ridiculous get up.

      • Adam Bromley

        The three sources I checked all list Amsterdam’s population as 750,000 and Copenhagen’s 550,000. But definitions of city size can be moot. What exactly is the point of your pedantry? Whatever definition of the greater urban areas you use, London is much larger than either city which means commuters travel further to work by any means transport. But as you’re playing the pedant, can you cite source for your claim of average cycle speeds and commuting distance – the ones I’ve found suggest an average cycling speed of more like 12mph and there’s an survey suggesting the average commute on a bike is 9mph (so 45 mins journey which is pretty much the London commuter average). But never let the facts get in the way of a post eh?

        • SunnyD

          you won’t get a response from him, he’s a wind-up merchant

          • Adam Bromley

            Yes, I figured.

    • HJ777

      Apparently, the Dutch (despite the diminutive size of their country) have the longest average commutes in Europe.

      Yet many more people cycle. Many cycle to the railway station of course.

  • Badger

    All I want to know is why so many cyclists in Dorking, and are they all training for the Tour de France?

    • hedgemagnet

      Primarily because of nearby Hills (Box and Leith), Coombe Lane and Ranmore Common. The Surrey Hills are picturesque and Zig Zag Road from Westhumble station up to the top is the longest uphill drag that side of London, and is the nearest most MCMILs (middle class men/women in Lycra is now a more apt acronym) will get to the Alpine climb that they’re likely to encounter on the continental sportive (a sort of mass participation fun ride like the London Marathon, or a pretend race depending on how cynical you are) that they’re training for. Some of these will also be South London or Surrey club riders training for proper races although probably not the Tour.

      Eee ‘eck. i remember when Box Hill was the go to hangout for motorbikers!

      • Badger

        Thanks for that informative reply, not being a cyclist I had no idea.
        My friends and I used to drive up there regularly in the 90’s.

        • hedgemagnet

          When I was a fit, but admittedly cr*p racer and proto MAMIL wannabe type myself, I’d ride down there from Lewisham and do a couple of loops before riding back. It does seem (overly?) jam-packed with cyclists these days, and now I’m just as happy to jump on the train, do the 14km Box Hill loop on foot while listening to a few podcasts on the headphones, before a beer or two and the train back! It’s a very pleasant part of the world.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Box hill is near Dorking. Cyclists love Box hill. I prefer the Arkle pub in Betchworth.

      • Disqus Bolloqus

        You cycle in the pub?

        • Father Todd Unctious

          No. I prefer said alehouse to the popular hill. I would never forgive myself if I cycled anywhere. I am not a child.

          • SunnyD

            I bet a lot would pay to see you do it though, eh Father? ;^)

  • kamoteQ

    I live in a mountain area. Try going up 10 or even 24 kms of mountain roads and you’ll see why lycra is preferable to ordinary attire. Breathing is restricted on casual clothes. Lycra makes you breathe easier. Sweat dries up easier too on lycra. For around town riding, I have no problem using casual clothing.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Thats as maybe. But these people put tbe lycra on for a 4 mile jaunt to the shops.

    • Jack Rocks

      Why are you cycling up a 10km mountain road? Get a car.

      • Disqus Bolloqus

        If only Edmund Hillary had demonstrated that attitude when ascending Everest

        • Jack Rocks

          But what was the point?

          • Disqus Bolloqus

            What’s the point of anything? You live, then you die. What’s the point?

          • Jack Rocks

            Precisely.

    • grimm

      The hordes of lycra clad wannabe sporting heroes cycling to work every day are not making their way up 24km of mountain roads. They have the same mentality as blokes who ponce around in sports gear after their stint at the gymn rather than changing back into “civvies”.

      • Sue Smith

        Everyone is free to follow their own particular fashions, no matter how peculiar they seem to us. What IS the issue for me is the selfishness and entitlement of cyclists, many of whom use FOOTpaths without the slightest care or consideration for the predominant users of those FOOTpaths; fitness pedestrians, prams, skateboards, scooters, children and the elderly. “Look out”! they yell as they ride by. “Look out” is their solid, unyielding mantra. I couldn’t care less how ridiculous they look because this is always trumped by their selfishness.

        If only they used the roads, and the cycleways specifically so designed, as well as contributed to their costs just as other road-users are forced to do. It will come, of course, just as soon as government realizes how much of an ‘earner’ is in it for them. Meantime, somebody needs to keep account of the injuries to pedestrians.

        • grimm

          It isn’t an issue of whether or not lycra clad cyclists look peculiar and might deserve ridicule. I think the dress code is a symptom of their arrogance. They need to signal to others that they are not mere boring old bods cycling to work – the are determined, driving, fit and aggressive heroes – men to be reckoned with. Cycling to work is to be seen, not as a commute, but as a sporting achievement.

          I am fed up with seeing cyclists ignoring traffic lights to plow through pedestrians crossing the road. Many cyclists (not just men by the way) have decided that traffic lights are only applicable to motor vehicles and that they have the right to ignore them.

          • Sue Smith

            As I said, this may change WHEN they have to pay to use the thoroughfares. My sister’s biking group in Sydney – which can ride up to 100km in one day – contains aggressive individuals of both sexes. On one such ride, about 30km out of Sydney, her bike chain broke and she was left behind; the peleton rode ahead completely oblivious and uncaring about her situation. A passing motorist helped her fix the chain. She returned home afterwards.

            The lycra set are often mostly inner urban professionals – including doctors and lawyers – who take great pride in their physical fitness. There’s nothing at all wrong with that – indeed if more people did this we’d have less of a health burden. It’s the sheer arrogance and entitlement and ignorance of the needs and safety of others which many (but not ALL) riders demonstrate which is the issue here. I personally would love to look as fit as many riders do, and be able to ride those distances. But it isn’t my thing; I prefer walking for fitness and reading, listening to classical music, lecturing on music and watching good films for my INTELLECTUAL fitness.

            People find my obsession with politics and classical music annoying and I can clear rooms in an instant!! That’s a skill too!!!!!

          • HJ777

            I find your anti-cyclist agenda annoying.

            I can believe that you clear rooms in an instant, merely by your presence. Who would want to risk you engaging them in conversation?

        • Disqus Bolloqus

          None of the groups you mention contribute to road use as a consequence of their membership of those groups. However the majority of cyclists will do so as individuals, as most will own a car.

          I do agree with your comments on selfishness. However it is not an attribute confined to cyclists. There are many selfish people. Some are cyclists, some pedestrians, some motorists. Many are all three.

          • Sue Smith

            Selfish pedestrians don’t maim, cyclists and motorists do. I say let pedestrians feel safe on walkways.

          • Flintshire Ian

            Shared spaces are safe if people show some common courtesy and remain alert to their surroundings. That means don’t complain if you are wearing ear buds and can’t hear a cyclist coming. My bikes are all fitted with bells. I use them to warn people of my approach not to tell them to get out of the way. Quite a difficult message for anyone destroying their hearing with earphones.

          • Sue Smith

            Footpaths used to be safe places where vigilance wasn’t required; you could relax, talk and just walk slowly. Now cyclists like you are demanding that we “remain alert”. The absolute arrogance!! You demonstrate the extent of the problem with your comments. Repeat after me, “FOOTpaths”.

          • Flintshire Ian

            Shared spaces are just that. Constructed or renovated for cyclists, dog walkers and potential Darwin Award winners with buds on. Awareness of other users and simple courtesy will help everyone to enjoy their time outdoors.

          • Sue Smith

            No, YOU’VE renamed them “shared spaces” because it suits YOU. The rest of us Call them FOOTpaths, including the toddlers and elderly who use them. Get off footpaths with your bikes! In my local area by the sea I’m campaigning heavily for just that – to get selfish bikers who can injure others (much more serious for the elderly) back onto the ROADS where they belong.

          • Flintshire Ian

            I don’t ride on footpaths. I do ride safely and considerately where it is legal to do so on paths developed for multiple users by local authorities, Sustran, and the National Trust, such as the Chester Greenway and the north Wales coastal path and Lon Las Cefni and around Newborough

          • Sue Smith

            I don’t know anything at all about UK ‘shared spaces’ but I have plenty of experiences of being filled with apprehension and dread about European footpaths. It’s just dreadful. One fall and my husband and myself are not likely to survive as we’re both over 60. People just don’t care about others and at home here, by the sea, every day we have rapid bikers weaving in and out between ourselves, toddlers, mothers with prams, dogs on leashes, other people over 60, kids on those collapsible scooters, fitness walkers etc. You have to stick to the absolute left hand collar of the footpath as cyclists almost NEVER ring their bells. It’s just “watch out”!! My husband has observed, “imagine if you’d strayed just a foot to the right with that biker – you’d have been knocked over”.

            I’m afraid it’s a reflection of the world today; no manners whatsoever and a culture of industrial-strength entitlement.

          • Bristol_Dan

            As a wheelchair user, I can assure you that the endemic illegal parking obstructing pavements, dropped kerbs and blocking access.

            I have yet to make a several hundred yard detour becaus of an illegal cyclist, but it is a daily occurrence because of vehicles.

            Then there is the problem of the elderly and visually challenged who have to navigate, not only these vehicles, but the damaged footways, kerbs and grass areas thcaused by these individuals

            I find the hypocritical and pathetic bleating about cyclists on pavements, whilst accepting the far greater illegal, inconsiderate and arrogant abuse of the pavements by vehicles gets ignored

          • Sue Smith

            I absolutely take your point!! Well said. But do those parked vehicles actually provide a moving physical threat to other walkers and users of footpaths? Are they the wheeled equivalent of ballistics when parked? And I don’t speak about “illegal” cyclists – merely those who use footpaths and see it as their right. These are the same footpaths – paved pathways – used by wheelchairs, toddlers, walkers, fitness walkers, kids on scooters, dogs on leads and the elderly.

            We live in a world of TOTAL selfishness, yes, but also the ability to maim.

          • Bristol_Dan

            How do you think they get on the pavements?

            Do you really think that a car driving on a pavement is les of a physical threat than a bicycle?

            Then we have the issue for a wheelchair user that a bicycle on the pavement is transitory, the obstruction by a parked vehicle is for anything up to 72v hours… Let’s have some perspective and reality

            Having been told to “Remove myself” from a pavement by a driver parking on it, but never by a cyclist I know which I find more arrogant

            I have a problem with ANY misuse of the pavements, and an even bigger problem with those who seem blind through choice to the irrefutable fact that cars are by far the greater problem for foot path users than cyclists

            But then again, as I was told by one Local Councillor… Drivers on pavements “have” to park illegally on pavements whereas cyclist use them by choice!

          • Sue Smith

            Nobody ever said cars were ‘safe’. That’s why we have footpaths – so that people can walk in safety – which are now hogged by bike riders. No amount of casuistry can avoid that fact.

        • HJ777

          Everyone is forced to pay for road, including non-road users.

          Funny that you don’t mention that cars kill and injure far more people on pavements and pedestrian crossings in proportion to their number than cyclists, or that one of main obstacles facing pedestrians is parked cars on the pavement.

          And where are all these specifically designed cycleways? I’ve been cycling for years and have hardly ever seen one. A few white lines painted on roads or footpaths just about sums it up.

          • Sue Smith

            Moral Relativism 101.

          • HJ777

            Your sentences might make some sense if you were to include a verb.

            Did your English teacher never tell you this?

          • Sue Smith

            You are obviously unwell and there are plenty like you prowling the internet; it’s especially obvious when somebody has touched a nerve and you’re on the defensive. And this would be much of the time with troubled individuals!

          • HJ777

            I’m perfectly well and am enjoying exposing you as the fool you so obviously are.

            I will have to take your word about ‘troubled individuals’ as you clearly have personal experience, unlike me.

  • hedgemagnet

    As has been pointed out many times below, polyester based clothing is pretty essential as it wicks the unavoidable sweat that you’re going to produce however slowly you (or at least I) go. That said, donning the full, stretchy expensive race kit and being an unpaid mobile billboard for some-or-other large-cap European telecoms company on the morning commute is probably overdoing it (and frankly strikes me as a little sad).

    • grimm

      As any realistic cyclist will tell you (as opposed to the lycra clad twerps) the real sweating begins once you get off the bike. While cycling you generate a lot of energy which is used up in propelling the bike. When you stop (unless you are able or willing to slow down very, very gradually) not all of that energy will have been used up. Consequently, your body will have a lot of energy (transformed into heat) which will need to be dissipated. Hence the cooling sweat.

      • SunnyD

        spot on – and thank you for explaining the phenomenon…. I always wondered why I sweated so after my 6 mile ride into work (following a steep hill climb and descent)

  • Jacobi

    Cycling of any sort is bad for the soul. A pathetic attempt to squeeze an extra 3/4 months out of life at best. What’s wrong with walking or better still, going by car.
    And by the way when are you bikie lot that keep cluttering up the roads for us tax-payers going to start paying road tax?

    • Disqus Bolloqus

      Motoring is boring, walking is slow

      • Jacobi

        only because non-tax paying cyclists slow you down

        • Disqus Bolloqus

          Most cyclist are also motorists

          • Jacobi

            I’m being slightly tongue-in- cheek. Of course there is a place for cycling. Enjoy you extra (statistical) 2/3 month of life, but be careful of the extra (statistical) 2 years of arthritus .
            OUT!

        • HJ777

          I think you’ll find that what slows you down is congestion caused by cars and lorries.

          • Jacobi

            In town it’s cyclists. Cars have to constantly slow down for them and hence slow other cars, I can assure you. And in any case if we drivers want to clutter up roads that we pay for, that is our business.

            On the dual carriageways and motorways, no cyclists, no problem.

          • Heidelberg

            In town, you should not be driving fast anyway

          • Jacobi

            I do not drive fast in town. Maximum 30 mph, the permitted speed for us road tax payers, when no cyclists around. Well below that when non road tax paying cyclists clutter up the roads and hold up me and other road tax paying motorists!

          • Ambientereal

            Of course you should nod ride a bike, you will contaminate thge air more than by driving your car. Because of the puffing ….

          • HJ777

            A laughable assertion. Have you never been in a traffic jam on a dual carriageway or motorway? My local town centre is frequently gridlocked by cars – hardly a cyclist in sight.

            Drivers do not pay for roads any more than anyone else. They are commonly owned and paid for out of general taxation. If you want priority, then perhaps the government should look at the asset value of roads and charge an effective rent on that asset value to ‘priority’ users. I can assure you that you’d be paying an awful lot more than you imagine.

          • Jacobi

            You are easily amused .
            Drivers do pay for roads through road tax
            If I’m in gridlock on a motorway then it is other road tax payers who are
            involved and that is our business
            Delighted to hear that in your town there are hardly any cyclists around. Sadly, not the case here!

          • HJ777

            There is no road tax. It was abolished in 1937.

            There is only an emissions tax (VED). Unfortunately, some car manufacturers fiddle their emissions data. Many cars are exempt.

            I invite you to estimate the asset value of the roads and divide it between the number of drivers or assign it per mile driven. Then work out a rent of perhaps 5% of the asset value, plus a bit for maintenance. How much do you think the ‘rent’ would be? If you’re having difficulty, then I suggest that you use French motorway charges as a guide as the private companies that run these have to charge to get a return on the asset value.

            If you want to pay for roads on this basis proportional to your use, then I’m all for it. I suspect you wouldn’t like it though.

          • Bristol_Dan

            Lets accept the hypothesises that because you pay more than the cyclist that you hence have more rights to the road.

            Then we lok at two drivers, one drive a bigger car than the other with greater emissions…. so pays MORE tax than the other

            As with the cyclist, vehicle argument they have paid MORE tax.

            Do they therefore have more rights than the smaller vehicle when on the road?

            Should the smaller vehicle get out of the way of the larger one way when they want to get past the smaller one?

          • Bristol_Dan

            Really?

            Have you ever travelled on a motorway?
            Have you ever been on the M25?

            I always love how these fantasy roads free of any traffic hassles and flowing perfectly all the time.

            At least the lack of any link with reality gives a basis to judge the bias and the level of desperation they will go to

          • BK

            Nonsense. It’s cars that slow down other cars. End of story. And roads are paid from income tax and council tax.

    • Ambientereal

      And you contaminating my air. Look, I love cycling in Lycra because it makes me look thinner and so I get a lot of more feminine admiration and friendship and … you know. You should try it sometime.

  • Andy P

    I live in Yorkshire and love cycling with the wife. We potter about and stop for tea and cakes and perhaps a pint in a country pub and sniff around curio shops in small villages. We are always astonished by how few cyclists don’t just cycle in a leisurely manner but instead whizz around in lycra plastered with advertising logos on multi thousand pound racing bikes.
    Since the Tour de France Grand Depart (and the subsequent Tour de Yorkshire races), the number of cyclists has risen dramatically – but they are noticeably far more arrogant than ever cycling in pairs or even threes across the roads chatting as I fume in the car behind them at 10 – 15mph. Such a shame.

    • Jacobi

      And they don’t pay road tax!

      • Disqus Bolloqus

        They do if they own cars which the overwhelming majority do

        • Adam Bromley

          Yup, amazing the ‘road tax’ myth keeps popping up. But let’s say you are a cyclist, without a car, there’s no logical basis for taxing them. Vehicle duty is a means of dealing with externalities such as pollution, damage to the road surface, speeding (and the cost of enforcement) and congestion. Cyclists generate virtually zero externalities compared to motor vehicles. And you could argue any road journey replaced by a cycle journey is a net positive. There’s no more logic to taxing cyclists than taxing a pedestrian for using the pavement. Plus of course, pretty much everyone pays rates, income tax and VAT, so there really aren’t any freeloaders in this scenario.

          • Flintshire Ian

            Vehicle Excise Duty is just another form of opportunity for government theft of other people’s money with a few softeners thrown in to limit the electoral damage.
            It would be less annoying if all of the money was spent on roads. The view from a road bike is actually quite illuminating – of the dire road surface that you don’t actually always notice from inside of a car.

      • HJ777

        There is no such tax, so how could they pay it?

        There is an emissions tax called VED, but many cars as well as cyclists are exempt because of low emissions.

      • Heidelberg

        Cars weigh tonnes, bicycles weigh a stone or two, it should be obvious why cars pay more of the share of road maintenance.

        • Jacobi

          Then cyclists should pay an appropriate but proper amount of road tax . Also an extra penalty for cluttering up roads by slowing down traffic.

          • Heidelberg

            They don’t damage roads, though. If only cyclists used roads it would be three thousands years from now and it’d still be usable. Heck, cyclists barely even need real paved roads.

          • Jacobi

            They do damage roads though to a lesser degree than cars.
            You ignore the little matter of natural justice that is it is the motorists who pay for the roads
            And why are you worried about things three thousand years from now. Planning still to be around?

          • HJ777

            The damage that vehicles do to roads is roughly proportional to the cube of the axle weight.

            Any damage that bikes do is infinitesimal compared to that of cars and lorries.

          • Jacobi

            Damage due to the cube of the axle weight is not infinitesimal. If you wish to be mathematical?, then be also logical

          • HJ777

            It is immeasurably small.

            If you want to compare mathematical prowess, go right ahead. I think you might come off worst.

          • Jacobi

            It is not immeasurably small;.
            Now we are repeating ourselves and I have otyher moire important things to worry about so last word to you and,
            OUT!

          • HJ777

            It is rather obviously immeasurably small.

          • Ambientereal

            Hey, you really had a hard time with that Jacobi. Don´t pay any attention to such a person. He has no knowledge of anything.

          • Heidelberg

            Man, you really don’t like this logic thing.

          • Jacobi

            I wonder about people like you. My position is exactly the opposite of what you allege. I base all my thinking on reason and logic .
            Now I don’t know about you Lassie, but I am fairly sure I wont be here in three thousand years time.

            OUT!.

          • Heidelberg

            No, your position makes no sense. It doesn’t make any sense to create a disincentive to cycle (which is what a tax is) when more bikes and less cars makes road maintenance cheaper over time

          • HJ777

            There is no road tax, only an emissions-based tax.

          • Jacobi

            Call it what you will. It is a tax on motorist, that is if you live in UK?

          • HJ777

            You do realise that VED is a levy on emissions and many low emission cars are exempt?

          • Jacobi

            Many. How many. Facts please?
            In any case we motorists will carry on paying a road tax, call it what you will while cyclists get away Scott-free.
            And all this stuff about low environmental impact is a load of crap. There is no such thing . You simple transfer the problem elsewhere.

          • HJ777

            Nearly a third of new cars have emissions low enough to pay no VED in their first year of ownership. A few hundred thousand (and growing all the time) don’t pay any VED ever.

            You may not like “all this stuff about low environmental impact” but that is irrelevant. I am simply telling you the basis of taxation.

            As the roads are commonly owned (whether you use them or not) then in order to justify your claim that motorists pay for the roads, charges on motorists would have to cover both maintenance and a rental on the asset value. Where is your evidence that this is the case?

            Incidentally, the vast majority of cyclists are also drivers, so by using their cars less and cycling instead they are indirectly helping to subsidise those who always drive, as cyclist use up far less road space and cause far less damage to roads. I am all in favour of charging road users proportionately in order to lower taxes for everyone else. I don’t suppose that you are though.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Hyundai i10 pays £30 a year. Mazda RX8 was effectively banned with a £500 tax disc.

          • chazza

            I think you will find that the vast majority of cyclists also own cars, on which they pay Vehicle Excise Duty…

      • chazza

        There is no such thing as road tax. Vehicle Excise Duty is what cars pay.

  • Disqus Bolloqus

    I am a motorist. I am a cyclist. I am a pedestrian. At all times I try to behave courteously towards other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. It is a shame that there are a few selfish motorists, cyclists and pedestrians that think only of themselves and do not consider others.

  • Adam Bromley

    I can never understand what is about cyclists incites such rage in car drivers. Today, a driver turned left without indicating, whilst looking at his mobile phone. Nearly knocked my wife of her bike. I challenged him, saying it was dangerous driving. He laughed, I said it wasn’t acceptable. He got out the car, threatened to attack me and grabbed me by the throat. Memorised his license plate, reported it to the police, they will be taking a statement. I just don’t understand where the aggression comes from. It was a nice sunny day, plenty of space of the road for everyone, no need for aggro.

  • Albert Wonders

    I am very careful when cyclists appear , because they are thick ; also their lycra outfits appear more than a little bent .

    • HJ777

      Your comment clearly demonstrates who is thick.

  • 60yearsaBlue

    The quality of this comments section makes me worry for the intelligence of Specfator readers and I never thought I’d ever say that. Maybe Henry Jeffries little wind up has achieved what it set out to.

    • big

      ….’Cycling in Lycra is bad for the soul’…..how about this……but its excellent for proprioception….does that sound more intelligent?

  • JohnJ

    The whole bicycle policy has resulted in the opposite of what it supposed to do. The idea was to get cars off the road and people in healthy pursuits ( at least that is what was pushed by the politicians and lefties – oh and throw in a few green and climate feel good blahs). The result is the same number of cars and cyclists riding on footpaths and though parks. At full speed as well. AND the worst part they are imbued with a moral superiority. So it solved nothing, created another cohort of obnoxious people and made footpaths too dangerous to stroll along. As for parks – forget it. Bring back walking.

    • Ambientereal

      How could someone ride his bike and drive his car at the same time?

      • JohnJ

        Cars fill up the space. When a person decides to go by bike, that space is quickly filled by another car driver. In our street there are families with three cars. The eco young exec rides to work on his bicycle. The wife drives the monster UV. The more room on the road the more cars come out to fill it. Simple – ask any traffic engineer. If the eager eco execs want to stop cars, then charge them proper rental space for parking, The proportion of rent in the area to the area the car takes up and the space needed to get them there.

        • Ambientereal

          OK I see, people count cars and when there is one less, then someone takes the car to the street.

          • JohnJ

            Fool. Ask a traffic engineer and don’t waste space until you think.
            No doubt you are of the eco cycle types that clears footpaths of children and the old in the demonic certainty of your green superiority. Get off your bike and walk. It will give you time to think.

          • Ambientereal

            And you are certainly of the well educated type.

  • Ambientereal

    I don´t know what is offensive here. I believe Mr. Henry Jeffreys shouldn´t drive his bike any more but walk in a park with his suit, hat, walking stick and monocle. Why should anyone care about his dislike for cycling clothes? Is he perhaps discriminating the cycling sport? Does he knows that the shorts for cycling have seat protection? Amazing, incredible but most of anything detestable.

  • Bristol_Dan

    Another hack reads the excellent “Lazy journalist’s guide to writing a cycling article” and then tucks all the boxes

  • Bristol_Dan

    Anyone ever noted the demographics of the MAMIL?

    They are all middle aged men who are the ones who drive Audis and BMWs

    They are simply riding their bikes in the same way they drive

    Somehow the behaviour that is accepted when driving becomes unacceptable when on their bikes

  • Bristol_Dan

    One of the arguments in the abolition of “Road Tax” was by Winston Churchill.

    He stated that ““It will be only a step from this for [motorists] to claim in a few
    years the moral ownership of the roads their contributions have
    created.””

    There is also the quote of Lieut-Col JTC Moore-Brabazon MP, commenting on the 1934 traffic act (which introduced speed limits), said:

    “It is true that 7000 people are killed in motor accidents, but it is
    not always going on like that. People are getting used to the new
    conditions… No doubt many of the old Members of the House will recollect
    the number of chickens we killed in the old days. We used to come back
    with the radiator stuffed with feathers. It was the same with dogs. Dogs
    get out of the way of motor cars nowadays and you never kill one. There
    is education even in the lower animals. These things will right
    themselves.”

    90 years later and one must really ask why there are still motorists who believe they own the roads and that everyone else should be out of their way

Close