Wheelie Stupid Cyclists

I cannot ride a bicycle.
But this isn’t my fault. My dad never bought me a bike. An elder sister had one but I’d have needed a fireman’s ladder to mount the ridiculously high saddle to ride it.
So, I never enjoyed those common childhood memories of precariously balancing on a bike, then frantically peddling away from my dad as he lets go of the saddle with the beaming proud smiles of success on our faces.
Bike riding has to be learnt in childhood because now, at 6ft tall, I’d be too embarrassed to ride around with giant stabilisers to prevent me from falling off and, inevitably, getting hurt.
But cycling has changed. Years ago, every bike had a bell to warn people to get out of the way.
Somehow, as bikes have got quieter, faster and more dangerous, bells have strangely disappeared and often, the first you know of its existence, is when one whizzes past, inches from your face, at lightning speed.
I often think that if I simultaneously extend my elbow out to scratch my head, both cyclist and I would up in a sorry crumpled heap on the ground.
No one ever seems to shout, “excuse me” or “get out of the way.” Instead, they love to test their pedestrian avoidance skills as if they’re playing a daring computer game.
Fast forward and it comes as little surprise that we now have gangs of cycling teenagers – reminiscent of scenes from E.T. – stupidly riding through busy high streets, dangerously pulling wheelies in an attempt to show off to their friends.
Cycling in towns is dangerous enough as it is. To exacerbate that danger by doing stunts is utter madness.
So, I’m glad I never learnt to ride a bike because the thought of being killed by an inattentive person opening a car door, some random pedestrian picking wax from their ear at the wrong moment or being hit on the head by a teenager pulling wheelies would be too embarrassing.
Thanks dad.


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