Magazine article The Spectator

Standing Room

Magazine article The Spectator

Standing Room

Article excerpt

I am not one of those who believe that God made the highways solely in order for motorists to inherit the earth. But any milk of human kindness flowing through my veins curdles when I am driving on the Embankment during the early morning rush hour. I have to make the big sacrifice of not listening to Nick Ferrari's breakfast show, since it requires total concentration and nerves of steel to avoid the hordes of cyclists coming at me from all angles.

Top-gear city cyclists are a law unto themselves. They're a hardcore bunch - the very antithesis of a benevolent Boris or those daffy Mrs Tiggy-Winkle handwoven folk who choose to cycle only when the sun is shining and they've bought something pretty to put in their baskets.

City types are not bumbling about on their bikes merely for fun. They're going hell for leather and, like most people on the road, possess a deeply competitive streak.

Obviously they have every right to cycle to work, just as we motorists (still) have the right to drive, yet road-sharing on this particular stretch is rife with danger. I know many of we car-owners are guilty of driving with the poop-poop arrogance of a Mr Toad, but two-wheeled tyrants can be every bit as bad. I've witnessed some of these louche Lords of the Lycra behaving like schizophrenic eco-warriors. One minute they're compliant, staying faithful to the Highway Code; the next they're acting as though they have the personal protection of an armour-plated Hummer.

They are inconsistent, which is worryingly confusing. …

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