Cyclists are a bunch of slow moving, get in the way, two-abreast time wasters.
I got stuck behind a fixed- gear douche puffing his fat arse way up an inner-city hill the other day. He was wearing a big yellow "one less car" backpack cover. Mocking me to my face.
"Listen, buddy," I thought. "Don't pretend you're saving the planet with that gut, you're clearly consuming more than your fair share."
That guy and his judgmental backpack cover don't know why I need a car. Maybe I'm taking takahe eggs to a wildlife sanctuary, maybe I've been shot saving Sirocco the kakapo from terrorists and need to get to the hospital. You don't gain the moral high ground simply because you're propelling yourself slowly up a hill. As it turned out, I was going to the pub via KFC, but the backpack cover didn't know that.
As you can see, I hate cyclists.
The only time I like cyclists is every morning as I ride my cycle to work. When I am a cyclist, I totally understand all the annoying things we cyclists do.
You're vulnerable out there on a push bike. Cars, trucks and buses are smoky, smelly, arrogant, unyielding death machines with horns. I ride as far as I can to the left but that sets me up for painful parked-car-door openings. Move to the right to avoid one and you get a car beeping up your arse. It's a minefield.
I hate bikers when I'm driving and drivers when I'm biking. I'm Luke Skywalker working for the Jedi in the mornings and the Empire in the afternoon. It gives me perspective.
So let me take you into the world of the cyclists.
Why does a driver become a biker? Some can't afford cars, some don't have parks, some think they're saving the planet. For me it's a selfish health issue. Like a lot of Kiwi males I'm getting fatter every day. Eating and drinking less isn't an option as I love eating and drinking. In fact, I would like to eat and drink much more than I do. So I bike. It keeps me fit, controls the weight and gets me to work all in one. Win, win, win.
The downside is the cars, buses and trucks that try to murder me every morning and the pissing rain. This is where humiliating reflective waterproof gear comes into play.
This morning, I saw a total dick dressed in a bright green anorak, waterproof pants, "one less car" backpack cover and stack hat. It was me in the mirror. Years thinking you're cool and then suddenly you're a microporous embarrassment to your children.
Once you're all zipped up, brain bucketed and reflecting it's time to get out there and annoy some drivers. We do this by running red lights, crossing with pedestrians and filling gaps in traffic that cars could otherwise pull into. Does that make us evil? Maybe. Maybe not.
Cyclists nip through quiet reds not out of impatience. It's about making things easier for the cars behind us. Getting a head start so we don't slow you cars down on the green. Same with zooming out with pedestrians at a diagonal crossing. It's all about getting out of the way of the cars. That's all most cyclists want to do. Avoid cars for your convenience and our self-preservation. We're the slower, smaller ones on the road and as such owe it to drivers to travel as fast and as far left as possible. Minimising blocking and gap filling where we can.
Drivers for their part could take a look before they swing their door open and smash us into buses. Cyclists, in return, lose your judgmental backpack covers and never ever, no matter what, ride two abreast. These have to be the basic tenants of any peace agreement.
As a double agent of the biking and driving worlds, I see clearly how annoying both sides can be.
However, if we take the time to understand each other I believe we can bring balance to the roads. In the end, there's no good and evil out there. Just a city full of annoying people who have to get their fat arses to work.