A war is raging on the pavements of London.
Well, maybe not quite a war but at least to me it seems like there is a constant power struggle between walkers, runners, dog walkers, pram pushers and even the occasional arrogant cyclist trying their luck.
If you have read this blog before then you know that I am… “assertive”.. when I run. Ah, what the heck – I can be outright aggressive and definitely feel entitled. I know I behave like a bit of a mentalist and I blame the intoxicating cocktail of hormones that get pumped into my system when I exercise. I will huff and puff at groups of people blocking the way and am known to shout at dog owners who let their beloved pooch get in the way or, worse, chase me. But the one thing that has recently been making my blood boil is cyclists on the pavement. It all goes back to this section of the Highway Code:
(More about it here – you should also take care to keep your ass off the pavement… )
I can’t help but turn into the Hulk whenever I come across a bike on the pavement. And I am usually not afraid to make my opinion clear. I say “usually” as sometimes you just know you would end up getting punched if you gave a particular person hell. Usually I point to the road and say something like “Bikes go on the road, not on the pavement” (remember I am running – this comes out in the most economical, out of breath, way). Sometimes people give me a wave or even move onto the road. But usually, and most often it is by the women, I subject myself to a torrent of abuse. I have to admit I just keep on running as these idiots aren’t generally worth me stopping my run but it is most often words like “bitch” that seep through my headphones. Now, I don’t know how a respectable looking woman wearing fluorescent vest and a cycle helmet finds it ok to respond to a perfectly polite comment with such utter rage, you can almost sense the red mist descending. I am half expecting that one of these days one of these lunatics will come after me. All because I point out they are doing something illegal (and annoying).
Yesterday I was running to the gym on the pavement by the canal in Little Venice and there is a stretch where the tow path stops allowing cyclists so they all move onto the pavement (and not onto the road – it’s a one way street going the wrong way after all (!).. I should say the road is very quiet and barely gets any traffic. Between the pavement and the road maybe they should just get off their bikes and walk them.). One of these gits had the nerve to ring his bell (RING HIS BELL!) as he was cycling from behind me. I said “You can ring all you want, this is a pavement not a bike path”. As he went past me he asked me to repeat what I said and I did. My reward was the sight of his gloved middle finger. I wish I had been grown up about it and said something clever but I am afraid the best I could muster was “Well f*** you too!”. That about sums it up anyway. ..