I am a victim of road rage. Me, a humble, law-abiding – most of the time – London cyclist.
I had weaved to the front of a queue of traffic heading north to Euston, before stopping at traffic lights, where I paused, waiting for the lights to turn green.
‘Lycra ponce,’ a voice said.
I turned round to see a man on a moped. ‘Lycra ponce,’ he repeated, adding a tone of vengeance to his voice.
It was hard not to laugh at such a derisory comment. In hindsight, I should have pointed out that I wasn’t actually wearing Lycra. Nor am I ponce. And had I been Lycra-clad, the wearing of such attire would not automatically qualify me as a ponce. Or vice-versa.
I suppose ‘Lycra heterosexual’ doesn’t have the same impact; it doesn’t even qualify as an insult.
He didn’t like me laughing at him. So he embarked on a barrage of abuse, erupting like a volcano after years – it seemed – of accumulated hatred of cyclists. Why do cyclists weave through traffic (as I’d just done), why do cyclists always sit at the head of traffic queues (as I’d just done), why do cyclists jump red lights (which I hadn’t done for at least five minutes)? He had a point, several points, all of them valid. I appreciate how motorists must find cyclists (and their bad habits) intensely irritating.
Eventually the lights changed.
The man pulled alongside me, this time adding the f word at the start of his third and final ‘Lycra ponce’.