I cycle to work every day. It’s free and it’s fun. On my commute I have to weave through varying angles of lane-changing traffic and try to beat amber lights before they turn red. My main source of amusement is other cyclists though. Blokes who pedal through the CBD every morning in lycra and clip-on shoes. Clip on shoes they have to unclip at every junction as they await the green light. And then clip on again as they attempt to regain momentum before unclipping 15 seconds later as they reach the next junction. They spend so much time clipping and unclipping they forget to actually cycle. They are among the slowest cyclists on the roads. Tourists with the chunky hire bikes merrily cruise past these huffing clip merchants, while their lycra sags with sweat produced predominantly from frustration. And why the lycra? It is not saving you time. It is making you look like a toothpaste commercial.
I have worn both lycra and clip-on shoes but that was for long distance rides in the countryside. This is a ten minute chug in rush hour. And then there’s the guys (it’s only ever guys) who decide to cycle down the pedestrian walkways near our boat along the wharf. It’s teaming with tourists, lost old people and confused foreigners squinting at maps. Suddenly a neon helmeted blur flashes into view as some chubby bloke on a road-bike with tyres as thin as pencils careers along the riverside in bottom gear like he’s trying to catch the peloton. Ringing the bell repeatedly he screams things like, “Watch out! Heads up!” as the masses are forced into evasive action, diving out the way, children split from their terrified parents, a bolt of pink and green dividing them. Why don’t they slow down? If they are truly in a rush, why don’t they use the roads? I assume they don’t as there’s less clipping and unclipping on pedestrian walkways, just excessive panic and fear instead. And as for the ones who have earphones in while they demand walkers to take heed of their frantic yelling, please do us all a favour and cycle straight into the Yarra. I finally snapped and yelled at one the other day who had the temerity to berate some Asian tourists for getting in his way, “In Australia we overtake on the left!” He screeched, the confused muddle of selfie sticks and smart phones failing to part appropriately for him. It was just asking for a witty retort, so bloody-minded and casually racist it had to be dealt a swift biting blow. “Just slow down you idiot,” I shouted instead, swiftly averting my eyes as the clipped crusader turned to me. He zoomed off, hopefully into a ditch somewhere. The Asians didn’t understand what I’d said and carried on taking on selfies. “Excuse me,” I said as I pushed my way meekly through to my bike.