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18/08/2010 // INFO 1 Comment

TfL cyclist – a new underclass?

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Row of Boris Bikes

The hierarchy on the streets of London appears to have been disrupted with the introduction of the Boris Bikes. Previously the car was king, pedestrians were given the freedom of the pavements (with limited rights across the highway) and cyclists were the lowest species around. Forced into the gutter by the cars and off the pavement by local regulations.

Enter the “TfL cyclist”. Proudly and nievely drifting around town on the blue Boris Bikes. This species are noticeable by their incompetence on a bike. Barely able to stay upright, they won’t risk taking either hand off the handlebars and are unable to indicate. Their legs spin like hamsters on speed due to a lack of understanding of the gearing although they never reach a pace that would disrupt their hair (certainly no helmet) or do so much as build a sweat.

The question for me is how does the rise of the TfL cyclist effect the proper cyclists. The one’s who have their own bikes (possibly more than one), the cyclists who love their bikes and will get in the saddle no matter what the conditions are. The folks who have been taking on the challenge of city cycling before blue paint on roads was ever considered.

Early indications are that the cyclists are asserting themselves as a breed apart from the TfL cyclists. Faster, more nimble, more stylish and deserving of respect. In addition they have a dismissive attitude to the jonny come latelies on the Boris Bikes. The cyclists see them as clogging up the road, slowing down the traffic, driving unpredictably and claiming some form of superiority to the other road users…haven’t we heard this somewhere before?

Depending on when my access key arrives I shall experience the cyclist v TfL cyclist divide first hand. Will I be the subject of scorn from all other road users? We’ll have to wait and see…

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