What An Amazing Time For Cycling

The COVID lockdown has sporned an unprecedented surge in bike sales. If you talk to people in bike stores you’ll find that they’re barely able to build bikes quick enough to sell them. One guy I spoke to had one day off in five weeks. A friend of mine bought a bike and was told that it was built at 1140pm the night before. He was buying a bike for his daughter. His choices were two bikes, take it or leave it. So. With all these new cyclists on the road, are we entering the golden age of cycling? By which I mean…

Will there be less pricks on the road?

I was cut off three time today. The first person was driving a Jeep. So it was kind of expected. When I see the phrase, it’s a jeep thing, I think: what, being and ignorant prick?

The other person who cut me off was in a small hatch. They cut me off twice in the space of a minute. They were as oblivious and uncaring as a cow in a field who stood on a bug. Their expression of dissinterest was as banal as a cow’s.

This is something all these new cyclists can look forward to. Being treated with the contempt they so obviously deserve. I wonder how they’ll cope. How does the ego of a car driver — who holds a grudge all the way home and then whines about being cut off forty minutes ago during a commute — how does this person cope with being cut off again and again. Without even a horn to blast.

What I hope is they learn...

What it’s like to be a cyclist. And then they take that knowledge and apply it next time they’re driving. They’ll recognise their cyclists as fellow human beings and treat them accordingly. 

It's been amazing to see...

So many people out exercising, waling and cycling, in the streets where they live. There are some fairly soleless suburns near me. I cycle through them on the way to mountain biking. I go go through entire suburbs and only see four or five people. They’re just about always foreign students. It’s close to the university. And students don’t tend to own cars. They’re walking home with bags of groceries to their shared student accommodation.

Suddenly though, these streets are alive with people. The very people who live there, the actual people who reside in the homes on those streets, are filling those streests with their presence. It’s like they suddenly belong there. And the streets, the suburbs, belong to them. Not just to me, who is only passing through, and those few Asian students who can’t afford cars.

It’s wonderful to see. I hope the world doesn’t forget what it’s like to belong to their neighbourhood, to meet their neighbours, to smile and engage. I hope they remember what it’s like to be in streets when they’re not just passing through them in a car.

There has been an unprecendented outburst of friendlieness during COVID. It’s quite amazing to see people out and about. I live near the seaside so it’s always busy down there. Sometimes embarrassingly so. But the joy of seeing people engaging with the other people who they live beside (but never usually meet) has been one of the great benefits of this otherwise horrible time. I just hope the world doesn’t forget how good it was. 

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