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Donald Clarke: As a cyclist, I have the right to despise cyclists

Donald Clarke: As a cyclist, I have the right to despise cyclists

Do you hate fair-weather cyclists? No, you hate me and my exclusionary attitude. I do too As with all such overheated enthusiasts, the pastime is…

Saturday, Mar 26

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Do you hate fair-weather cyclists? No, you hate me and my exclusionary attitude. I do too

As with all such overheated enthusiasts, the pastime is elevated into a signifier of virtue and spiritual purity.

Spring is here. Spring is here. Life is skittles. Life is beer.

We are entering that period where regular cyclists have difficulty finding a place to park their vehicles. All those literal fair-weather pedallers – the half-assed sorts who take to belching internal combustion at the first spit of precipitation – get back on their conspicuously unmuddied saddles and ride them to where I was intending to lock my quotidian two-wheeler. Don’t you hate these part-timers? Don’t you hate their inability to commit?

No, you don’t. You hate me. You hate my pompous exclusionary attitude. You are quite right to do so. I hate me.

Remember Woody Allen in Annie Hall. “Don’t you see? The rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers,” his character says. “I think of us that way sometimes and I live here.”

It is, if anything, easier to be a self-hating cyclist than a self-hating New Yorker. The provocations are so great. One is, of course, obliged to defend the clan (it’s not a clan) when motorists set off on the familiar Clarksonian rants. Cyclists are forever riding on the pavement. They seem to think red lights don’t apply to them. They go about at night with no lights on. They veer in front of hurtling traffic […]

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