Even up until just recently the warm glow of the Summer Olympics still shone on bicycling in London. Ordinary cyclists buzzing around the city enjoyed the admiration (or at least tolerance) of others in the streets as if they were personally responsible for the heroics of Brit cycling heroes like Bradley Wiggins, Chris Hoy and Laura Trott.
But that's all gone now, explained best in a hilarious article that The Telegraph newspaper (UK) titled "We'd Just Grown to Love Cyclists - and then Andrew Mitchell Came Along". Long story short is that Mitchell, a Conservative politician, swore at several policemen and called them "plebs" -- apparently a big insult in Britain -- after they directed him to take his bike out a side gate of the Downing Street government offices as is normal rather than through the main drive.
So while Mitchell's been getting heat from everywhere for insulting cops who were doing their jobs, The Telegraph took that episode a step farther, using Mitchell as an example of not just a snooty politician but even worse -- a snooty politician cyclist above following the rules that apply to the rest of us -- and then going on to list all the funny reasons that cyclists irritate people.
I personally thought this was hilarious and recognized many of my fellow cyclists (and perhaps even myself, dare I admit it?) in these observations.
Everyone loses their temper once in a while, but nobody loses their temper more often than a bike rider. Cyclists believe they are a superior race. Or in a superior race. They are convinced that, because they're on a bike, they're more responsible, intelligent and healthy than the rest of us in cars, buses or trains, or even just standing around, doing our jobs.
We are lesser mortals: they look down their noses, from their elevated position on those wince-inducing saddles, on us poor saps, munching cheeseburgers in our nice warm cars.
- Traveling: Finding a Bike When You're on the Road
- Stars on Bikes: Famous People Riding Bikes
- Olympic Road Cycling Race Course Description
- Guide to Olympic Cycling Events
- Olympic Cycling Schedule by Date
- Olympic Schedule by Discipline (road, mountain, track, BMX)