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I'm a cyclist. Some of my best friends are cyclists

Staffordshire | | Published:

Oh dear. This is it. This is the one that's going to get me in trouble.

After weeks of gentle musings about middle age, pubs, 14th century Italian philosophy and the perils of being a Keith, I'm going for it.

I expect hate mail, Twitter trolls and boycotts by Monday morning. Because I'm about to launch into gentle criticism of one of society's touchiest groups.

Not the whole job lot, just a small, tiny, sub-section.

Safety helmet on; Bad Cyclists, I have a problem.

Deep breath, here we go . . .

So there I was, stop-starting through Stafford town centre in my car (red light, first gear, second gear, red light, the usual thing) when I spotted the cyclist next to me and noticed something strange.

He had all the usual get-up; banana yellow skin-tight top, panty-liner black shorts, no mud guards, etc.

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But he also came equipped with something I hadn't seen before – a tiny video camera attached to his helmet. Pulling alongside at the next red, I leaned over and gently enquired what it was for.

Big mistake, apparently.

One robotic half turn later and I was face to face with The Terminator; bug-eyed shades leaning through my window and probably about to ask the whereabouts of Sarah Connor.

Instead, he came up with something more unexpected.

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"So I don't get cut up by BMW bankers like you."

Rude, especially as he didn't quite use the b-word.

Turns out this was a full-on cycle path.

(Thankyouverymuch. Vintage Frank Carson, right there. Worked better for him. It was the way he told 'em.)

Anyway, back to this Schwarzenegger wannabe. This was a seeerious cyclist. With a seeerious chip on each shoulder, to help with balance probably.

Him (aggressive): "You got a problem?"

Me (less-than-brilliant comeback): "Err, don't think so, just asking."

Him (theatrical growl): "Well . . . don't!"

And with that pumped-up Arnie actually set off, effing and jeffing at the pedestrians who naively thought the stopped cars, beeping sound and little green man meant it was their turn to cross.

What they didn't realise, of course, is that traffic lights are optional for this breed of bike rider.

Like riding on footpaths, ploughing through pedestrian zones and cruising three abreast down country lanes, these are the self-crowned kings of the road.

They give the vast majority of cyclists a bad name.

Including me.

True, I don't squeeze into a lycra Power Rangers outfit (God forbid, ladies) and my Raleigh's been around since the days of Sir Walter. But I like to ride my bicycle.

Jaws was never my scene and I don't like Star Wars.

Maybe that doesn't count as a 'real' cyclist in the eyes of some, but these boy racers are going to ruin it for everyone if we're not careful.

We live in Orwellian times and the 1984 Thought Police would be delighted if we all started filming each other, turning on each other.

We're already the most monitored nation on the planet so is this really the way the wider cycling community wants to go? I know I don't.

So please lighten up; it's meant to be fun, not some CSI evidence-gathering exercise.

Otherwise, it's easy to foresee a chain reaction leading to compulsory registration. Then identification.

Then taxation. Brilliant.

And what are you going to do with the film anyway?

Send it to You've Been Bicycle Framed?

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