You used to love your bike, didn't you, when you were a kid. You used to race home from school so you could squeeze in a precious half-hour doing circles in the back lane with your best pal before it got dark and your mum called you inside for tea.
But now you're an adult, and cycling isn't fun anymore. It's just how you get to work without giving 10 percent of your salary to Southern fucking Rail, and it's knackering, and you live in constant fear of your bike being stolen even though you dropped £45 on a really expensive bike lock, and every other week you have a near-death experience with a lorry.
Worst of all? Other cyclists. All of them are terrible – the ones who are faster than you, but also curiously ones who are slower, too; and the ones who take it more seriously than you, and weirdly you hate the people who take even less care than you do about it – but whomst, and whichth, is the worst? Is it time for a ranking??? I think it is, you know, yeah.
Best: Deliveroo Drivers
Easily the best kind of city cyclist there is, because anyone with the power to satisfy my niche hangover craving for very expensive sushi at 11AM on a Sunday at the mere touch of a button is, to me, a true hero. Doesn’t even matter that you’ve somehow been conned into spending £18 on a very average veggie burger and a can of Diet Coke, or that everything arrives freezing cold 70 percent of the time: I refuse to condemn anyone who can bring three different kinds of sourdough pizza directly to my front door when I can't even summon the energy to stand up in the shower, let alone leave the house. Tip your cyclists. Heroes, every last one.
Bike couriers are high up this list because they're fucking nails and I don’t want to mess with them, and that is because bike couriers: i. go really fast and aggressively through traffic; ii. can yell "MOVE" really, really, incredibly loudly; iii. wear those little hats with the brim folded up, therefore rendering the cap – and please explain the logic to me if I'm wrong – technically completely pointless? and iv. six out of ten times have one of those long worm-like single dreads squiggling down their back and tucking into their waistband, and I don't want them to get mad and touch me with it. They all go on forums and have lunch together in little special courier zones. If they got together to form a gang we'd all be entirely fucked.
Mountain Bike Obsessives
Very cool when you were a pre-teen and you did that bike trail at Center Parcs with your big cousins, but anyone who would drop hundreds of pounds on a suspension coil and willingly spend their hard-earned weekends at an outdoor activity centre in Epping Forest as an adult is, I'm afraid to say, a dangerous virgin.
Or: those people whose main reason for cycling is that "it's greener" rather than "they don't want to spend £4.50 a day with their face pressed into a stranger's armpit on the Jubilee line". Annoying because they're better people than you – they recycle, and know how much their energy bill is – but also quite irritating because they often have an allotment odour to them and think that flip-flops are an appropriate choice of footwear for cycling in.
Fixie Bike Obsessives
It's 2018, lads; find a new hobby. Fixie bikes haven't been cool since "The Dickhead Song". "But the gears aren't—" grow up.
You know the ones: those people who've been to Amsterdam and have tried to emulate their cycling culture by buying those weird heavy old school Dutch bikes that you have to sit really upright on to ride, just for the #aesthetic. When they're not causing huge traffic jams cycling in front of a bus at two miles an hour, they can usually be found taking up the entire pathway while they walk their bike through some sort of urban farmers' market buying posh cheese and fresh bread to carry home in the little basket like an extremely gentrified version of that old Hovis advert. Very annoying… but the aesthetic. I want what they have.
What is it about the requisite bunch of 14-year-olds doing wheelies outside every Londis that is so deeply alarming to anyone old enough to legally go inside and purchase a four-pack? I would honestly rather eat dry toast for breakfast than face navigating my way through a bunch of kids in school uniform circling around on BMXs to go and buy a pack of butter. Absolutely terrifying. Somebody should make a horror movie about this. Or build a youth club! One of those two!
Greg from sales has worked out that if he cycles to work instead of getting the train from Dartford he'll have saved the remaining half of his house deposit within eight years, so now he gets up at 5.30AM every single day so he can do the 90-minute journey with time to get changed once he finally makes it into the office each morning. All of which would be fine if it wasn't for the fact that he insists on updating you every time he sets a new personal best (STOP SAYING "STRAVA", GREG, I'M JUST TRYING TO MAKE SOME TEA), or the overbearing smugness with which he greets you when you roll into the office 45 minutes late every time there's a tube strike. Yeah, Greg, you might actually get to own property one day, but nobody wants to go near you because you shower in that small room near the toilets, so who's really winning here?
GoPro Helmet Wearers
GoPros are already lame by virtue of the fact that everyone who operates one thinks that extreme sports are cool and that their own personal POV of, like, going down a slide or something is extremely integral and important to the wider human canon. But when they're strapped to a helmet and weaponised against any unwitting pedestrian who has the temerity to step out into the road a full half-second before the light turns green, they become not just lame, but also extremely Tory. Please tell your dad to calm down, he's about to have another stroke.
Genuine question: has anyone, anywhere, ever actually used a Brompton to get from A to B, or are they just £1,400 status symbols for people who read the Financial Times? I've lived in London for five whole years now and I can honestly say that I've never seen a single person actually riding one, but I have seen 10,000 beetroot-faced men called Richard forcing their way onto an already-packed tube during rush hour with one of these in tow, taking up the space of a whole extra person. The bicycle equivalent of the midlife crisis BMW purchase.
Why is it that every time you're cycling back from the Big Tesco with huge carrier bags balanced precariously on each handlebar of your ancient Raleigh bicycle some Chris Froome wannabe in one of those replica polka dot jerseys will decide to race past like it's the final hundred metres of a Tour de France time trial instead of a pedestrianised street in suburban north London? Take off the wraparound sunglasses, mate, and stop shaving your thighs. You're never going to be a competitive cyclist: you're basically just a lad at five-a-side wearing a full Messi kit.
Boris Bike Tourists
You know what's a fun and cool way to experience this beautiful city? Not being responsible for the hospitalisation of a commuter because you braked abruptly in the middle of a roundabout.
Worst: Actual Boris Johnson
You know what? Let me not say anything.