Friday, 22 October 2010

Riding with the Cool Kids

Very often, when I am cycling at rush hour in a big neon pack, I feel like I've finally found my gang. I wasn't in one at school you see- I was the swotty kid on the edges of lots of different groups. I am appalling at team sports. On the road however, I am a member of a freer, cooler tribe, the underground souls who hate the actual underground.  I've mockingly described some of the tribes I've spotted amongst this diverse, two-wheeled group, but it is always with affection. Weird and wonderful as many of them are, these are my people.

I can't pretend there is any particularly cohesive gang here. It is a different group every day. These rush hour packs don't know each other, we very rarely speak but we share a  purpose, and are united against our common threat. Sometimes there is competition, but it is always friendly. Often, I'll cycle with the same few people all the way home, losing sight of their distinctive jackets or helmets in the traffic but reconvening at every set of lights. We gather, having weaved determinedly to get in front of the cars and buses, staking our claim to the green Advance Stop Zone. When I happen to get in a group that respects the red light you can feel us straining as one, ready for the first flicker of green. Often, I can hear the sound of mental  engines revving and 'The Boys are Back in Town' playing over the scene. 

At other times Trusty is my noble equine companion and we are a contented twosome. At rush hour, however, his persona is  a big dirty Harley, leader of a biker gang. I reckon he loves it even more than me. 


  1. Great post :) I know exactly what you mean. I wonder if we've ever shared an ASL!

    Do you chat much? I had a good chat on the way home last night with a horrible headwind. A problem moaned about with a fellow cyclist is a problem halved!

  2. I agree with Roaders! Having a good chat with people at lights is fun, and something that never happens on the Tube, by comparrison. Just the other week a particularly dashing individual complemented me on the socks I was wearing :o)

  3. I don't chat much, but maybe I will now, espcecially as @Mark seems to be an expert in bike gang flirting!
    Perhaps ibikelondon needs a bike dating spin off?!

  4. Now there's an idea! You heard it here first folks...

    I'm quite partial to waiving at considerate drivers too, but I don't want to be seen to be betraying the cause ;-)