Robert Garbutt blog: The enemy within

It’s a war out there, we all know it. Sunday was no exception, a pleasant sunny morning despite the usual inconsiderate driving and abuse courtesy of the great British motorist. After four decades spent riding you become hardened to this idiotic behaviour; if it continually upset you, you simply wouldn’t go out.

But this ride was different. Several of the worst incidents were caused by other cyclists. Morons in cars I have grown to accept, but inconsiderate idiots on bikes are quite a separate matter.

Maybe we’ve reached a point where many of the worse drivers have simply swapped to two wheels. A matter of: ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’ Or is it even a case of infiltration? Are we being attacked from within?

Whatever the reason, the rise of the rubbish rider is a step too far. Fancy being forced off the road by a group riding five abreast towards you on a narrow lane? Or how about having your front wheel clipped by a rider who pulls in too soon after he overtakes?

Bad riding can be contributed to inexperience but you don’t have to be a genius to know to allow enough room for an oncoming rider to pass or not to cut in suddenly when passing.

It wasn’t all bad news at the weekend. I spent several enjoyable miles tagged on to the back of a Kingston Wheelers club run. You couldn’t wish for a more organised, courteous group, the perfect example of how to behave on the roads.

There’s much to be said for being a member of a traditional cycling club. So many of today’s newbie riders would certainly benefit from the experience.

This article was first published in the September 5 2013 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!