Well that got your attention didn’t it? And if you were seamlessly multi-tasking both breakfast and hedgehog, please accept my apologies for any damage a high velocity muesli shot may have inflicted on your monitor.
As ever context is key here. Struggling home the other night into the teeth, gums and entire puffing face of a gale, a fellow commuter reclassified me as his personal windbreak. Now not being au fait with roadie etiquette, it wasn’t clear whether one is expected to put up with this kind of thing or if “ as was my instinctive reaction “ beating them to death with the sticky end of a pump would be a proportional response.
It wasn’t so much the tailgating as such, it was the proximity. Any closer and he was in the perfect (imperfect?) position to have a nibble on my butt cheek. After taking a keen interest in my rear tyre all the way up the mall, he looked both refreshed and unsullied as we waited at a light. I offered him a local weather forecast “ quite windy out here tonight isn’t it” on the grounds that he clearly hadn’t noticed. He responded with an innocent smile and it was then I realised he was a fully paid up cycle messenger “ huge bag, crackling radio and genetically a consummate wheel sucker.
He reminded me of the much maligned goal hangers (politically correct colloquialism for a shit liner) we had at school. You know the sort – crossed into the opponents box at the start of each half and loitered there waiting for glory. Craftily sidestepped the off side rule by crabbing onto the touchline and lighting a cheeky roll up before – glory radar engaged “ the ball comes into the box, major multi-leg melee ensues and he calmly shoots home from two yards.
The memory of sodden turf, unrewarded effort (that’s me) and inappropriate accolades (that’s him) were strong as he effortlessly passed me without so much as a ˜cheers mate‘ before heading off to find some other victim. I puffed under Triumphant arch feeling anything but only to discover, to my horror and disbelief, a second rider had selected me as his wind shield. Was this some kind of conspiracy and were they being bussed in? ˜squawk squawk, ArseRider#1 here. I’ve left him looking knackered at the roundabout, Arserider#2, are you in position, over. Squawk, hiss, Arserider#2 on his wheel looking good¦‘. No wonder they were carrying those radios.
At this point I was overcome with a major case of fuckthisforagameofsoldiers” and began to fight back.
I stopped for a non obvious mechanical. ArseRider#2 looked affronted, like a man whose personal chauffer has parked up and wandered off for a bit of light shopping. Stretching that tenuous metaphor further, once he’d passed and I’d rocked up behind him, the disbelieving glance thrown over his shoulder put me in mind of said chauffer getting in the back of the car before ordering Oi matey, Marylebone station and step on it“. He tried to lose me but “ spinning and grinning “ I just took a bead on his rear tyre and enjoyed the pull of the commuting tractor beam. Short of some James Bond Style seat stay mounted machine gun action, I was going NOWHERE.
I ensured he was properly pissed off before peeling away with an expression of intense smugness. The fact that his route had taken us way beyond my normal commute was of little relevance “ like I said earlier, it’s all about a proportional response.
If this windy weather continues, I’m upping the Bean and Sprout content in my diet. This delivers the dual benefit of a short turbo boost and a rear firing biological weapon