The weather was clear, the lights were red and I was sitting in my XPonda wondering why New Year’s resolutions are called resolutions, such a flaky word, and not promises.
Cars coming the other way were turning left. This was logical. They had one of those little green left-turn arrows telling them they should.
Suddenly, one of them, a woman in a Land Cruiser, braked harder than your average shopper when confronted with the word ‘free.’
A cyclist, wearing a tight yellow garb emblazoned with the logo of some Italian cheese product, had come from the right-hand side of my XPonda, ignored the red light that even I was respecting and carried on as if he had the right of way.
When the poor Cruiserwoman persuaded her horn to honk while persuading her body not to, the cyclist turned around and gave her the universal digit of contempt.
I wish I could say this was, like my recent flirtation with Marion Jones’s workout regimen, an isolated incident.
Religious people, Volvo drivers, tobacco chewers, parents of nauseatingly bratty little children, atheists, vegans, residents of San Francisco, hedge fund managers, religious people with nauseatingly bratty little children, all of these can rightly claim to be in the Self-Righteousness Premier League.
But no one is even remotely in possession of a thou as holy as that of a bikeoid.
I have thought very deeply as to why this might be.
Clearly, one of the first impulses when you shove your imperfect body into a skintight florescent advertising hoarding is the one that says: “Hah. I am healthy. My calves are like Dwayne Johnson’s biceps. You are not. And yours are not. So please bow down to me. As if I really need to explain why.”
Yet if you have had the experience, as have I, of driving behind one of these patrician pedalpushers, you would surely have noticed that the majority have bottoms not dissimilar to the shape of Canada.
As they pedal uphill, their thighs strain like a diehard Catholic’s jaw when confronted with a filthy joke. A sober diehard Catholic’s jaw, anyway.
However, one is often asked to confront unpleasant aesthetics in one’s daily life, not least when one stares at one’s own reflection in the ripples.
There have to be greater and more tangled roots to the cyclist’s self-adoration.
Why is it, for example, that they insist on riding side by side along narrow roads, instead of one behind the other?
Why is it that, while next to each other, they continue to hold a conversation of the utmost inanity, which clearly slows their speed and disturbs their ability to steer a straight course?
Why is it that they ignore all road signs, all traffic lights and all life other than their own moving parts?
And why is it that when you gently suggest to them that they are veering dangerously from the straight and narrow, they feel entirely free to use any method of assault at their cowardly disposal?
All you have done is gently tapped your horn or merely driven up beside them in an effort not to hit someone standing on the median.
Their response is to slap your hood. Or your roof. If they could, they would slap you. Because they’re right. And you are but a cockroach that has wandered heinously across their tofu.
Perhaps they feel they are directly descended from some higher deity. Perhaps, as Mike Huckabee might have it, you might be born to be cyclist, but there’s certainly no reason why you should practise it.
There is an organization in the Bay Area that, once a month, on a Friday, gathers as many of its fundamentalist pedalers as it can, specifically with the aim, it appears, of disrupting traffic.
This organization is, I think, called Critical Mass. Or I’m Going To Piss You Off So Much That You’re Going To Get Mad And Then I’m Going To Hit You.
Their apparent aim is to take back the road for the environmentally friendly traveler.
There is a question that supplicates asking.
We have ready-made facilities over at Guantanamo Bay, facilities that aren’t, perhaps, at this very moment being used to their maximum advantage.
Would it not be an idea to take every little tight-suited, logo-ridden high priest of environmentally-friendly two-wheeled torture and give them their own little playpen in which they can ride around all day, devoid of automobiles, cycle lanes and the millions of people who would dearly love to smack them back into the thirteenth century?
It’s not as if these people want to be part of our society.
They seem to believe, like Hollywood stars, Robert Mugabe and religious people with nauseatingly bratty little children, that they deserve a land of their own, without vermin like us to pollute their perfection.
Please, therefore, join me in creating a new organization. Let’s call it ‘Mo Critical Mass.
The one purpose of this organization would be to improve the collective blood pressure of those on the road by sending all cyclists to a little Cuban island, where they can befriend the environment to their ego’s content.
Why mow them down when you can ‘Mo them down?
PHOTO BY PABLO BM