They say you should never meet your heroes, now it turns out you should never listen to them either.
I spent a good couple of years following Brad’s progress leading up to the 2012 Tour de France and I spent a very excited couple of weeks watching him ride about France until he finally bagged the big one. I was a big fan. I even drew him! Three times!
But then Brad turned out to be a gigantic cocknugget. What a pity.
That seems a bit harsh doesn’t it? He’s a national treasure! Hmmm, maybe not. Rides a bike well, but then when he opens his mouth a load of nonsense comes out. So what has he done this time then?
Hang on Jon, all he’s done is ask cyclists to follow the rules, you can’t argue about that can you, or are you one of those righteous cyclists who believes the laws don’t apply to you?
Nope, I’d not argue against following the rules (despite there being plenty of evidence to suggest law breaking cyclists spend less time getting crushed by lorries). And in fact, I think in all the commentary I’ve seen over this article, not one cyclist has said “Fuck you Brad, I’m no stooge to the man and I’ll break the rules if I want, you square”. The problem is errrm, pretty much everything else he said.
The two things that really bother me about Brad’s outburst are thus:
Firstly, it’s this ridiculous notion that cyclists must earn their right to the roads by behaving. By all riding safely and within the rules, drivers will respect us and thus stop driving over us. Have you ever heard so much shit in all your life? Not one other road user is maligned in this way. No other group of road users are told to behave because they need to earn respect. Terrible car drivers aren’t told by Lewis Hamilton to pack it because it makes the good drivers look bad. Errant lorry drivers don’t get told by errrm, I dunno, Eddie Stobart if they don’t stop misbehaving then their rights will be removed.
Here’s a little excerpt.
“but you always get cyclists who give a bad name to the rest; people who jump the kerbs, jump red lights and ride around with iPods so you can’t hear the rest of the traffic. You would not do that in a car so why would you on a bike?”
So jumping kerbs, jumping red lights and listening to music are things you wouldn’t do in a car? You don’t get out much do you Brad? Drivers do these things, CONSTANTLY. And of course, when drivers do these things that are virtually always, mere annoyances when cyclists do them, they become dangerous. Even lethal. people die because drivers do these things. But we need to earn respect, apparently.
Anyway, that’s not my major issue. The real dollop of manure (other than the British cycling membership statement) that fell from Brad lips was this.
“people are starting to use cycling as a means of transport more but we won’t see the full cycling legacy of the Olympics for 10 years”
Did you bang your head when that van driver (remember, they make the rest of the van drivers look bad) knocked you off? Transport. Olympics. Transport. Olympics. Transport. Olympics
What. The. Fuck. Has. Transport. Got. To. Do. With. The. Olympics???????
Here’s a clue Brad. CHUFF ALL
The olympics no more provides a legacy to cycling as a mode of transport as formula one does to driving down the shops. This is complete and utter nonsense. In the unlikely event that someone watching an olympic cycling event suddenly decides to ride a bike to work the next day because, well I don’t know. I have absolutely no idea how someone would make a link between a race on TV and riding down the A34. Anyway, if someone watched the olympics and then rode to work the next day as a direct result of doing so, what kind of cyclist do you think they’d be?
That’s right, they’d look like this:
Is that what we want? Do we actually need more Brad wannabies with their heads down, chasing Strava segments, doping up on cough medicine and hidden electric motors, racing you from every set of lights and shaving their legs? Is that what bicycle transport looks like?
Of course not. Cycling transport, done properly looks like this:
No helmets, no pro kit, no need to wring our hands about whether we’re earning respect from drivers. It’s safe for everyone, not just the strong and the fast and the aggressive.
So I tell you what Brad, if you really want to improve road safety for cyclists, stick your comments up your arse and talk to sports cyclists about sports cycling. I don’t want to hear advice on road safety from a Tour de France winner, I’d much rather listen to what the vulnerable, the slow, the quiet and the people who don’t yet cycle have to say on the matter. If we’re driving a cycling revolution forwards, these are the people we need to listen to.