James Daley: Cyclotherapy

A A A

In the past few years, I've started to become the kind of cyclist I really hate – unnecessarily aggressive, often discourteous to my fellow bikers and, I'm ashamed to say, an occasional danger. If I were to stand trial for my crimes, however, I'd make the point that I'm never completely in control of my faculties at such moments.

Although I'd like to think I'm a relatively mild-mannered and polite person in my daily life, put me on two wheels on my way to work and I often turn into a maniac, ready to kick any vehicle that cuts me up, shout at any pedestrian who doesn't pay enough attention when crossing the road and desperate to race every other cyclist.

My commute home on Tuesday night was the perfect example. Eager to get home, I was pumping down Cable Street in east London as fast as I could, zipping past every cycling commuter in sight. But the Cable Street cycle path is narrow and, as I pulled out to overtake someone, I could see another bike coming towards me. Rather than do the sensible thing – pull back and wait for the oncoming bike to pass – I decided there was just enough time to pass the bike in front.

There wasn't. The oncoming cyclist smashed into my right arm with some force, before veering into the third biker, who was propelled out of his saddle and into the road.

When I got back to the scene to ask if the other two were OK, the cyclist I'd collided with was apologising profusely to the third man – who looked to have come off worst. I mumbled my own apologies and snuck away, knowing that the whole incident wouldn't have happened if I had just had some patience and waited.

I've written before on the Cyclotherapy blog (www.independent.co.uk/blogs) about the "red mist" – the adrenalin-fuelled insanity that too often takes control of cyclists when they're pounding around town. Just as footballers and rugby players may start brawling after they've been running around a pitch for an hour, I'm sure that most cyclists are much more likely to be aggressive when they're physically stretching themselves. That's all very well if you're whizzing round a velodrome, but not if you're out on the streets of a city. This time, I'm lucky to have only a nasty bruise to show for my stupidity. But it could have been worse – especially if there had been any motor traffic coming down Cable Street at the time.

I'm making an effort to moderate my behaviour, but it's hard to fight against such a strong chemical reaction. My commute is my workout. The problem is, the harder I work, the more likely I seem to be to turn into my evil twin. Cyclists have always been rather good at finding drugs to enhance their performance – I wonder if they could develop one to tame those of us who find ourselves occasionally blinded by the red mist.

Read the Cyclotherapy blog at independent.co.uk/cyclotherapy

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£14000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is very proud of t...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Sales

£75000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Head of Sales position is offered on...

East15 Acting School: Finance and Contracts Officer

£20,781 to £24,057 per annum: East15 Acting School: The post involves general ...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Control / Sales Ledger Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a temporary position wo...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen