3rd December 2021
Reading Time: 3 minutes
To the fuckwit who called me a dickhead; Or entitlement and mountain biking do not mix.
Nothing like a nice family walk along some parkland trails. Fresh air, trees and after being, more or less, cooped inside for eight weeks, a much needed outing. And there’s nothing better than being called a dickhead by a mountain biker deciding to ride SHARED trail at 11.30am, when families are out and about.
Now generally, being a mountain biker myself for the best part of 30 years (gah!), I am more than understanding when it come to crossing paths with people on bikes out to have a bit of a good time. I am especially so when it comes to single track. Why? Because I have been the one on the bike more often than not. So in that vein, if I am walking and I either hear, or see, people on bikes, I make sure to give them room to pass, usually with a ‘have fun’ comment in passing. And for the most part, everyone passes with smiles and friendliness.
Today though was to be, sadly, different. The three of us are walking along quite happily on a narrow bit of trail on the side of a hill, the 9 year old being mad and everywhere, as usual. Luckily I was at the back, as I hear the crunch of tyres and looking around, there’s a guy on a bike pulling up behind me. Does not say anything. Does not use his shiny fucking bell clamped to his bars. Like I said, luckily I heard him. So, wanting to do the right thing, I pull off to the side and tell the other to do the same.
And that’s when it happened.
Instead of doing the right thing, being friendly, and/or saying thanks, he muscles his way through, does not even look at us.
Unusually for me, though I am changing my attitude lately (that whole life’s too short to put up with twats thing), and noticing his GOLD SHINY BELL, I say to him, “could’ve used your bell, or said something.” Without even slowing he mumbles something about not being able to see around corners, (I saw and heard him plenty well…and he was behind me!), continues to ride through and when he’s out of grabbing range, as if I was going to pull him off and pound him, proceeds to say for the the whole family hear – “dickhead!”
I, we, were gobsmacked.
The vibe of the walk was completely spoiled, especially when you take into account the trails are almost for walking first, though the managers have, very generously, made them multi use; I’ve yet to ride them but they are on the list. The 9 year old did not want to walk on the trail any longer, worried another ‘biker’ would come along, and I was somewhere between a bad and contemplative mood. But other than the rudeness, what threw me the most?
Apart from the obvious, which was being on a shared trail at 11.30am and being annoyed that families are walking, I guess the whole attitude that went with this guy is what got to me. The not saying thank you when room was, without request, made for him. The fact that I took the initiative to give him the space when I did not have to. Or the fact that he was not dialled in enough to see people ahead of him – there was plenty of LOS prior to the bend.
I called him out on not being sharp enough, and his response was to be rude.
But the kicker for me was that he was not a kid, or a teenager. He was a middle aged man.
An entitled, middle aged, man.
And that’s what shits me about the whole thing. The thought that he obviously thinks that the trail is there for him and him alone, clearly not needing to acknowledge the politeness of other users. He was entitled. And in today’s world, where more people want more access, and land managers weigh up the demands, what do we think will go through their heads when some users complain about the attitudes, manners (or lack thereof), and overall demeanour of others?
It’s pretty simple really, those being complained about, miss out.
Moral of the story? Don’t be an entitled fuckwit.
After 20 odd years working in and around the cycling industry, for myself and others, I decided riding bikes was more fun than working with them. Over that time though, I wrote (and some wrote for me) a lot of stuff about bikes, on blogs and the like. Some was good, some, well... not so much. Rather than loose it all when I shut everything down once and for all, I have kept some of my favourite, and more popular pieces here for... prosperity?
I also am working on new pieces as well...