James May is here to tell us why he thinks cyclists are terrible, but it’s not what you think. After all, it IS James we’re talking about here, not Jeremy. Unlike Jeremy and Richard, James actually has an affinity for cycling, and according to his recent DriveTribe post, he has never been without a bicycle.
However, cyclists are much like drivers in the sense that pretty much everyone can do it, but very few know how to do it right. Some of it is just people not knowing better, and some of it is straight up pure ignorance and asshole-ism on people’s parts.
In his post, James understand the importance of bicycles, but really hopes that bicycle lobbyists will get off their high horse:
“So when some berk with polystyrene bananas on his head starts lecturing me about the importance of cycling – as if the thing has only just been invented and only he’s heard of it – I want to tell him how I was prised from mine outside the Dalwhinnie distillery in Scotland, frozen in the attitude of a cyclist, by a kindly old Scottish lady who filled me with whisky and hot chocolate and then booted me back out into the rain to complete the remaining 30 miles to Aviemore.”
This quote from James rings especially true in today’s world, and not just within the realm of cycling and driving:
“Meanwhile, we should probably learn to ride them properly. The lycra brigade do it right, of course, but most cyclists are just people riding bikes. And they’re a bit hopeless. Half of them ride with their feet and knees all over the place like a cartoon midwife. They look ridiculous.
And, while I’m at it, use the gears properly as well. I see some riders pulling away from rest in 24th and barely able to balance, and others whose legs are going round so fast their kneecaps are going to boil away. Change gear. The power band of a bicycle (ie the rider) is very narrow, so, as with a big truck, you need lots of gears and you need to change between them constantly.”
Oh my goodness, yes. I’m not claiming to be the world’s greatest driver or anything like that, but I at least know what I’m doing on the road and am, if nothing else, at least aware of what I am doing. Now granted, this isn’t what James is going on about, but it still applies to almost every walk of life.
And finally, another tidbit from James that I especially liked:
“…because no-one ever does any bicycle maintenance. How have we arrived at this? How has the technical literacy of our society evolved to the point where this global and interactive digital edifice can exist but no-one can make the few simple adjustments necessary to make a bicycle derailleur shift correctly? With a handful of pressed-steel spanners, a couple of screwdrivers and a tube of grease, you can make any bicycle work beautifully.”
I don’t think I know of a single person outside of my Mustang friends that does their own oil changes. It’s the easiest thing in the world to do on your own, but no one does it. If you know how to do it and choose not to, fine, I get it. But the sheer amount of people that simply do not know how and do not care to learn, is staggering. It suddenly makes every other problem in the world make so much more sense.
We just want other people to do stuff for us. Man, I went off on a tangent there, didn’t I?