THE BLOG

Chain, Chain, Chain, Chain of Hate

08/07/2014 13:45 BST | Updated 06/09/2014 10:59 BST

Peddling arms in the Middle East may not exactly be the safest activity you can engage in. Neither for that matter is peddling drugs in Sicily. Or peddling stolen goods from the back of a van in Bolton.

I'd like to point out that the 27'' Apple iMac I'm typing this piece on was bought legally. At least that's what Dave, the shaven-headed, heavily tattooed , multi-pierced, baseball bat-wielding,

Rottweiler-owning salesman told me. And who was I to argue? Especially for sixty quid-normal RRP £1599.

Anyway, none of the above are to be recommended if you're looking to live to a ripe old age, with most of your bodily parts intact.

However, the dangers of all these activities tend to pale into insignificance when compared to the hazards of peddling a bicycle (rather too frequently, it's one that has previously been pilfered), particularly in London. Come the end of the year, will 2014's death toll end up beating the 14 cyclists who were killed on the capital's roads in 2013? Unfortunately, it seems likely.

Despite the scary statistics and gruesome reporting we're faced with every time another innocent victim tragically finds him or herself under the wheels of a truck, cycling has never been more popular.

As a way of getting from A to B- Angry to Ballistic- it's cheaper, quicker and greener than just about any other form of transport.

It's also healthier. Well, unless you go flying over the handlebars thanks to some idiot opening the door of their Ford Focus, obviously not focussing quite enough, directly in front of you.

Ironically though, cyclists themselves have never been more unpopular.

You'd think the opposite would be true. Yet with the odd exception: Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins Victoria Pendleton (although she did only come seventh on Strictly Come Dancing) and Boris Johnson, who seems to defy every piece of logic known to man, those on two wheels come pretty low down the pecking order of road users.

Evidence of this can be seen and heard on a daily basis. The raised fists, the obscene hand gestures, the threats of actual physical violence as motorists jump out of their vehicles to threaten the very person who they were to blame for cutting up.

And as for the swearing. Why f**k, you've never heard such language.

Everyone it seems hates cyclists.

Car drivers hate cyclists. Bus drivers hate cyclists. Lorry drivers hate cyclists. Pedestrians hate cyclists. Cabbies hate cyclists. Mind you, cabbies hate everyone, don't they? You only have to spend 20 minutes in the back of a taxi to realise that. Not exactly known for their liberal views, which they're more than willing to share, you get out wondering how anyone can be quite that right-wing of Genghis Khan.

Additionally, motorbike riders hate cyclists. So do rollerbladers and skateboarders. Not forgetting, dogs. Especially dogs on skateboards. Now, they really hate cyclists.

It makes you wonder whether there's anyone who doesn't hate cyclists. How about fellow cyclists? Surely they must love each other? So you'd think. Alas, not.

Look at the lycra-clad speedsters on their racing bikes. Like Tour de France rejects, they weave in and out of the traffic, determined to beat the 65 year on her Pashley Princess as she tootles off to Waitrose.

"Take that, bitch", they say to themselves as they leave her in a wake of dirt and dust.

Of course, cyclists aren't the totally innocent party. They jump up onto the kerb. They zoom along the pavement. ( On average, 20 pedestrians a year are seriously injured by those on their bikes). They ignore road signs. They go through traffic signals.

And I should know because I'm guilty of such offences and on a pretty regular basis.

As a cyclist of many years, I've lost count of the times I've been fined for going through red lights. It's often more than one red light in a single journey before the exhausted cycling policeman finally catches up with me.

There's nothing's funnier than an out of puff (not, that sort of puff) plod as he breathlessly tries to get his words out.

For some reason, it's always the most overweight officers the force decides to put on its push bikes. Still, it's not so amusing when you're fined £50. In fact, if I added all my fines together, it would have almost made better economic sense to hire a limousine and a chauffeur.

But where would have been the appeal in that? As the lucky ones cycle past another Bentley, you can bet your life the besuited executive in the back is wondering what cruel twist of fate it was that didn't see them becoming a bicycle messenger instead?