Man with bike

Happily, after three or four weeks of rummaging around my own head for post material, I’ve finally started looking up and around me. Heading home a bit hectic-minded after rushing to beat Oxford’s 5.30pm city shutdown, I looked up and something caught my eye.

Except I can’t remember what it was. Fortunately for me then, that while on the bus to work this morning we passed a curious little diorama unfolding at one of Cowley Road’s main junctions.

As we approached I thought there’d been an accident – there was a queue building up behind a lady in a red car, and a bike was resting against the bonnet. It looked like a pretty gentle accident, but then I saw the cyclist stomping around in front of the car.

Oxford’s cyclists are a special breed. Without overstating it, the majority of them are either suicide-nuts or a few scotch eggs short of a picnic. I watched one woman actually scream in Neanderthal rage because two buses pulled out at the same time, closing the already Indiana Jones-esque death gap that she’d been attempting to shoot through.

“Go between them? Are you crazy?!” I should have quipped. But didn’t. I was rather worried she might have killed me.

The cyclist at the junction had clearly had his own Falling Down moment. Raising a two-finger victory salute at the lorry driver behind the red car (which I assumed meant ‘Just give me two minutes to enjoy this ultimately Pyrric victory’) he continued to pace back and forth in front of his bike resting on the car’s bonnet.

Sadly the bus kept going. I was hoping the driver would have been as interested as me to know exactly what had been going on, and fleetingly considered leaping out at the next stop and running back to find out. Though given the expectations of your average Oxford cyclist (namely: I will act erratically and look for every short cut, yet expect you to know exactly where I’m going) it’s a fairly safe bet that the driver just nudged him accidentally.

There’s a sort of exhilerating glory in someone losing their rag so utterly they are happy to stop traffic to strut around in fury before the target of their frustration. I just really wish I knew what he’d been saying.


About Ben Catley-Richardson

Writer, reader, husband. Father!
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