Firstly, I realise the title of “the angry cyclist” is a bit generic so let’s be more specific and say the angry cyclist on the canal!
As many of you know I walk along the canal a lot and it’s not unusual for me to walk 100 miles in a week up and down the canal from Macclesfield to Stoke. During these walks I meet a lot of cyclists with the majority being very, very nice people. However there are a few who I would term as “the angry cyclist”. These are cyclists who think it’s there god given right to cycle up and down the canal towpath at great speed and f**k everybody or anything which gets in their way!
This is usually men aged between 20 and 40 wearing the usual cycling attire. You know the type, has an expensive push bike and basically all the gear, but no idea and an attitude you need a HGV to carry round.
Generally you’d only see these on weekends and they cycle along the canal as fast as humanly possible which nine times out of ten I have no problem with. But cycling on the canal is a concession not a right and you should take care around other canal users. Most walkers move out of cyclists way if given warning or a pleasant excuse me but courtesy works both ways and it’s nice to see cyclists slow down as I stop and grab my dogs. But Mr Angry Cyclist typically doesn’t!
Surely, your just an Angry Walker I hear you cry!
No, I have previously never have a problem with other canal users and using the canal is a great way to get home safely for cyclists and walkers alike. Most cyclists I will move out of the way for any day of the week if given prior warning.
Most cyclist on the canal towpath will slow down when they see you and 9 times out of 10 if I can possibly get out the way I will do. I don’t want them or their bikes around me or my dogs so I let them past but on several occasions now I have had cyclists react in a very aggressive manner to me or my dogs as they have a problem with anyone else using the towpath or having to slow down. This no doubt caused them to fail their Strava time challenge times!
Angry Cyclist Incident 1
This was the worst and resulted in Mr Angry Cyclist and his bike taking a swim in the Macclesfield canal.
As I was walking from Congleton to North Rode my dogs and I were approached at great speed by Mr Angry Cyclist who firstly shouted “fuckin move” at me as he forced his was past me clipping my elbow with his handlebars. He then passed one dog who was startled by him causing him to fall off as he tried to kick out at her. He then got up and tried to kick my dog again! Not once, but twice and by this time I’d caught up with him while shouting “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” this was met with a torrent of abuse and a very firm push in the chest along with physical threats of violence against me and my dogs. Again he pushed me so I pushed him into the canal. Further threats of physical violence ensued as he struggled to get out and I pushed him back in again before walking off.
Not content with taking a swim he chased me down and again started threatening me about half a mile down the canal. I have to say this bloke had some balls as I was twice his size but this time he tried to punch me. As he went to do it again I put his hand in a wrist lock and again threw him in the canal along with his bike. He was promptly told if he followed me again bones would be broken and hospital food would be on the menu for him for the foreseeable future.
As I walked off he didn’t pursue me again!
Angry Cyclist Incident 2
Second time was very similar but on a very narrow stretch of canal path near to Sutton Hall. Again I was approached from behind and he made no attempt to slow down and he hit me with his bike as he tried to squeeze past (the canal towpath is very narrow here and you have to stand aside to let others pass). His pedal clipped my leg and cut my leg open. The collision caused him to lose balance and fall into the reed beds beside the canal. Again this guy shouted and screamed at me as if it was my fault, “why didn’t you f-ing move?” and “I’ve got right of way”. At no point did he shout or warn us to his presence, a fact completely lost on him. He was also oblivious to having hit me and causing me an injury with his bike. Even when this was pointed out to him he still failed to see that he had done anything wrong and threatened me and my walking partner with firstly physical abuse then laughably, legal action.
I had to walk home with blood pissing out of my leg. I did report this matter to the Police and CRT but that was a waste of time.
If you are going to cycle on the canal please, please, please have the courtesy you would expect to be given to you when around other canal users. Not everyone is racing from point A to point B and if you are then perhaps you shouldn’t be using the canal and be on the road? These days I am really weary about cyclists on the canal and because of the incidents above am more likely to punch you in the face than argue with you if you get on your high horse. If you even think about taking a swipe at my dogs I will make sure you bike becomes a suppository or at the very least make you swim to fish it out of the canal!!!
Cyclists remember canal towpaths are permissive paths and not your race track. If you’re in a hurry perhaps you should use the roads.
If you’re cycling on the towpath and there are people out walking, don’t race up behind them and then expect them to move. Show some common sense, would you do the same in your car? Think about it. Would you race up behind other road users while your driving and then blast your horn and shout abuse at the drivers in front because their in your way? NO! Why do it when out on your bike then.
Think I was wrong, or perhaps you’ve had a similar incident? Leave a comment below.