Friday 10 June 2016

Cycling Bestiary - Part 3

You'll note part 3 in the title, which of course implies part 1 and part 2.

But if you can't be arsed to click on part 1 and see what this is about then I'll tell you - I'm a bastard. I'm a complete scumbag. I make up stories about people I see, including cyclists. Its a bad habit of mine. But the stories aren't all bad. And in a city chock full of 'characters' like Cambridge there's plenty for my imagination to work on.

Anyway, I thought I might relate some more of these, because, well, why not. 

The first is the Two Bears. I've seen them riding around together in the city centre many times, two hairy, bearded chaps, early 20's, always so happy looking when they're on their bikes together. I'd never paid them much attention until I ran into them in a coffee shop recently, the two guys totally in to each other but trying ever so hard to avoid any gratuitous public displays of affection, so they constrained themselves to affectionate beard stroking. And suddenly, after such a cute display, in my head, they became the Two Bears.

Even cuter is Barry Sheen Junior. He's probably nursery school age and I often see him riding to school alongside his older sister and mum - I say alongside because the ladies like to ride on the road, but he prefers the car-rutted, parking-ruined grass verge they ride past - to a kid his size its proper up-and-downey stuff to go over. And the whole time he makes motorbike noises - in his head he's obviously racing against other motorbike riders in some epic contest through inhospitable terrain.

At the other end of the age spectrum is Anti-Super Gran. We've a lot of older folk who ride through Cambridge, and Anti-Super Gran isn't unusual in her age. I most often spot her riding up past the Market, along past the Nat West bank and up towards Sainsburys - roads that kind of, sort of, look like they ought to be pedestrianised and many people walking on them seem to think that they are. But they're not. And Anti-Super Gran tells them. Reinforced with her bell, a stern, harsh, upper class yell and the gleaming metal of her chrome handlebars and unyielding wicker basket. I genuinely don't know how she's not managed to mow anyone down. I've seen her standing off against another old dear who was riding the wrong way down Sidney Street (a one way street), refusing to give an inch until her adversary turned round. I really don't know what its all about - but I like to believe she's got an army of grandchildren who she insists are only trained in the deadliest of martial arts.

I'm also going to revisit Uber Woman. I mentioned her way back in 2012 in my first bestiary. She's still out on the roads, but you know what? She's way less uber. Yeah, she's still big, but it turns out if you get on a bike and keep riding it you'll not be as big after 4 years. Great to see.

Lastly, I present the mystery that is Dirty Knees. I don't know much about Dirty Knees, and find him hard to describe. I think he's one of the interestingly clothed couple I've occasionally seen weaseling garments out of the clothing bank at the local recycling centre and trying them on right there, alongside his partner. The two of them are therefore often colourful figures, choosing the brightest and oddest looking clothing from this source - but what differentiates dirty knees from your common or garden weird looking chap are his dirty knees. Like, seriously, whenever I spot the guy riding around in whatever weird shit clothing he's nicked most recently, his knees are covered in mud. Frankly, your guess is as good as mine.

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