Archive for December, 2010

Why cycling through gangs of teenagers is bad for your (mental) health

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Here’s a good example of anti-social behaviour: my own.

Some time ago I was cycling along one of my regular routes near my home in North London. This route takes me through a great park, with football pitches, children’s playground, water play area, and outdoor gym. The park also includes a dedicated (and demarcated) cycle path as a main thoroughfare for cyclists heading to and from the north of the capital. As I was cycling along I saw ahead a gang of about 6 or 8 teenage boys standing around on the cycle path. They weren’t doing much, just standing there, chatting to each other. Right, I thought to myself, I’m not going to be forced off-course by these lot, and I hunkered down and swiftly shot through the middle of the group, in what was barely sufficient space and causing at least two of them to exclaim at my unexpected presence. A victory, I decided, even as I stopped at the traffic lights a mere 10 metres on, heart pounding, determined not to look over my shoulder, I had struck some sort of vague and poorly defined victory for common folk. But fear and/or aggression makes us do stupid things. [Read more...]