If you ride regularly you’ve probably been on the receiving end of a pedestrian’s or a motor vehicle driver’s verbal athletics. Sometimes it’s witty, but more often than not it’s abuse that’s being hurled, usually of the hate-filled, bile-flecked kind. Occasionally it’s physical violence that is offered, as in the recent case of this charmer from Essex.
Opposition to cyclists is nothing new. Nineteenth century newspapers abound with articles and letters to the editor bemoaning the dangerous “scorchers” and “furious riding” that made the roads unsafe for right-minded people. More rarely they reported on cyclists being the victims of the aggression of others. One such story appeared in the pages of the Illustrated Police News in July 1899
THRASHED BY A LADY
WHO IS NOTED FOR HER ATHLETIC POWERS.
An extraordinary scene was witnessed on
Saturday morning in Peel Lane, a thorough-
fare connecting Little Hulton with Tyldesley,
in which the principal participants were a
young lady cyclist and a youth of nineteen
or twenty. The lady was riding at a good
pace, and when in a quiet part of the road
the young man, who had apparently been
imbibing, stepped into the roadway, and,
addressing some insulting remarks to the
cyclist, made as if he intended pulling her
off the machine. She immediately alighted,
caught hold of the astonished youth, and
gave him a sound thrashing, using her fists
in scientific fashion, to the delight of several
colliers who were passing. The young man
made off, and the cyclist, who is believed to
be a Bolton Lady noted for her athletic
powers, rode off towards Tydesley.
A scene that was thrillingly depicted by one of the Illustrated Police News artists.
While I don’t condone violence I can’t help feeling that the youth got his deserved comeuppance on this occasion.
by Mike Dash
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