Cyclist who thinks she is Mary Poppins

Whilst cycling across Portland Place earlier this week in the rain, I spotted and challanged a female cyclist on a Boris bike.  Not only was she wearing ear buds but was keeping dry using an umberella.  The response I received can't be repeated here.  Is it just me?


  • By Stily1 at 11:53am 14 November 2013

Darwin is our friend.

Neither actions are illegal.

Marco I am very interested in your response. I was not at all questioning the legality of her actions but more the stupidity. Not only is she putting herself and potentially others at risk, it does nothing for the image of cycling and how we are perceived by drivers. Just because an action is not illegal doesn't make it a sensible thing to do. Passing a lorry or bus on the inside is also not illegal.
  • By Kepi192 at 10:00pm 14 November 2013

This is just the kind of behaviour that makes drivers view protests - like the one at Bow yesterday - with contempt. They then drive on while muttering 'cyclists on their soap-box again' This was pretty much the kind of idiocy the Boris was refering to earlier today. Last week, passed a female riding barefoot! No supprise that even though it was dusk she had no Hi-Vis, no hemet and no LIGHTS!! I am I the only one that can't believe many more cyclists are not hit!

This is exactly what we want to see more of. People on bikes, relaxed, taking their time, going so slowly they feel comfortable holding an umbrella to keep the rain at bay.

An everyday, ordinary, run of the mill sight in the Netherlands. Bliss.

Next time, remember that cyclists get enough hassle as it is, and keep your prejudices to yourself. 

p.s. I think you are all as bad as Boris Johnson himself, whose negligence has caused 5 cyclist deaths in 9 days and is now systematically victim-blaming them all.

  • By Bas at 10:25am 15 November 2013

Why in the first place were you challenging her? What's wrong with carrying un umbrella? We need this kind of normal cycling, not the time trial cyclism.

  • By Stily1 at 11:29am 15 November 2013

I have to agree - legal or not is irrelevant, it's inappropriate for the roadway. Umbrella on a bicycle in a quiet country park, yeah, fine, but on the streets of London? Thoughtless and therefor inconsiderate and irresponsible. And as to the claims of Boris both somehow causing, and then blaming, cyclists for their own fate, I cycle commute in London and the WORST part of my daily commute is 10% of other cyclists who don't seem to think their actions through, don't take responsibility for themselves, and feel they are above the rules of the road (let alone comon decency). Boris has both done a huge amount for London cyclists, and has a very valid point that some of us are not helping matters.

Whether you feel some cyclists fail to take responsibility for themselves or not, I - as a cyclist - am not responsible for the actions of others.

"We" are not a group - just individuals going to work, or home to see the family, or out to meet our friends. There will be many people who ride bikes and simply don't identify themselves as cycilsts.

As a driver I do not view protests with contempt, or tar all cyclists with the same brush based on my idea of a misdemeanour. 

The problem here is that yet another cyclist thinks they are invincible, or more likely doesn't thnk at all.  When will people on bikes realise that they are totally vulnerable to all kinds of dnager - imagine, somethng as random as a gust of wind could have pulled her into the path of a passing vehicle thanks to the carrying of her unbrella. 

Agree with the post earlier that cycling without a care in the world is ok in a park, but for God's sake, why woudl you do it on a main road in London? 

It the vast majority of criticisms of cyclists by other road users are for the extremes -  The time trialist and the Mary Poppins.  Neither are representative of the vast majority of cyclists, both put themselves at risk and give us a bad name. 

There has to be recognition by cyclists that at the moment the streets are dangerous.  We cannot and should not rely on other road users to stay safe. We have to keep our wits about us, be fully aware of what is going on around us and the potential for vehicles and pedestrians to pull out, turn across us, step of kerbs etc.

The "I'm alright Jack" and "I have to be first" attitudes don't help.  We should start looking out for each other.  I regularly position myself to stop other cyclists going up the inside of lorries and buses and receive abuse for doing so.  


Let's challenge each other when we see someone doing something stupid, be it jumping lights or carrying an umbrella.  And if you get challenged acknowledge that you may be in the wrong and say "thank you for looking out for me".  Cyclist might then be seen as a positive presence on London’s roads.

  • By showes at 6:09pm 15 November 2013

This deluded idea that if we all behave motorists will treat us better is bullshit and that it keeps coming up on this forum tells me that people dont understand how outgrouping works. Motorists who want to find issues with cyclists always will. I have talked to motorists who complain about cyclists cycling on the pavement only to find out they are talking about a shared use path, motorists who complain about complain about cyclists not using cycle lanes as they though it was manditory. I my self have been harrased by a motorists who felt I was taking up all of the road on a section where I felt it was too narrow to overtake.

If you really think you are going to police other cyclists and this will make other road users like us your a idiot and if you challeged me while I was doing somthing that perfectly legal and going about my business I would tell you to go and fuck yourself. Your not making other road users like cyclists your just pissing someone off.

  • By phufbl at 1:23am 17 November 2013

Was she actually doing anything dangerous while holding the umbrella?

She could only use one brake, but then I'm guessing she was travelling pretty slowly so her stopping distance would be short. I think the claim that she could be blown by a gust of wind with the umbrella as a sail is a bit far fetched. It might not even have been a windy day.

I don't agree with wearing earphones - but then that discussion is raging on elsewhere.

I don't think I agree with the concept of challenging each other either, even if you think someone else is wrong do you think causing an argument with that person will help? We all make our own decisions and there is far too much aggro out on the road already without creating more.

There is guy on my commute who sings out loud and he doesnt have head phones or listen to music.  I am gonna tell him to shut up......

  • By Fran at 11:28am 21 November 2013
Just google the word "bicycle" and look at images from Denmark, Holland or anywhere in Asia. You'd find that you are the minority. UK is one of the few countries on the planet where cycling means dressing up like you're out for mountain expeditions. The roads are seen as a battlefield and the motorists are the enemies. The fact that you feel that you have the right to hassle someone not cycling like a terrified canary that glows in the dark is not only laughable but sad at the same time. It shows what a long way we have to go. And funny enough, there is a phenomena called "Mary Poppins affect" being observed worldwide where they found that motorists show significantly more consideration and care when interacting with cyclists who look like normal pedestrians. I.e. no armour nor aggression. And I know it's true because I experience it everyday. I find cycling in London safe and motorists to be very friendly and kind. I highly recommend it.

This post was edited by Fran at 11:45am 21 November 2013.

  • By Kepi192 at 12:35am 22 November 2013

showers, you are probably just the kind of foolish individual Boris(and just for the record he did not blame any of the deceased riders for their own demise) was having a go at, some one who believes he can do what he wants on the road and the rest of the world can whistle. If I ever have to speak to you about what I feel is dangerous or foolish cycling and you told me to fuckoff your health would take an immediate and rapid down turn as a result of your head making repeated highspeed contact with my fist. HGV drivers would be the least of your worries. If you can't comment without the use of offensive language maybe you should just keep quiet.

  • By phufbl at 9:41am 22 November 2013

Threats of violence are completely intolerable.

Making personal remarks or insults only cause a discussion to become completely derailed and unproductive.

Please self-moderate. 

  • By Duncan at 8:46pm 28 November 2013
Criticising a complete stranger is never going to be well received. It's tempting to add my own expletive on behalf of Ms Poppins.
  • By badgery at 12:45am 29 November 2013

I try to carry something small and chuckable yet heavy in a drink container on my handlebars, in case of motorists who do dangerous and selfish things on the occasions that they can't be caught up.

It's the cyclist police like people like DMhammond and Kepi (who in these last, victim blaming, couple of weeks have come out of the woodwork with a lot more than 'fuck off' in response to actions which don't affect them) who are driving my developingt of a weapon that can be used against bikes in front, rather than cars. 

Until then, I'll have to hope that I manage to overtake these self-righteous pricks and extend an invitation to try and get a fist anywhere near me. It doesn't take these types long to demonstrate that reasoning is futile, but I have a fallback.

Wonder who'll see sense first? I'm in no hurry to.

  • By showes at 12:51am 29 November 2013

Big man Kepi192 thretening to punch someone on the internet so very very brave. You are a klod stop hastling other road users and worry about yourself.

Well if she didn't have an umbrella bracket on the bike then a cycling cape would be better, coz leaves her hand on the 'bars. But points for style over practicality!

Long flowing hair apparently does keep some drivers further away, but 'Wig Lids' have not caught on :-) Nor have Air-Bag helmets, etc. Seems best way to stay safe is ride defensively and wobble like you could fall off at any moment with highly visible 'boxes' that could scratch vehicle bodywork ;-)

What happened to those sprung reflector arms, sticking out to right, hopefully giving rider another foots clearance? nicknamed W...y Wavers? :-D

There seems to be an awful lot of aggression here. I cycle every single day and I get just as annoyed by cyclists, motorists, van drivers or pedestrians who do stupid and at times dangerous things. This is part of living in one of the worlds most amazing and, yes, busiest cities. People SHOULD be able to cycle slowly or fast wearing whatever they like. And I take issue with the one person who seemed to equate dressing in 'cycling' gear with appearing or being aggressive. I don't find cycling for an hour in jeans or a business suit practical or comfortable. Putting on padded Lycra cycling shorts and a helmet does not make me switch from mild mannered to a maniac. And it's time we got rid if this prejudice
  • By bigpete at 7:55am 27 July 2014

Yes it is just you.

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