I really like your app. I’ve been using it for many years now. In the early days and as an early adopter I even managed to be King of the Mountain once or twice. Or at least on those hillocks (that’s a better description) so far off the beaten track absolutely nobody else had heard of them, let alone ridden up them. Now I have to settle for Local Legend which again is easy to achieve when you live in the middle of nowhere. But that’s not why I’m writing.
No, I’d like the boffins at Strava HQ to invent a new category of winner. Or perhaps I should say loser. I suggest you call it Local Bellend.
Here’s how it’d work. Cyclists earn points for being polite, not just to one another but to other road users too, including pedestrians (no more seeing how far out of their skins you can make them jump) and horse riders (no more seeing how far you can make them fall). Say “hello” or “good morning” or “what a gorgeous day to be alive” or “coming through” and you’d get, say, 5 points per politeness. Okay, I appreciate it may be a bit tricky to design and will require accessing our ride computer or phone microphones. But, hey, if GCHQ and Google can eavesdrop on us why not Strava, eh Alexa?
Now at the end of each week or month the cyclist with the fewest points would become the Local Bellend. One you wouldn’t want for your virtual trophy cabinet. But one I reckon there’d be stiff competition for.
I’ve been experimenting. When I go out on my state-of-the art, carbon-fibre, weighs-less-than-a-sparrow road bike, clad only in the most eye-wateringly expensive (and eye watering) stretch Lycra, fellow cyclists on similar bikes and in similar clothing say “hi” or, at the very least, raise their eyebrows slightly skywards (it strikes me it’s about the only part of their body they don’t shave or pluck).
When I go out on my mountain bike wearing mud-spattered baggy shorts and a sweatshirt, the same cyclists treat me without so much as a wave. Fellow mountain bikers, however, don’t just wave, they do a bunny hop or a back flip or a forward roll. Like puppies pleased to see another puppy.
A kind of cycling apartheid has emerged. Elitism might be a better word. What I call cyclism. And it’s got to stop. So calling out these cyclistes for what they are – Local Bellends – would be a good place to start. What do these guys (and it is manly guys I’ve found) call their rides when they get home? Misery guts? Bah humbug? Stop the world I want to get off? I’ll have to update You Can See the Dags to accommodate.
I guess it might take a few weeks for you to update the Strava app. In the meantime I urge polite cyclists everywhere to do what I do when confronted with a rude one. Call out (under your breath if they look bigger and faster than you) “Bellend!” Makes me feel better anyway.
You can read my other cycling-related posts here (if you’ve got nothing better to do – like go for an actual ride).
We Are Cycling UK
British Horse Society