CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Editor’s comment: January 2018

PUBLISHED: 11:35 22 December 2017

Look at them. They're just laughing at me.

Look at them. They're just laughing at me.


“I know I’m on dangerous ground here, but we have to talk about cyclists.”

I have the great fortune to live in a village at the centre of a network of single-track lanes. One of the benefits of this is that there is little through traffic apart from the occasional weekend when van-loads of motocross riders from Swindon and Bristol shatter the tranquillity of a nearby field.

The downsides are twofold. Firstly, we have an excellent primary school in the village which attracts pupils from far and wide. This means that school run time is fraught with danger as little Sebastian and Charlotte are ferried around in four-wheel drives by harassed mothers who don’t know how to reverse their monster trucks or successfully identify a passing place. Secondly, our idyllic location means that we live on a very popular cycle route, which means that you almost always come across one variety or another of the bike-bound breed every time you go out, from recreational couples to packs of pink-shirted club members.

Most of them are thoroughly decent folk, appreciating that you’ve been trundling behind them for some time and so looking for a place you can safely pass. However, however... every now and then a two-wheeled terrorist turns up and tempers soon fray. You know the sort – a militant eco-warrior who is perpetually angry at the world and resents motorists even though we pay for the tarmac he’s riding along. (Mind you, I’d be angry if I only ever ate kale and turnips.) This chap – always a chap – will ride along in the middle of the road positively daring you to come within 10 yards of his rear mudguard. Enter his self-declared personal space and you’ll be roundly abused. I must admit that the temptation to nudge him along a little is never far away.

I got onto this subject because a survey – yes, another one – has declared that cyclists riding side by side on rural roads are the biggest bugbear of drivers, with 54% registering them as the hazard which causes most anger. Almost one in four (23%) react to this annoyance by shouting, beeping their horn (34%) or making inappropriate hand gestures (14%).

Other irritants include fly-tipping (37%), potholes (35%) and not giving way on narrow roads (34%). Alarmingly, frustrated drivers have been taking it out on our livestock, with 17% admitting to shouting at a sheep, 10% at a cow and 14% at a bird.

I don’t know about you, but if you have to start shouting at a poor sheep, you’re probably not safe to be on the road in the first place. Go and take your place on an anger management course, alongside our militant cyclist friend.


Of course, it’s not just cyclists that hinder your progress on narrow lanes. It’s also walkers, especially those wielding those ski pole things on the flat. Why, when you approach them, do they invariably split apart with each going to a different side of the road? Doesn’t it make sense for them both to stay on one side, making it easier for me to get past?

Look mate, I’m trying very hard not to splash you, but you’re not exactly helping.


Stroud MP David Drew is calling for the Cotswolds to be given National Park status as a means of boosting the local economy. Such a move would bring some certainty to planning issues and make additional funding available to businesses, including tourism.

With six local authorities across several counties, we do suffer from a lack of co-ordination. A Cotswolds National Park would give our region a united front in Westminster and beyond.

It’s a no-brainer. Get it done.

For more from Mike, follow him on Twitter! @cotslifeeditor


  • Mike, there's a pretty serious inaccuracy in your article. You imply that you, the driver, pay for the tarmac used by cyclists and walkers. This is a lie. Roads are paid for from general taxation. I'm also interested to hear how you justify egging on drivers bolder than yourself to commit violence.

    Report this comment

    Nadia Williams

    Thursday, December 28, 2017

  • I wonder if Mike has these fantasies about deliberately hitting people with his car when he drives past school? Four children were killed by drivers like Mike in the area this year, two of them were under five years old. Looks like Mike's eager to add to the tally. If Mike ever hurts anyone with his car he'll need the best of luck convincing the police it was an "accident" after sharing his violent fantasies in print. Good luck Mike!

    Report this comment

    Stan Bowles

    Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

More from Out & about


Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search