At around 5 pm today, I went for a cycle with my friend MB. We met on Gamla Stan and quickly found ourselves in with the throng of cycling commuters. There were more people cycling than driving. It was like being in Amsterdam or a road bike race. I read recently that 10,000 people in Stockholm ride their bikes to work everyday. I think that I saw a good portion of these commuters along Skeppsbron.
As I was out for a while and I do ride about every day, I started to categorize the cyclists. The speedy ones are on racing bikes, clad in Lycra and wear their work clothes in backpacks. They are determined that no one should pass them and thus that they should pass everyone. On the days that I am feeling feisty and fast on the bike, I like to pass them just to really get them moving. The next subset would be the mountain bikers. These folks are everywhere, going over big curbs and making jumps so as try to keep up with the speedy Lycra guys. In terms of gear, the mountain bikers go both ways: they will wear Lycra or everyday clothes. The next category is by far the largest: the cruiser/commuter bikers. These are the people you see in suits and skirts, juggling briefcases and talking on the phone. Though often stylish to look at, this category can also be dangerous given their proclivity for talking on the phone. And they can also be daredevils in the form of women riding in very short skirts and very high heels.
But for me, the most annoying cyclists of all are the bell Nazis. These are the people who ride and continually ring their bells to let you know they are there. Although I don’t have a bell on my bike, I certainly can see the practical side of having one and letting people know you are there with a gentle jingle of the bell. That is reasonable. But the bell Nazis are relentless. They don’t stop their ringing, even when the coast is clear. It is like a nervous tick. I would like to push them and their bells into the Baltic.