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  • Take on the devil’s own delivery men – London’s couriers

    Earlier last week I was hailed by a neighbour as I was passing the Duke of York on Clerkenwell Road. For anyone who’s never passed it, the Duke of York is the couriers’ pub of choice. Of the various cycle tribes in London, none are more wilfully offensive than cycle couriers. Case in point is their use of the Duke: while these urban gibbons are happy enough to cluster, whoop and drop litter on the pavement outside, their patronage doesn’t seem to extend to buying a drink there. Instead they shop at the offie a few doors down. ‘Just follow my lead,’ said my neighbour, a courier, when it was time for us to go home. Had I done as he suggested I would have jumped the red light at the busy Farringdon Road junction, and again at St John’s Street, ridden slap bang in the middle of Old Street, using my hands only to give the finger to other road users, and finally turned the wrong way into Columbia Road. Bending the rules, which I sanction, is one thing: snapping them in half is another. When I quizzed him he justified his behaviour by saying that his take-no-prisoners attitude was a response to aggressive drivers who were in any case planet-wrecking bastards. Anarchic behaviour under the guise of protest is selfish and self-defeating. It undercuts any reasonable debate or considered protest that London cyclists can make about poor conditions.

    Route rating

    Miles Four (but felt like ten, Clerkenwell Road to Columbia Road)Average cycle time 20 minutesCalories burned 180
    Road rules flouted
    At least five

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