Cycling Etiquette: Let down by my fellow roadies!

The back had been playing up again over the weekend so I took Sunday off, but felt better today so I decided to take it for a spin to see how it fared. I headed up into the hills nearby, enjoying the return to the bike and the rather haunting mist that shrouded the valleys.

'Turneresque', I thought, having just watched the excellent Mr. Turner the night before!
‘Turneresque’, I thought, having just watched the excellent Mr. Turner the night before…

I dilly-dallied a bit, poked and a-pottered a tad, and sniffed the odd tree and maybe possibly had a pee here and there, as is my wont, and was just having a fine old time all told, spinning around and messing about with the camera on my phone.



Taiwan is a stunning place to ride it really is, with fantastic year-round weather. This time of year is my favorite in fact, with perfect riding weather (17 degrees today) just about daily.


DSC_0413 - Version 2

After riding for 45 minutes on the plateau I headed back down the hill to town, and psssssssst – no, I didn’t encounter a seedy dude wearing a trench coat trying to sell me watches, but I did get a flat, front tire. No worries, I didn’t crash and I did have a brand new spare – which wouldn’t inflate. Grrrrr. Something wrong with the valve! Well, ok no problem, I’ve got the old puncture kit…. ah, yes, the one with all the patches dried up and useless. Great.

I realised I’d have to just walk down the steep bits and on the corners and drift down the straights, unless a biker came down or up the hill, a real possibility seeing as I was on one of the most popular hills in the area. Not more than a  minute after thinking that, a guy whizzed by me on a road bike, all kitted up, obviously someone who’d have a spare tube or a repair kit.

Did he stop? Did he balls! I shouted after him once, twice, but still he never looked back. As he rounded the bend I shouted ‘YOU F%&$@R!’ definitely loud enough for him to hear because I saw him turning around as he slipped out of sight round the bend. A pox on his head, be damned him!

Honestly, how could you see a fellow roadie walking his bike on a damp descent, a good 5km from the nearest town of any note, and not wonder if he or she had a problem? I always slow down and ask people if they are OK even if I see them only fixing a flat, just in case. It’s just common courtesy, right?

Well, apparently not.

As I was still cursing the guy and his bike in my head, another guy flew past me! He didn’t even get a hopeful ‘Hey!‘ from me, just a mouthful of curses that’d make a sailor blush. I was spitting feathers. The absolute arse.

Finally after a good 25 minutes of walking, slipping and drifting on far too expensive carbon rims (sorry Blk Tec), I came to a 7-11. They had, as many 7s here do, a pump for all to use, and, amazingly, a tool kit too!



Brilliant! Surely it’d have a puncture kit in it!

Well, it had some weird stuff in it but a puncture kit? Erm, no.


And that’s why I’ll never ride a Merida.

And I’ll STILL stop next time I see someone by the side of the road. Why? Cos you should. It could be you some day.

Just don’t stop if it’s a fat bloke in a pink Giro jersey or a skinny arsed munter in a BMC kit….


Author: Lee Rodgers

Cycling coach, race organiser, former professional cyclist and the original CrankPunk.

7 thoughts

  1. Amen. I’ll never understand this. I once passed a guy on my commute home (in London) – he was on the edge of a very heavily travelled cycle path standing next to his upended bike. I stopped and asked if he needed help; turns out he was in the same predicament as you. I had both extra tubes and a patch kit, and he told me that I was the first person to stop for 45 minutes. WTF indeed. And I think it’s even more egregious out on a rural road that is frequented by other cyclists. Pretty depressing if I’m honest…

    1. Cheers for the comment Sam. Yeah my vitriol was intended to be a little tongue in cheek but actually, looking back, it was very real. Guess these aren’t the kind of folk you want walking past if you’re getting mugged either…!

  2. It’s a bit crappy I admit, but going out with dried patches… tut. I’m also in the category of asking people if they need help. Over summer I was in the alps doing a long MTB ride with friends and one got a puncture heading into a bike park run. I stopped with him and other than one passer by, nobody asked if we needed anything. Half way through the fix, a beautiful blonde girl got a puncture just past us and within 30 seconds of taking off her helmet had half a dozen people trying to help her.

    The moral of the story? Don’t be a tattooed bloke on a road bike, be a cute blonde girl on a DH bike. Probably not helpful I know.

  3. At least it was warm… warm-ish? I have flatted more than once in -8 C temperatures & yes, certain people still roll by. Once and a while, people are kind and do ask, and I know I do (which sometimes gets surprised/are you an axe murderer? looks), but common manners and courtesy seem to taken a hit in recent times. Unfortunately, there isn’t panacea to fix this to my knowledge.

  4. I encountered an opposite situation a few years ago coming back into town. There was road construction so the road was reduced to a single lane and I road with the traffic. I flatted in a patch of gravel. No mind I thought, easy enough to fix. The valve stem in my spare was damaged making the “new” tube useless. I called my wife and asked for an assist as I had tem miles to the house. I sat in the shade on the side of the road near a corner waiting. After a few minutes, a car pulls near and the “gentleman” asks if I was ok. “No problem, I’m waiting for a ride, thanks” I say. What followed was a mystery as to what set him off, but I endured a profanity laced tirade ending with “and I though cyclists were supposed to be friendly.” I just looked at him, shocked. He got back in his car, and screams some other profane phrase and drives off.

Leave a Reply