I try to cycle in to work; mostly because it's likely to be the only exercise I get all day what with the largely sedentary day-job which has me sitting in front of computers from nine to five. OK, so there is a gym here but it's at the top of a hill for god's sake!
Unfortunately, when you cycle you somehow end up becoming a third class citizen of the streets, sworn at and abused by car drivers and pedestrians alike, despite the myriad roadcrimes they themselves commit. This is even if you stick to the cyclepaths.
Car-drivers seem to assume that cyclepaths are intended for use as additional parking space, meaning that you have to swerve past them into the motorised traffic - and get sworn at by the other drivers for your trouble. This gets even worse when they park in the cycle lane and then open their door into your path when you're already swerving to avoid them (and getting sworn at by the other drivers for your trouble). Then there are the drivers emerging from the side streets who use the cyclepaths on the main road as a way of edging forward a few extra feet, meaning that you have to swerve past them into the motorised traffic - and get sworn at by the other drivers for your trouble.
Don't even talk to me about buses; suffice to say I'm not happy about them letting passengers step off the bus directly into your (cycle)path with the result that you end up with a broken arm...
This brings us to pedestrians, who are even worse. Where cyclepaths are on the road, pedestrians seem unable to see bikes and step out directly into your path, almost as if the mere fact of riding a bicycle renders you invisible. It would be interesting if that were indeed the case - you could just invade a country by putting all your soldiers on bicycles and they could ride into the capital without being noticed.
Then there is the behaviour of pedestrians when cyclepaths are on the pavement. Starry-eyed couples amble hand in hand down the section of the pavement reserved for your bike, oblivious to everything but their mutual love - and then tsk at you (or worse) when you have the audacity to ring your bell or say "Excuse me"... In this and other similar instances it seems that the cyclepaths themselves are rendered invisible, resulting in self-righteous indignant rants from the inhabitants of the sidewalk about how irresponsible you're being for cycling there...
Of course there are those cyclists who give all the rest of us a bad name. Cycling the wrong way down one-way streets, mounting the pavement, no helmet, no reflective gear, no lights at night, the assumption that they can just shoot through red traffic lights. These people are equally as deserving of your contempt as the aforementioned drivers and pedestrians, in fact more so as they're the cause of a lot of the ill feeling that the non-cyclists bear towards us.
But what can you do?
Link: Critical Mass Brighton