Of cyclists, and, er, wankers

You know how the best ideas come up in the pub? Let Dawn explain:

I taught myself to cycle about two years ago, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time… [But] one thing that remained constant, and was a surprise to me, as a new road user and cyclist: the sheer volume of abuse I received whilst cycling. As a pedestrian, people occasionally shouted comments as they drove past, but this didn’t happen more than 3 times a month usually.

Moving to London increased this: I don’t necessarily think it’s more prevalent in London, but suddenly I was cycling on average 15 miles more a day, always on busy main roads. I passed far, far more cars, and this meant that incidents were more frequent. It didn’t matter what I wore. Whether I was cycling in a low-cut dress, or my gym gear, the incidents persisted, the comments were always asinine, and often lewd and explicit. Aside from the air pollution, it was the only thing spoiling my two-wheeled adventures around the capital. Male friends were always horrified, but intrigued by the kind of things people shouted at me. Female pals wanted to share their own stories and vent.

One evening after an altercation with the driver of a company vehicle I was drinking with some friends. They suggested I record all of the comments asked the familiar question: “Where are the morons concentrated?” I wasn’t sure, but suggested that I might make a map of the incidents and write down what happened. And so the idea for the blog was formed.

I was there when the idea was born, and I’m pleased to see 101 Wankers has generated so much interest. Dawn’s commute takes her right through this part of south-east London, and looks set to shed a bit of light on the unpalatable truth that many men act like, well, wankers when they get behind the wheel. Hopefully it might even get some of these cowards into trouble.

Ironically, and sadly, the conversation actually took place in a Charlton pub where the women in our party had to put up with some Neanderthal bullshit from the punters.

The White Swan might have pretensions to being a nicer pub these days – but while the tatty carpet has been ripped out and olives placed on the bar, we got grief for buying our female friends pints instead of “ladies’ drinks”. To do up a pub is one thing, but to end up winding the clock back to 1971 is another. In fact, with these leering idiots and bare floors, the place felt more unwelcoming than it had done when it was a grimier boozer. The upside is that it’s open until midnight and that the new boss seems a nice guy, but I don’t think we got off to a brilliant start after that welcome from his customers.

It’s a crying shame – maybe inevitable because Charlton is not brilliant drinking territory anyway, but I was really hoping for so much better.

5 comments

  1. Bloody hell, I’ve been drinking pints of bitter in pubs since 1983 and I’ve never once had a comment about “ladies’ drinks”. Maybe it’s my beard…

  2. I used to work in a pub in the mid-90s and some posh men did occasionally ask for “a ladies’ glass” if they were buying drinks for their partners.

    I imagine these idiots were trying to make a clumsy joke, but I got the feeling they’d rather not have been troubled by our company.

  3. I’ve been to pubs in remote Cornish villages, and the regulars weren’t as caricatureish as the barflies in the White Swan. Shame, because it seemed a nice pub. Pretty sure the condom machines were older than me and C though.

  4. That is a shame because the landlord and his missus have done their best to turn the White Swan around with limited cash. Maybe the locals don’t deserve a decent boozer*

    *not you Darryl 😉

  5. It’s certainly a better pub than it was, but that’s not too hard. With the exception of the unlamented Valley, it used to be worst in the area. Although the pub has been improved, they can’t easily find a better class of clientele.

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