Multiple Olympic gold medal winner Chris Hoy has emerged as one of Britain’s most vocal advocates for cycling. But he believes that some cyclists are doing the cause no good by their behaviour on the roads.
“When I’m out on a bike and I see someone doing something stupid I will absolutely have a word with them at the next set of lights,” he told the Telegraph’s Theo Merz in an interview.
Hoy gave a recent example, of a rider he’d chastised while in his home town of Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago.
He said: “There was a guy who was riding like an idiot, jumping lights, cutting up the pavement, and I just said: ‘You’re not helping matters here. If you want respect you have to earn it.’”
The response was stunned silence, perhaps at being told off by Scotland’s most famous cyclist, perhaps in amazement that someone had nothing better to do than police the behaviour of other cyclists.
Since retiring in 2013, Hoy has been developing his own bike brand with Evans Cycles, promoting family cycling, confusing football fans on Twitter who think he's a referee, and recently announced plans to get into car racing.
But he says cycling still matters to him and that’s why he gets annoyed with behaviour that, as he sees it, affects the perception of cyclists. He still wants to see more people on bikes.
“There are so many benefits to cycling,” he said. “It eases congestion, there are social benefits if you do it with someone else and of course there are the health benefits. It improves your cardiovascular system and you lose body fat.
“It’s particularly good if you haven’t exercised for a number of years. If you’re trying to run for the first time it puts strain on your joints, or people can have injuries that prevent them from doing that. But cycling is low impact, it’s easy for anyone at any level and it doesn’t have to be expensive.”
Hoy says he still gets out on the bike too.
“I still go cycling at least four times a week though,” he said. “Sometimes it’s to test models for my range and sometimes it’s purely for my own well-being. If I’m preaching about the benefits of exercise I can’t let myself go – and I wouldn’t want to.”
And of course, if he doesn’t ride, he doesn’t get to tell off those naughty red-light-jumpers.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.