Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who hit the headlines last year after a chasing after a group of would-be muggers on his bike, is once again out on two wheels crusading against anti-social behaviour, with litter louts this time in the firing line.
On his blog, Johnson recounts how while cycling home through the West End “at about the speed of an elderly French onion seller,” he felt something hit him on the side of his helmet, followed by “a shout of laughter to my right, and a cry of “You ——!”, and a car sped off up Shaftesbury Avenue.”
While his political colours may be firmly Tory blue, on this occasion, Johnson admits he “saw red” and put the hammer down in pursuit of the car, which he described as “some kind of Astra.”
As anyone who cycles regularly in Central London knows, when it comes to a race between a bike and a car, there’s only going to be one winner, and Johnson soon caught up with the miscreants at the next set of traffic lights where he “pounded on the window” – presumably the mayor is a cable rather than D-lock kind of guy – shouting “Open up!”
Johnson takes up the story: “There were three kids inside, and I could see the culprit goggling up at me with appalled recognition. They lurched off again in the hope of escape, but of course I had them at the next lights.”
Again he yelled at them to stop, telling the youths, “I am the mayor!” which elicited the response from the driver, “I know you is the mayor, and it was a accident.”
Johnson finally managed to get the car to stop in a street close to the British Museum, where he asked the trio why they had thrown something at his head.
“Please, Mr Boris sir, this wasn’t meant to happen,” said one.
“We know you is the mayor, man,” said another.
“We gotta lot of respect for the things you are doing,” added a third.
Eventually Johnson decided to let the three go on their way with the admonition, “look, just don’t throw things – er – at people’s heads, OK,” but his blood boiled again when he was told “it was only a piece of litter,” which he says costs London’s councils £100 million a year to clear up.
The three promised not to be quite so carefree with their litter again, and were soon on their way – but not before rather cheekily asking Johnson for a photo.
We’re not sure where the cycling crusader’s campaign will take him next, but rest assures, when Superboris rides again, we’ll bring you news of it here on road.cc.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.