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Last week me and my friend were riding home from University. Not that it should matter but I’d had a really awful day and was feeling super emotional as it was and we were on our way home to have a nice night in. As we were pulling up to some traffic lights in Aldgate i noticed a white van had slowed to my pace. The driver honked and we turned around to see an incredibly creepy and suggestive expression upon his face. He started revving the engine in an increasingly suggestive and menacing manner, and smiling scarily. I jut looked at him and motioned for him to drive on ahead of me to the lights as I didn’t like the idea of being in front of him, stuck at the lights in the bike bay where road safety dictates I should have been. When he refused to move and just sat stationary next to me and my friend, revving his engine over and over again and staring at us with a sly smile on his face, i swore at him out of frustration and rode round to the right hand side of his van where i needed to be to turn right, towards Whitechapel. My friend stayed where she was and banged on his window to ask him to stop being so rude. I think he just laughed and kept revving his engine at us. I was scared because in situations like that, all you want to do is get away from the driver, you don’t know what he might do, and as a result your road safety awareness becomes jepoardised. We managed to get out of his revving reach but were creeped out and wound up the whole way home. Apart from anything else its really dangerous to distract cyclists.
Then yesterday i was riding home from work along Victoria Embankment which can be slow when its busy. I was waiting for the traffic to move off when i was honked at and turned to see two men in a small white van leering at my bum. I was stuck in the traffic and couldn’t move, the passenger had wound his window down (on the coldest day of the year) and was leant right out giving me (my bum, where his eyes were fixated)an approving nod, as if to say ‘yeah, well done, you’ve impressed me’. I didn’t want to impress him, I just wanted to ride my hangover off. Not too long after that a group of men in a van honked and shouted something incomprehensible out of the window. Being a naturally very jumpy person, it really shook me. Not a big deal one might argue, but i do wonder, are men equally targeted with that kind of behaviour when riding their bikes?
As if you don’t get patronised enough by men in bike shops as a female cyclist, when you learn the skills to build your own bike and get great pleasure from riding it around, and you are still made to feel like the prey of men all around you, its really disheartening. And I hope I do not sound arrogant but I have it from a number of sources that men enjoy the image of a woman in a riding position. It sucks