Clapham Spitter

I was cycling to the bicycle repair shop and was going along at top speed on a gorgeous morning. A man cycling in the opposite direction spat at me as we passed. I was instantly shocked then slammed on the breaks shouting loudly COME ON!

The road was empty apart from us, so I stood at shouted at him: I called him a son of a b*** (I would NEVER normally call someone that – I think I was trying to find a phrase that was not too offensive!) and that I hoped he f****** fell off his bike (I considered ‘hit by a lorry’ but that seemed to be a bit harsh). He turned and said “ha, ha” (like words, not like a laugh). Some kind man stopped to ask if I was ok, and offered me to go and clean up at his place.

The adrenaline was running and I was a bit teary but managed to put on a smile an say that I was really fine and would treat myself to all kinds of nice things today. He said not to let it spoilt the day. It was so important to have someone stop and just validate what had happened. I’m in my 30s with a kid, was dressed in a completely conventional way and can’t think of why on earth he would have spat at me. I’m not sure if this was gender based (unlike other posters he wasn’t using gendered language), but I can’t see him doing that to a man on a bike?!

Maybe it was an accident but it seems unlikely given that there was literally no one else on the road, he could have spat the OTHER WAY and his response was anything but apologetic. I’m glad I stopped – it didn’t change what happened and maybe its funny to hear a stream of obscenities (does he do this often?!) but it made me feel better than just taking it. I kind of wish I had called him a coward because that’s exactly what it is to spit and run, or that I had cycled after him and just kept shouting at him. But to be honest, I’m not that fast on my bike and who has time to waste anyway. Instead I went to a charity shop and got three new t-shirts. Silver linings.