The editor of glossy listings title The Richmond Magazine has done a partial backpedal today after invoking the wrath of cyclists.
Nye wrote how the Olympics had temporarily altered his view of cyclists:
After years of sullen rage against the cycling fraternity – as a daily driver on busy roads, I tend towards the temperate view that the only good cyclist is a dead one – I suddenly found myself experiencing strange feelings of attachment towards the pedal stars of Team GB.
He later described a drive home from a long day at work:
“Bastardo!” I yelled at the windscreen. “Cycling swinehunt! Two-wheeled son of Beelzebub!” A huge wave of relief surged through me. At last I was back to normal.
Bike Biz reported that a bike shop had withdrawn advertising from the glossy listings mag and pointed out that only yesterday Your Local Guardian reported the death of an elderly cyclist killed in Walton, a few miles from Richmond.
Nye tweeted via the @TheRichmondMag account to say:
I am astonished at the reaction to my blog, which had nothing to do with cyclists being killed. I would never joke about such a thing. People have misunderstood my use of phrase.
The @TheRichmondMag then tweeted to say that Nye was on holiday, promising the post an update today.
The Times (paywall), which runs a safe cycling campaign, has got hold of Nye. He reportedly told the news outlet:
With regard to my remark about the only good cyclist being a dead one, it is just a phrase, like people who said during the Cold War that ‘the only good Russian is a dead one’. It’s a standard English phrase. It doesn’t actually mean you want to see that person dead. I absolutely don’t wish cyclists any ill.
I was suggesting that I used to be really angry at cyclists, then we all had this cycling love-in at the Olympics, and then to my relief I went back to being this angry person again. That’s not actually something to be relieved about. It had irony written all over it. I don’t shout such things at cyclists.
If I were writing the piece again, I perhaps wouldn’t choose to use that phrase and if there are individuals out there who have suffered a painful loss as a result of a cycle accident, then to those individuals I am very sorry and it certainly wasn’t anywhere in my thoughts at all to think about cycling fatalities when I wrote that line.
This wasn’t a deadly serious piece. It was a slightly ironic piece aimed as much at my own eccentricity as anything else.
Commenting on the interview to The Times, Bike Biz adds:
However, digging a hole for himself, he added “a lot of cyclists behave in ways that don’t help anyone, least of all themselves”.