Helen Pidd had written a piece for the Guardian about a recent encounter with a group of motorcyclists while out riding. One of whom gave Pidd a firm slap on the bottom as he overtook her.
Understandably, this caught Pidd by surprise, she struggled to steady the bike and promptly burst into tears. A natural reaction when you are caught unaware and in a very vulnerable situation.
I was pretty shocked however that this had actually happened. Aside from how inappropriate the bottom slapping is in general, these men clearly did not realise that they could have caused Pidd serious injury if she had come off the bike.
Curious to know if this was an isolated incident or something that happens regularly, I turned to my trusty fountain of knowledge – Google. Unfortunately my findings were not very positive.
Reports of a Benny Hill-style gang who lean out of cars to slap the bottoms of female riders graced the pages of the Daily Mail, a Facebook Group entitled ‘Slapping cyclists arse’s as you drive by’ and a report of a broken collarbone due to a rider coming off her bike after receiving a swift slap to her backside in an Australian newspaper were a just a snapshot of my findings.
Frankly, it's really disturbing that this is happening. I am on my bike a lot and bar the odd builder’s wolf whistle, I have never received any attention from the opposite sex while out in my lycra. Perhaps I need to work on getting a better bottom!
But jokes aside, it's not good to hear that this is happening on the road. So much work has been done to encourage women into the sport thanks to initiatives like the Breeze Network, female only cycling clubs and large scale events like The Women’s Tour, it would be such a shame to see this hard work undone by a couple of louts.