Of cyclists, black cabs, baseball bats and morbid obesity

Early yesterday evening, on Wimpole Street, London W1, one of our number of five cyclists was threatened by a baseball bat-wielding black cab driver who objected to us taking the lane around a busy junction on a narrow road during the evening rush hour. The incident was immediately phoned through to the police, who met us on Paddington Street and took details, including the vehicle registration number of the cab and description of the driver.

The officers informed us that while the carrying of a baseball bat is not in itself an offence, if questioned the driver is obliged to justify his carrying of the bat in the cab. Threatening violence is of course a criminal offence. Unless the driver can prove that he was on his way to a baseball game or practice, he may not have a leg to stand on. In any case, the bat was antique, coated with a deep red varnish. I doubt that it has ever been used in a sporting capacity.

Earlier in the day I was nearly run down by a black cab. After my shouting out (without expletives, at that point), the driver slowed down and hurled abuse at me through his nearside window.

“You fat cunt! You’re a fucking fat cunt!!”, screamed the cab driver. This was somewhat ironic, given that I have a body mass index in the middle of the healthy range, the driver is morbidly obese, and at the time he was chomping on a Greggs pastie whilst emitting a flurry of puff pastry flakes over himself and the upholstery of his vehicle.

I didn’t get the cab registration number, so the driver will get away with this one. I just hope that he chokes to death on his next pie (though not while the vehicle is moving).