If you've had the misfortune to drive in the metropolitan area recently you'll have noticed the upsurge in the number of cyclists using our already overstuffed roads. They'll be the ones dodging in and out of the taxis and bendy-buses, the urban warriors in all black and shades tear-arsing off the lights to work in media planning and buying agencies.
For some people this seems to be the point, the highlight of their day. They tailor their bikes carefully so as to suggest that they actually live underground, ride posh racing bikes, mountain bikes, stripped-back ex-professional bikes from the continent, the very height of fashion.
And the London major Boris Johnson has decided to feed the capital's current appetite for cycling with the introduction of a city-wide cycle hire scheme, the results of which can be seen in the form of cute but cumbersome machines lined up across the city.
These bikes only add to the huge volume of cycle traffic now visible at all times on seemingly all roads. Morning rush hour is particularly impressive as cyclists flock into the central areas. What surprises you most is how tolerant other road users are of what can only be described as an ill-disciplined and opportunistic rabble hanging off bollards and squeezing down the side of stationary public vehicles.
It doesn't have to be like this of course. It may be disingenuous here to refer to the Dutch transport model, that well-oiled process whereby everybody including families all stacked onto the same sensible bike, but this has to be the metropolitan ideal. Holland is bisected by dedicated cycleways which protect both cyclist and motorist by dividing them into their own lanes, rarely to be met.
The Dutch infrastructure was redesigned post-war with cycling incorporated into the very fabric of the nation. They have always been serious about their liberties in Holland and for them the bicycle is the ultimate symbol of this liberty.
Dutch pragmatism, with so many people living in such a cramped space, will have to be mimicked here in the UK also if we are serious about taking on cycling. Britain is encumbered by her history and historical routeways yet these are going to need a major revamping if we're serious not just about cycling but about making an inclusive transport system work.
It would be nice to see people getting off their stupid custom-built machines also, adopting a more civil approach to commuting.
Any changes will be good news for car owners who, in certain parts of the city at least, are finding themselves deprioritised, lost. The car is being squeezed by the bicycle, yet any reduction in the number of car users will have the paradoxical effect of improving conditions on the road for other drivers.