Friday Musings: The Art of the Heckle

I’m sure most of you have been heckled before…it can be an unpleasant side effect of sharing the road with other users who don’t really understand why you’re out there.

And we’ve probably heard the same heckles over and over…you know, the “get on the sidewalk!” and the ever-popular “Hey Lance Armstrong!”. Yeah yeah…heard it all before. There is definitely an art to heckling…it’s tough to be creative with something that is clever, intelligible at high speed and for such a short duration of interaction between motorist/cyclist/pedestrian.

I asked the other writers here at if they’d share some of their favorite heckles. I didn’t get too much in the way of clever ones, but let’s hear what the crew has experienced:

RL has had a carload of men catcall and whistle at him. Personally, I rather like being whistled at or catcalled…call me vain, but it suggests to me that I’m easy on the eyes! RL agrees: “Wasn’t sure how to react at first, but took it as a compliment, I guess I still have it.”

Miriam has had a SUV-load of adolescents lean out the windows and bark like dogs at her. Also, “I did have a woman yell at me for a good three blocks on my first ever commute in Seattle calling me a f%#king bitch who needed to learn how to drive and did i want her to run me over?!”

Elizabeth had a pedestrian…yeah, someone on FOOT…shout “Buy a car!” at her. I find this one deliciously ironic…as my friend Chip back in Tampa had to say, “you think cyclists have it bad out there…you should try being a pedestrian — we’re third-class citizens!” Hollering at a cyclist to buy a car when you’re walking just defies reason. E thinks the lady was trying to impress her friends. I suggested she might have been drunk.

I asked some of our Facebook fans to recount their favorite heckles…the one that took the cake there was “Buy a horse!” Funny, weird, and original all in one.

So, what are some of the heckles you’ve heard out there? We’d love to hear them…just drop them in the comments below. Don’t worry about profanity if you’ve got a doozy to share.

About the author

Bicycle commuter since 1989, bicycle enthusiast for 30+ years. I am a Bookmobile/Books By Mail librarian at a large library system and the proud father of two wonderful boys.