Urban Roadlife: A Spotter's
illustrations by Paul Davies
text by Simon Levermore
Homo cyclicus deficiens
Slower than Cycles and consuming far more energy to move, they often display an almost magnetic attraction to cycle paths. Some show signs of dulled senses -- expect them to step out into the road without looking. Otherwise, relatively harmless.
Tinnus boxii "Road Rage"
This species has reached plague proportions on British roads. They are brightly coloured, relatively fast moving and usually come with three spare seats and a heater. Habitually misinterpreted as personal freedom enhancers. Treat with caution. More predictable if contact can be made with their human companions.
Tinnus boxii forhire
The same genus as the car but accompanied by a professional carherd. Usually more aware of Cycles than its cousin, but can be prone to violent swerves to the curb brought about by cries from Pedestrians.
Hireus x hertz et al
Bigger than a car, poorly sighted and often under the temporary control of a carherd with little previous experience of handling a larger beast. Movements can be erratic and highly dangerous. They also have the unfortunate habit of emptying their stomach contents all over the road if not reined in properly. Vans display a variety of plumage but the white ones seem particularly slow witted and appear to be completely unaware of the existence of any other living creature.
A genetically modified organism combining the very worst of both a car and a van. Impossible to predict the effect it may have on other roadlife. Enough said.
Large, unpredictable and with bad breath, they usually hunt in packs. Invade their territory and they'll harass you constantly -- pulling in, pulling out, pulling in... Cycles are well advised to avoid close proximity but, inexplicably, Pedestrians seem drawn to them.
Hydraulicus elephantalis "Metal Mammoth"
Massive, slow to react, hard to stop in a hurry and nearly blind. It's a blessing that these menacing brutes are usually controlled by professional tamers. Cycles have been known to momentarily befriend them when emerging onto a busy road. Otherwise, all forms of roadlife would do well to give them a wide berth and never get on their bad side at a left hand bend.
Homo velocitas "Free as air"
Small, light, silently manoeuvrable, occasionally vulnerable. Once thought to be an endangered species but now seen in increasing numbers on the streets of Britain (well, we can dream, can't we?). The most efficient creature on the planet. Awe-inspiring. Does have a tendency to think it owns the road.