The independent voice of rowing in Britain

The expert’s guide to Olympic road etiquette

Posted by rowingvoice on July 27, 2012

Hammer  ‘JKJ’ Smith writes:

“There is a blatant bumptiousness about an Olympic bus that has the knack of arousing every evil instinct in my nature, and I yearn for the good old days when you could go about and tell people what you thought of them with a hatchet and a bow and arrows. The expression of a man – or woman – who gazes down from a smoked glass window with a supercilious expression is sufficient to excuse a breach of the peace by itself; and the lordly honk for you to get out of the way would, I am confident, ensure a verdict of justifiable homicide from any jury of motorists.

If I may say so, without appearing boastful, I think I can honestly say that last week I caused more annoyance and delay and aggravation to Olympic charabancs than most of the taxis and white vans sharing my lanes in the metropolis.

Olympic chara approaching, I would spy in the wing mirror, and edge out to the white line to allow those noble cycling chaps, the best behaved and most law abiding people on the Queen’s highway, plenty of room to undertake me.  The vehicle behind would invariably make the same manoevre to try and see what the obstruction is ahead, and Olympic bus with its ruddy-faced pilot would be forced to a halt until the crocodile stretching for miles from West End to City to East End moved forward an inch or two.

It took me two and half days in the unsavoury company of white vans etc to reach the holy Olympic Park in a place called Stratford (which bears no resemblance to the propaganda of a sleepy tudor town beloved of the nation’s treasure, William Shakespeare, that we have been sold) only to discover that,  unless you already possess the precious accreditation that you have come all this way to obtain, you cannot get through the barbed wire to present yourself at the accreditation office.

I was about to embark on civil disobedience which I spied some rockets poking above a roof, and the place was crawling with troops in combat garb. Of course, Lord Coe is used to running round in circles, but he has lanes marked for his personal use. To say nothing of the BMWs and buses emblazoned with Olympic signage that treat the ordinary humble citizen with such disdain. Pah!

Rowing got there first

LOCOG should have studied rowing form before they mixed up the flags of North and South Korea. Rowing did it first in 1975 when the People’s Republic of China  first sent a team to a FISA championships, being held in Nottingham. The Chinese nationalist flag (Taiwan, formerly Formosa) was proudly flown in front of County Hall in West Bridgford, and an almighty argument followed which launched the world championships in a blaze of glorious publicity. Everything was eventually sorted by Nottingham and Union RC helping the Chinese mix the right shade of red for the blades borrowed from Union, and by local diplomat Martin Brnadon-Bravo and his wife Sally who hosted a 12-course banquet for invited dignitaries at the city’s Pagoda restaurant.

Hammer Smith

Bridge C, Olympic Park, Stratford


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