Now, this is going to sound a bit weird.
When riding along the canal path I like to do accents. Irish, Scottish, general Northern, German, vaguely Eastern European nobility, any accent I feel is fitting for the situation. I have discovered that when you pass someone walking the canal and give a cheery “Hello!”, or “Tanks!” as they let you pass, you get a varying level of respect depending on the person and accent used.
The Crusty Jugglers who live on the boats get the full Irish. They generally despise people on bicycles (and after the way I’ve seen some foolish fools zoom along with no regard for life itself I’m not surprised) so they get a terrible, verging-on-racist Irish impersonation. Result: total politeness and unearned respect. Don’t ask me why it works, but I does.
Dodgy groups of youths get a cliché, no-nonsense Yorkshire man, Workmen: Cockney, Drunks: Scottish, Little old Ladies walking dogs: Over-the-top Gary Oldman style Dracula (just for fun), Middle-class Joggers: German. One accent I never do is North American, sorry guys, but for some reason no-one seems to find you lot agreeable.
I know it sounds mad, but it keeps me sane. I think.