DANGER! Spring time – cyclists stay off the road (Public Health Warning)

It must be on account of it being virtually spring. It affects people and animals in the strangest of ways – hares begin their annual boxing fest, trout start swimming up rivers to spawn and die, bears wake up and drivers appear to develop blind spots right where two wheeled conveyances should be. It must be seasonal…it’s the only answer, which will explain (without any need for scientific fact checking) why we are seeing the rise of the commendable I Pay Road Tax campaign during this season, and also less pleasingly (though not so surprising) ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser rabid comments encouraging owners of automobiles to practise those skills they developed in classic games such as Carmegeddon and Grand Theft Auto by running down cyclists.

Perhaps, the cyclists of Washington are particularly dreadful, foul mouthed wheel weaving lycra clad idiots who like to slap car bonnets in exasperation, blow raspberries at traffic jams, and generally make nuisances of themselves, but I sincerely doubt this. Any encouragement to knock my two wheeled brethren off their steeds is more than any right thinking human being should bear – bewheeled or not – which is why I salute that Colossus of the cycling road – Lance Armstrong – for accurately labelling Mr Kornheiser “Disgusting, ignorant, foolish. What a complete f-ing idiot” I will make the massive presumption that Wikipedia is correct, and wonder whether Kornheiser would direct his comments towards the drivers that  bypassed his children (two) as they first began their tentative revolution of the pedal all those years ago – or towards those who likewise would have given him the same courtesy when he first took to the roads (again I am throwing myself out on a limb here assuming he can ride a bicycle – then again perhaps he is like Nicholas Cage and verging on incapable)?

I can understand – even sympathise with his dislike (and sometimes disgust) with lycra on the road – it is not attractive to any but the fetish fuelled mind – but wearing it is not a crime punishable by death or grievous bodily harm. Gentle mocking perhaps…but not out right brutality that would be more in keeping with the senseless acts of violence that one reads that were perpetrated throughout the concentration camps of Malopolska and beyond. Anyway, the validity of lycra debate needs to continue after an initial foray earlier this month – and I will return to this topic another time, just not right now.

I have not heard the full rant (and probably will not be able to this side of the pond), but the comments are interesting in regard to his dislike of Beijing and that city’s famous relationship with cyclists. As far as I know, Beijing has given up the tinkle of bicycling bells for the cough and splutter of the combustion engine creating a swamp of traffic, hazardous for all to negotiate and time consuming do so as well. Why this should seem more attractive is beyond me, for surely a tide of constantly moving traffic (producing only the occasional bilious fume from the seat of the trouser as opposed to the constant phlegm of the catalytic converter) is the ideal compared to the hesitant stop start of rush hour – but hell what do I know? I apparently do not belong on the road…

I will hesitate to call Mr Kornheiser a bigoted narrow minded idiot with the sense of a sawdust stuffed sausage, for I know nothing of him beyond these rather foolish comments, but instead will allow him the leeway of spring which makes us all do and say mad things and hope that he is instead pulled from the air and given an opportunity to take out his rusty old Schwinn onto the new Washington cycle lane to experience both the joys of the ride, and the full terror of his comments.

[News story first read here]

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