Regular visitors to this column may have noticed that the editor has been away on his holidays. To Brittany to be exact where the sun seems to shine a little bit more than in the UK and everybody but everybody rides a bike.

And here’s the bit you might not already know – absolutely nobody wears a helmet.

That last bit isn’t entirely true because I did encounter a few Brits and a group of Americans who had their lids on, but when it came to the locals there wasn’t a scrap of polystyrene in sight.

Being used to London roads it’s the complete opposite. Everyone wears protection these days, so much so that my French encounter was like step back in time.

There’s no obvious reason for the difference in attitude. Brittany has a considerable number of bike lanes but in holiday season the roads, especially in the towns, are every bit as crowded as in Britain. And they start them young. It made me nervous watching pre-school kids wobbling along the bike lanes with their parents.

Are the French simply reckless or is it that we’ve become risk obsessed this side of the channel?

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly