British cyclists' collective success at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games might not have pleased everyone
The following letter did not appear in my local paper, and is reproduced here by the kind permission of no one at all.
I am writing to you today to say that I have been watching the splendid performances of the British Olympic team out in Brazil. I tuned in mainly in the hope of seeing some of the local lovelies on Copacabana Beach. I was disappointed in this, but on the other hand as I flicked from channel to channel, I was fortunate enough to catch some of the bicycling action from the velodrome.
I have to say that any group of Britishers who can leave Pierre Frenchie with a scowl on his face are all right by me. However, I have some concerns. What if some of the local youths were watching on their phones, and start getting ideas?
I don’t want to see my taxes rise just so they can have the bike lanes — which I campaigned against, incidentally — paved with Siberian pine that they might better imitate Bradley Wiggins. (I refuse to call him ‘Sir’, since I expect the Queen to strip him of his knighthood as soon as she returns from her holidays for sticking his tongue out during her anthem.)
Nor do I look forward to them adopting the eccentric riding style of sprinting, then slowing down and looking around to see if any of their friends are following them, sprinting again, slowing down, weaving around a bit and then finally looking for an innocent Korean to knock over. I don’t mind telling you that Mr Park from the local Korean restaurant is terrified.
That’s ignoring the danger they would pose to Kevin, the young man who drives the delivery scooter for our local pizza shop. It seems sadly inevitable that he’s going to spend the next four years living in fear of gangs of youths riding along behind him, before suddenly sprinting past a little bit too soon.
he fact that they’ll then stop to argue with each other for the next 20 minutes will be of small comfort, since then they’ll just be ready to ambush him again on his way home and repeat the whole sorry charade.
I also would like to point out that Kenny Jason and Laura Trott’s relationship will only encourage cyclists to breed. If the roads around here are any guide, there are rather too many of them already.
This brings me to my sixth, and I feel, most important point. I don’t mind watching cyclists win gold medals on the television, not at all, but I don’t want to have to watch hordes of them acting out their own private fantasies through my car windscreen.
I am a busy man, with places to go and I didn’t pay extra for alloy wheels on my Mondeo so that I’d look good driving it along at 20mph behind someone on his way to a fancy dress party dressed as Christopher Froop.
Practise makes perturbed
I accept that Olympic riders probably do have to practise somewhere. I would respectfully suggest that the best solution would be that only those cyclists who have an Olympic bronze medal or better be allowed to practise on the public road.
I willingly confess that I thought about it being a privilege reserved for gold medal winners only, but I didn’t want to seem like I was intolerant of riders who haven’t quite made the grade.
If I may sum up then, in short I very much admire cycling, and what it’s done for this country. I just think it’s a very great pity that it seems to involve so many damned cyclists.