Cycling vs Everything Else



Never let an arsehole rent space inside your head.

So bikes and cars. Well there’s no disputing that the car would keep me drier (leaky sunroofs and soft tops aside). They are also quicker unless you happen to live in, or are trying to get around, one of our bigger city centres. You can listen and sing to your own music without looking strange or inviting scorn pouring and generally you tend to avoid sucking up a lung full of particulate. For this though you pay a price. Exorbitant fuel prices, over inflated maintenance costs paid to nerds with laptops calling themselves mechanics without so much as a dirty finger nail to show for their toil. Add to that congestion charges which don’t stop congestion, parking charges which, left unchecked, will soon eclipse the cost of road tax and the futility of having to put up with sadly inadequate and arrogant BMW drivers and self-righteous and over opinionated taxi drivers. All these things and more make the private motorist, quite rightly, pause for some introspection.

Finally enter the cyclist. Now I’m not saying a two-wheel conveyance is a perfect all round answer. There are still the elements to consider. For those who defy the meteorological caveats sternly issued by the sages of Exeter, a panoply of weather resistant clothing is available and advisable via the high street or by the click of a mouse. After all it was once said that there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. This, I concur, maybe stretching the whimsical somewhat but is nevertheless fundamentally true. Of course if presentation and aesthetics are an issue at your final destination, then walking in looking wetter than a fishes wet bits may not enhance your chance of promotion. However these occasions, although unpleasant while you’re sat there steaming like fresh manure on a frosty morning, thankfully are rare. The other piece of grit in the cyclist’s hub grease is of course our motor powered highway sharing contemporaries. Hard bitten cynics paranoid that all other road traffic is deliberately conspiring against them personally to ensure that they arrive late. Desperate to cover any inch of Tarmac so that no one else can, regardless of whether that’s a bus lane, cycle lane even pavements are sometimes considered fair game if they’ve got their hazard lights on! But that’s where my diatribe ends.

So just to reiterate, why do I ride bike? Well dampness and dickheads aside, like most of the things I enjoy, cycling’s beauty is in its simplicity. I do maintain my bikes but in essence they ask for very little and give plenty. They are the gift of freedom without the financial demand. Of course I’m not being unrealistic here. I know that modern bikes can easily run to thousands but that’s not the sort of rider I am. I don’t want to be daunted by my transport or it to be the cause of sleepless nights, I want to feel equal to it and a part of it. Riding or fettling, time spent with a bike is never wasted.

I have a car and am guilty of being a motorist. I have a family who don’t see the light like I do. I’m sanguine with that and have no desire to force my proclivities onto others. After all, a passion should come naturally. But I wonder at those who crook an eyebrow at the Lycra clad apparition wafting by as they sit locked in their sealed metal boxes on their daily commute. Do they ever feel the temptation to discard what they perceive as comfort and security, grasp a set of bars with both hands and give life to another wise inanimate collection of steel tubes and componentry.


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