PENDLETON

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Words are really not necessary.

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Flashback (with no flash)

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_J5R2032Olympic Velodrome, Sainsbury’s School Games, May 2012.

I’d blagged my way to a free ticket, presumably on the basis that I’d bring my camera.  That was the day I fully appreciated just how hard it is to take photographs of bicycle racing.  These little bastards are fast.

Fabio Close wears number 55, and the scars from a crash the previous day.

Climate change…it’s all Christopher Reeves’ fault!

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Stepping outside to walk the dog this morning, I noticed it was more than a bit chilly.  Being a bit of a cyclist, my thoughts turned instantly to winter training camps, half-arsed doping allegations thrown at Team Sky for sensibly buggering off to Tenerife instead of stupidly staying in the freezing weather Europe has to offer, and what to wear when I go out on my bike later.

Then it dawned on me.  It’s all Superman’s fault.

In the 1978 documentary Superman, the so-called ‘Man of Steel’ got all upset and stuff because the girl he fancied had met an unfortunate end before he’d even shagged her.  Being a resourceful chap, he did what any superhuman being from Krypton would do, and reversed the rotation of the planet, turning back time, rescuing Lois (for that was her name), and returning the Earth to it’s previously held rotation and setting time off again*.  Well, he didn’t.  Superman cocked it up.

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“Arrgggghhhhhhh!” said Superman in 1978.

He didn’t get the spin right.  He cocked it up and got it all ever so slightly wonky. This is why the weather is fucked.  It’s all Superman’s fault.  Take your science, your research into chloroflourocarbons, fridges and cow farts, and shove it up your arse.  It’s his fault, and I know it.  Prove it’s not.

*Not necessarily in that order, but it’s been a while since I’ve watched it.  I’m sure some pedant will pipe up at this point, telling me I’ve got the order wrong.  So what?

LeMond

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Tightening the toe-straps.  1986 Tour de France

The 1989 Tour de France was the first cycle race I ever took notice of.  Spending hours in the Rose & Green Dental Practice, with up-to-date copies of the once-great Cycling Weekly on the waiting room coffee table available to all those that could block out the sounds of drilling from behind the door, I became fascinated by the sport, the Tour, and became a Greg LeMond fan.

I didn’t warm to Laurent Fignon then. That took years. I’m not sure I ever truly liked Fignon as much as LeMond.

Why Drivers Should Drop The Road Tax Argument…

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How many times have you, as a cyclist, been yelled at by a driver with the unbelievably funny and original “Get some road tax” joke?  It’s hilarious, right?  I laughed so hard one time that a bit of wee came out.  Unsurprisingly, Twitter is full of this sort of thing, and the cyclists’ vitriolic “Road tax doesn’t exist” argument is getting to be about as tedious.

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The cyclists are, on this occasion, right.  Road tax doesn’t exist.  It hasn’t done since being abolished in 1937, when Winston Churchill attempted to remove the ridiculous sense of entitlement that many drivers feel towards roads.

I’m bored shitless by all the jokes.  Sometimes, they’re not even jokes.  Sometimes, drivers genuinely believe that cars/lorrys/vans have more right to be on the road than a bicycle.  I’ve heard it all, and it’s fucking boring me.  I drive a zero-rated ambulance, but no-one has ever told me that it shouldn’t be on the road because the NHS hasn’t paid road tax.  Most of them shouldn’t be on the road, because they’re buggered, but that’s a different matter all together.

So, dear driver, here’s why you need to rethink this whole tax disc bullshit…

46% of the population have access to a bicycle.  That’s a lot of bikes.  All of them will be zero-rated, as the amount you pay relates directly to the co2 emissions that come from the arse-end of your car.  What you are proposing, is that cyclists display a circular piece of paper, of no value, for which they don’t have to pay.  Not a penny.  The only cost to the cyclist is that it will look fucking shit on their bike.

However, someone will have to pay for this ugly nonsense, and that someone will be you.  The driver. The people that demanded this ridiculous, aesthetically-unpleasant eyesore.  It is estimated that the administration costs of supplying every bicycle in the land with this worthless piece of paper will be approximately £125m.  One hundred and twenty-five million pounds, divided by you and all your mates, your mum, your boss and, yes, me.  I own a car too.

I will be fucking furious if I have to pay extra because you are an idiot.