Finally, here’s a way to get cyclists off our roads:
With the Ergo Bike Premium 8i from Germany’s Daum Electronics, riders from around the world compete against each other over virtual versions of some of the sport’s storied race courses.
Let them race in cyberspace! Brilliant. Now why didn’t I think of that?
Before I get flamed or threatened or hacked, I should point out that I come from a cycling country. I own a bicycle, and I grew up cycling everywhere. I agree that cyclists aren’t adequately catered for on our roads, and motorists aren’t sufficiently attentive to cyclists. The likelihood of Johannesburg getting decent cycling infrastructure any time soon is remote, which is a shame.
That said, I once dared to complain about the arrogance with which cyclists take over our roads and shut down our cities for their own amusement. My rant was sarcastically caustic, and some idiot thought it would be a good idea to forward the e-mail to every cycling forum in the country. A few civilised cyclists retorted that I just didn’t want to share the road with them, which sure is a strange thing to say when you’re proposing to have the police block off 100km of main arterial roads through the commercial heart of the city. But at least that comment wasn’t rude.
You see, it got worse. My e-mail address was submitted to spammers. My mobile number was subscribed to paid-for porn services. I was accused of intolerance in the same forums where lycra-clad cyclists called me gay. A publisher I work for was told to fire me, under the presumption that they implicitly endorse my every waking word. I even received a few death threats by phone and e-mail, from frothing lunatics who knew where I lived. An acquaintance I once considered a friend — also a cyclist — told me I deserved everything I got, including the death threats. “Hung by your own petard,” he laughed, calling into question not only his judgement, but also the command of the English language on which he so prides himself.
Let’s just say my tolerance and sympathy for cyclists, as a group, rapidly deteriorated, to rather frosty levels. What I thought was mere prejudice about cyclists was spectacularly confirmed. And my experience isn’t unique either.
When I spoke to the organisers of the cycling tour in question, they told me that businesses along the route are happy to close up shop for the day. Yet they had not done any independent research, and weren’t planning to either. They presumably figured that business owners would be rather more acquiescent if a coterie of pumped-up tourettes in day-glo spandex did the “research”. I doubt, for example, if Makro’s fire insurance would permit them to argue.
Now, finally, technology offers a way in which cyclists can indulge their fetish in the privacy of their own homes or gardens. They won’t have to put their lives at risk and spew filth at motorists for every tragic accident. They won’t have to break half the traffic laws and every fashion rule in the book. They won’t have to trample the rights of tax-paying citizens of the cities whose roads they hijack for their own amusement. They get to cycle wherever and whenever they want. And the rest of us will be spared their testosterone-fuelled aggression and sanctimonious condescension.
See? There’s an amicable solution to every problem.
Update: A friend pointed out this Monkey Dust video. It’s both apt and funny.