Cyclists, the scourge of motorists everywhere.
When they’re not banging their fist on your car’s roof as they bomb past, they’re weaving in and out of traffic like a slalom skier and mounting pavements like they’re performing stunts.
And as for their holier-than-thou attitude, well I don’t know who they think they are. And just because they don’t pay any road tax it doesn’t give them the right to shout abuse at drivers that would make the captain of an international rugby union team blush.
Or so I thought until I bought a bike last week. Now as far as I’m concerned cyclists are the brave knights of the road, the last true gatekeepers of the spirit of freedom to go wherever you please without paying a small fortune to the oil barons and the government who between them have made fuel cost per drop roughly the same as a nice bottle of Châteauneuf du Pape.
The foolish, boorish car driver that I am, I’d forgotten how cyclists take their lives in their hands every time they chance their arms on our overcrowded roads populated by pig ignorant car drivers like myself.
One loop around the city centre and the little bell that goes ‘ting-ting’ suddenly felt like it afforded little or no protection from articulated lorries, double decker buses and boy racers with exhaust pipes like coal scuttles hammering past about six inches away from my right leg.
A bell’s about as much use as a chocolate teapot in those circumstances, it’s like bringing a knife to a gunfight. A surface to air missile launcher screwed to the handlebars would have been more appropriate.
But that’s not to say cycling’s not terrific fun. Once you’re far from the madding motorists on our district’s wonderful cyclepaths it is a truly wonderful way to spend a few hours getting fit in the fresh air.
And, more importantly to a gentleman of advancing years like myself, it is a lot easier on the knees than running - especially when your knees have all the strength and mobility of a pebble in a tin can. And the best of it is, at 6ft 3in with a large bike the size of a penny farthing, nobody else in our house has legs long enough to reach the pedals.