I have several very good reasons to loathe the Tour de France. It follows me. No matter where we decide to escape for a break, we find ourselves stuck in roads closed for two hours to allow a bunch of bicycles flash through in two minutes flat. Inevitably it is 30°C and a toss-up between who is going die of heat exhaustion first – the dogs or the Old Feller.
Even this time, with the Old Dude being safely in the UK, coming home from his grandson’s passing out parade, guess what? Yup, the route he needs to take to get to Dover tomorrow morning crosses the blasted two wheelers. It doesn’t matter how carefully we plan our route, they buggers catch up with us.
Secondly, living in France, inspired by the national rapture, there is a rash of elderly TdeF wannabees who turn out with their podgy bodies in cling-film tight outfits on a Sunday. That in itself is an offence to my sensibilities but they have decided that, being in a big gang, they can do what they like. Pootling along the main street on my motorbike I suddenly find myself inundated by a swarm of grandads swearing at me as they shoot out of a side street, ignoring the stop sign.
I can’t blame them. Most cyclists merely using it for transport are self-declared exempt from the Highway Code.
Red light? Naaaaaaah – not me, mate, I’m on a bicycle. Pedestrian crossing? Knock ’em over! Pavement? Much less traffic on there – here I go!
I have, when nearly mown down leaving a shop, given a straight arm jab at the stupid bint responsible and then leaned over, all concerned as she lay on the floor. “Shall I call the police?” I enquired sweetly. Strangely enough she didn’t want me to.
OK it’s not entirely their fault. Towns here are not designed for cyclists, unlike the Netherlands and Belgium where bike lanes are clearly indicated, even when they form part of the pavement and pedestrians are not allowed to walk there. That’s good. That’s a great idea. Unfortunately where that system doesn’t exist, I don’t appreciate someone aiming their Hi-Tech, dayglo machine straight at me while I’m going about my lawful business.
Coming, as it does, in the midst of football and tennis, knowing that my religion forbids me to follow any sport apart from equestrian…you may understand that I am somewhat grumpy with hearing nothing but Turd France on the news. I wouldn’t mind but it’s all down to who has managed to ingest the most boost-juice without being noticed! I’d rather watch a Hash Bash – the music is usually better.