The Roads to Petition

So, while the British people braved the weather to line the route, and show their support for this year’s Tour of Britain in their thousands, it seems a group of disgruntled Surrey residents raised their objections to all things cycling with a petition worded as follows:

“Surrey County Council have, without consultation, decided it would be a great idea to use Surrey as a race track…..residents of Surrey are pestered by cyclists practicing months in advance of the event, who ride the route in large numbers from early in the morning shouting at each other.”

Pesky Cyclists (Photo: dvdBramhall)
Pesky Cyclists
(Photo: dvdBramhall)

As of 17th September 2013 The Independent reported that 1,600 people had signed the petition.

Crikey…..where to start?

I can only assume the first sentence is intended as a devastating use of sarcasm, presumably an attempt to demonstrate a sense of humour? As for riders pestering residents and shouting at each other?….this is something that all top cyclists do – it’s part of Dave Brailsford’s marginal gains approach to cycle practicing.

The man who set up the petition – I won’t name him, oxygen of publicity and all that – goes on to claim, “I set up the petition because I was annoyed at being ‘kettled’ in my own home every time they close the roads.”

Now, maybe the reputation of the British Police could be better, but I don’t think they’ve resorted to ‘kettling’ disgruntled residents just to ensure that Mark Cavendish’s lead out train gets a clear run at things. What will he claim next? Residents who managed to escape the ‘kettling’ were routinely ‘tasered’ to prevent crowd congestion?

So what other views does this man hold about cyclists?

“They are ill-mannered, they are rude, they abuse the laws of the road and are abusive when you challenge them. It’s not a minority of cyclists, it’s the majority who behave like this”.

Well, if we’re going for broad generalisations then…here goes…

What is it about our favourite sport that is prompting you to spout such a load of old nonsense? My theory is that, actually, the vast majority of cyclists have huge amounts of spontaneous and joyous fun whilst out pedalling along the back lanes of Surrey, or wherever else. It’s just not very British is it? I can just imagine you, red faced and impotent, thinking ‘how dare they career around getting fit, having a laugh, and spoiling our Sunday afternoon of hard-earned indignation!’

I expect it’s when we ride two abreast that you really start to get steamed up. When there’s a lone cyclist or a group riding in single file you can simply ease us up against the hedgerow with the front wing of your Range Rover; in fact, if you clip one of us and send us careering over the hedge and into the field, you’re sat so high up in your sound-proof box you wouldn’t even have to put up with the inconvenience of knowing what you’ve done. If there are two of us abreast, you have to slow down (of all things) and take us into account….how ghastly! That could add literally a minute or two to your journey.

And the best part of all this…it’s enshrined wonderfully in the Highway Code (rule 66) which, heaven forbid, allows us to ride two abreast. Yes…even in Surrey!

Here’s an idea – why don’t we ‘kettle’ all the residents out, and actually start using the roads of Surrey as a cycle track…I’d put money on that petition getting a few signatures.

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