Cyclists: why are they hiding?

Autumn has well and truly set in to Cape Town now. Leaves everywhere, that chilly breeze around every corner and sunset before 6pm each evening (5:56pm today, and it’ll only ever get as early as 5:44pm).

So why, oh why, oh why are the local cyclists doing their level best to blend into the roads and surrounds? Seriously, what has to be going through your mind to pop out for a ride along Rhodes Drive – the notoriously narrow and twisty road up the side of the mountain – wearing dark green and black lycra?

Yeah, I do understand that black is supposed to be slimming, but there’s only so much that it can do in the face of those 6 Castle Lites you down each evening. A bridge too far for Monsieur DuPont, I’m afraid.

Rhodes Drive is a very popular cycle route. And with good reason: it’s a good test for the legs, it’s recently resurfaced, and it’s just up the road from the posher suburbs of the city. The only thing it’s missing is any traffic lights to ignore, but otherwise, as far as cyclists go, it’s got the lot. But it also runs along the eastern side of the mountain, and so it loses the sun even earlier, and much of it is tree-lined, so it loses even more light, more quickly. And yet you MAMILs think it’s a good idea to try and camouflage yourself and see how many motorists you can pick off on a culpable homicide charge.

Is there maybe a thing on Strava for that?

Note that I am in no way suggesting that cyclists should be knocked off their bikes: of course not. But there has to be some sort of natural selection in this world, and you, puffing and sweating your way up towards Constantia Nek after sunset, in your freebie, khaki Nedbank Private Wealth cycling top you got from that golf day, is pretty much lining you up for – at the very least – a glancing blow.

Being a cyclist is unfairly dangerous enough without you trying to make it worse for yourselves. It’s not like there aren’t things like bright, reflective attire and – and please hear me out here – “lights” [crowd gasps] that you could adorn yourself and your two-wheeled machine with, in order to make yourselves a little more visible. And it’s not like the money isn’t there. You forked out (no pun intended) close on six figures for your bike, but you can’t afford a set of lights to stop you being killed while you’re using it?

Priorities? Skewed, mate.

Lights and shiny clothes would be a good thing at any time and in any place. But when heading out onto an twisting unlit, tree-lined road at dusk, they would almost seem completely sensible.

But, no. None of them choose to do it. Which says a lot about cyclists, I suppose.

So yes, while I absolutely recognise that all road users must share the road, it looks like us drivers will have to continue to share it with idiots. And pretty much invisible ones at that.

Ugh… Cyclists

Ugh… Cyclists.

When they’re not jumping red lights, riding seventy-four abreast through Kalk Bay every weekend or whining about their morning jaunt being cancelled, they’re defecating in their hands and flinging it at fellow road-users.

Poo flinging? How very Capetonian.

But amazingly, the victim of the attack has come in for criticism after sharing the details of the incident online. Comments included:

“A man had time to pull down his trousers, poo in his hands and lob it at your car..?? Was you stationary..?? Because I’d of drove off the minute he was pulling down his trousers.!!”

Yeah – sorry about the grammar etc. It’s from Gloucester.

And my favourite:

“Anyone with half a brain cell would drive off as soon as the hand cupped to scoop the poop.”

Presumably these people are only aware of best practice here because this has happened to them too?
So there we go, folks. The two expert-recommended stages to commence driving away should you ever find yourself in a similar situation: the pulling down of the trousers and the cupping of the hand to scoop.

Leave it any later than that, and frankly, you’re asking for trouble.

Full story

Cycle Tour Protest

Many cyclists have vowed to protest following the short notice cancellation of the 2017 Cape Town Cycle Tour due to dangerously high winds and a large wildfire on the route.

When asked why they would take this action, cyclist union leader Cyril Leikra responded:

“We need to show the organisers just how hard we trained for this event. If we’re not allowed to ride today, we will embark on a year long protest of civil disobedience. For us, the next 12 months was to revolve around pub stories of our struggle in the breeze at Fishhoek and the annual tough climb up Suikerbossie.
Now, we will have none of that glory. We’re angry.”

We asked Leikra what form the protest was going to take:

“We will ride on the freeways, we’ll ride two or three abreast on narrow roads – especially on weekends around Kalk Bay – and we will ignore all traffic signals on our route. Red traffic lights be damned. It will be a straightforward move – this is what we have trained for over the last year – our members are ready.”

But Cape Town residents seemed amused by the decision to protest:

“Look, if they were hoping to pull the sympathy vote to get a beer or two after the Tour, they still can. All that training for nothing. It’s genuinely sad. But the protest idea is laughable. No-one will even notice, because that’s all they do all year round anyway.”

However, from a now sweaty chair at the local Vida, a helmeted Leikra was determined to have the final word:

“I remember riding in the infamous Glencairn Hurricane of 2012. People just don’t understand. And the council’s decision to annually increase the gradient of Suikerbossie just shows how hard done by we cyclists are. It’s time we stood up for our rights and reminded people how we are victimised – something that it seems everyone has overlooked since I told them about it all day yesterday.”

Helpsful advice

We return to the Southern Suburbs Tatler letters page for today’s blog post. And a missive from David Helps (but does he?) of Newlands on a subject close to our hearts here at 6000 miles… – cyclists and cyclism.

Must Cyclists Fall?

begins David and already, I am starting to wince.

During my walk along the tarred path below Newlands fire station , earlier this week, I was just missed by three cyclists overtaking me – in one case, by inches.

how many inches, David? Two inches, or 59 inches? Because this matters, as we find out later in your seemingly otherwise pointless correspondence.

Having cycled myself when younger, I appreciate that wind rush effectively deafens a rider, helmeted or not, making them unaware of events behind them and no self-respecting individual would think of attaching a “bell” to their precious machines.

aaaaaaaand I’m lost… While I too cycled when younger, and while I too appreciate that wind rush effectively deafens a rider, making them unaware of events behind them, what does this have to do with them overtaking you? You’re not behind them, you’re in front of them. And so what if they’re deafened, because number one, they can see you, and number two, you’re not making any noise anyway.
Unless… Unless, that is, I’ve got this situation all wrong, and these are blind cyclists, blind cyclists cycling backwards towards you, and you (helmeted or not) are making a lot of noise that they can’t hear because of wind rush. It seems like a somewhat unbelievable situation, but if I’ve got it right, then you are fully justified in writing to the Southern Suburbs Tatler – and possibly even the UN. Cyclists are a menace. Blind cyclists, deafened by wind rush, cycling backwards towards you is downright dangerous.

And also actually amazing. Forget the local paper and the international authorities, call the bloody circus.

I believe the time is ripe to launch a T-shirt campaign depicting a pedestrian with a line marked 1.5 meters and a cyclist and on the other side, and the words “Do unto others…”
Alternatively, but now too passé, use social media #Cyclistsmustfall.

Yes, yes. Do the T-shirt, but make it a blind, deaf, helmeted (or not) cyclist, cycling backwards.
And make the pedestrian look like a buffoon.
For accuracy.

What do you think?

I think you know what I think, David Helps (no he doesn’t).
I think I’ve made it abundantly clear.

Support me and the royalties are yours.

Royalties? From a T-shirt idea you nicked from some cycling organisation and the “passé” social media hashtag you nicked from some rowdy students? I don’t think there’ll be any royalties. A couple of misplaced copyright lawsuits, sure, but no royalties.

You’ve been no helps at all.

Poorly timed giraffe danger warning

I’m going to look at some wildlife this weekend. I hope, anyway. Wildlife is exactly that: wild, and sometimes it doesn’t want to be looked at. Mostly, when it doesn’t want to be looked at, wildlife hides away, but sometimes, wildlife fights back and even the most unlikely of wildlife can be deadly.

I’m not talking about lions, hippos, rhinos or elephants here – you look at them and you think DANGER! Teeths, tusks, horns, speed, weight, bulk. DANGER!
But tall isn’t scary. When you look at a giraffe, you just see bewilderingly puny looking legs and neck. Giraffes don’t look dangerous. They look like one of those string and wood toys that you push the base on and they collapse. You let giraffes play with your kids’ cuddly toys:

No. Giraffes aren’t dangerous. Or are they? Because here’s what was waiting for me on the pisspoor TimesLive site this morning:

Cyclist trampled to death by giraffe

The giraffe probably got irritated by some typically arrogant RLJ’ing behaviour.

A Sunday afternoon cycle ride for Braan Bosse of Nigel, on the Far East Rand, ended in his death when he was attacked by a giraffe at the Thaba Monata Game Lodge, in Bela Bela, Limpopo.
Lodge owner Marily Abatemarco believes Bosse, 46, was trampled to death.

Rather unusual, though, right? I thought so too.
But then, somewhere deep in my memory, I found this:

Seventy-year-old Schalk Hagen died without telling anyone exactly what happened to him. Now the prime suspect in his death is a giraffe.

I was quite ready to cower away from the lions and the elephants this weekend. Now it seems that I have to hide from the bloody giraffes as well. Seriously?
You don’t get this sort of danger in the UK – sure, you might come across a vaguely irritated badger or a mildly disgruntled fox, but they’re not going to smash your skull in, eat you or jump up and down all over your rapidly spatchcocked corpse just because they’re anxious to be seen to be living up to their “wildlife” moniker. I didn’t move here for this – if I’d wanted constant animal-related danger, I would have chosen Australia. (Spoiler: No, I wouldn’t – it’s full of Australians.)

Anyway, my new plan is to stay in the short scrub, where there is limited danger of unforeseen giraffe attack (aside, of course, from the extremely sneaky limbo giraffe) (but fortunately they’re pretty rare in the Western Cape).