…most definitely not being the owner of a bloody great SUV judging by the sour faces I see behind the wheels of these hateful objects. The lanes of Cornwall are clogged with the so-called Chelsea Tractors at this time of year, you’d think the owners would be happy that that they have so much money they can enjoy lording it over the rest of the road going community, rubbing others noses in the fact that they’re wealthy and decadent enough to afford to buy and run their big, mostly black with blacked out windows, f****ng tanks. That doesn’t seem to be the case however, today while out riding I judged approximately 50% of the traffic to consist of a melange of monster Mercs, BMWs, Tuaregs, Range Rovers and Cayennes (Porsche) and the folk behind their respective wheels were without fail the meanest looking bunch of miserys this side of a jailhouse door. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve nothing against the farmer, fisherman etc with his Land Rover (for example), what I do object to is the ugly, selfish consumerism and attitude towards other road users that seems to go with ownership of the glossy monsters whose closest encounter to off-road terrain is most likely the gravelled path that takes one to the golf club. My sister’s job brings her in close contact with the visiting public as well as the locals, she dreads this time of year when the car parks fill up with SUVs… the attitude it seems extends to bad manners and rudeness away from the security of their vehicles.
OK, rant over. No doubt I’ve offended someone up who might be reading this. Well, c’est la vie. What I would say to them is try being on the outside looking in while someone else is looking at you like you’re something they found on the sole of their shoe.
On second thoughts, a rant of a different kind. Professional cycling and doping… I’ve deliberately kept quiet on this topic because I don’t have all the facts, I do know the sport is trying hard to clean itself up and I also know it’s no dirtier (probably cleaner in fact due to the efforts being made) than many other sports… athletics, swimming, weightlifting etc, but something I read today just touched a nerve. Cyclingnews.com reported on a statement to Reuters by Alexander Vinokourov, kicked out of the Tour de France for homologous blood doping and consequently sacked by his Astana team. During his brief interview he said “In cycling nobody respects human rights, the situation is now worse than any other sport. I hope the truth will be found and I am going to fight for it.”
Right…. so how is it against your human rights that the governing body of the sport wants to be able to test you during the year, and to facilitate that needs you to make your whereabouts known in the following months? I work for my salary, my employer expects to know where I am in advance, if I’m not at work then I’m either sick or on holiday. That rule applies 365 days/year. How is cycling any different? As a salaried professional the employment rules don’t just apply on the days you race, they apply for as long as you are under contract. That aside, what about the rights of the sponsors, investors and spectators to not see their investment in time and significant sums of money wasted because one idiot thought he could get away with cheating? I’m interested to know the “truth” that Vino makes reference too as well… no doubt we can expect another long, pointless legal battle in an attempt to save face. I just hope it doesn’t reach the realms of science fiction that Tyler Hamilton’s case apparently did. I imagine in this case he is merely a puppet of his legal team, in much the same way as Jan Ullrich. It is easy to credit the professional bike rider with great intelligence, it’s not always the case though, for example Vinokourov was a labourer before making it into the professional ranks… maybe I’m unfairly stereotyping him but I can’t credit him with much of an intellect. I hate to say it and I’ll pi55 some folk off with this, but I see Floyd Landis et al the same way. That’s not to detract from their athletic ability however, any rider capable of surviving the professional ranks is without exception a terrific athlete.
Ok, that’s it, rant over, I shall say no more on this subject, ever (unless something really gets my back up again), there are many other sources on the web dealing with this topic with much greater authority than I. I must admit I am just a bit tetchy today, something to do with 10 degs C, howling wind, icy rain and muddy roads on my bike this morning I think. It is August after all….