It's that time of year again - and before you run away; no, I'm not about to list every film I have watched, every book I have read, and every tinned food item I have purchased in the last six months. (You have to wait till next week for that particular treat.)
The particular 'this time of year' I'm referring to is the annual start of the Twats Cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats season. Some people do it for 'fun' ("It's a challenge innit?") but mostly, it seems, people do it for 'charity'. Pedalling loons doing it to raise money for 'good causes': The Cycle Injury Support Association, The Bishop's Stortford Weasel and Stoats Lumbago Clinic, shit like that. People get 'sponsored' to spend two weeks cycling from one end of the country to another. (Actually I suspect most people who do the 'sponsoring' are just paying people to 'go away'. "All right! All right! Here's a fiver, just fuck off and play in the traffic for a fortnight!")
Today I (and about a mile's worth of other traffic) got stuck behind a bunch of these idiots. For about seven miles on some of the twistiest, narrowest, least driver-friendly roads in the British Isles, a whole column of traffic was slowed to a crawl by about a dozen of these well-intentioned, over-energetic fuckwits on push bikes. The frustration in the air was palpable. The traffic (people who had to get to work, people with appointments to keep, people with kids to deliver to clubs - you know; real people, with real lives. We're not tourists, we LIVE here!) managed to get past the lycra-clad clowns - mostly by crossing double white lines, overtaking on blind bends, and committing a variety of other traffic violations punishable by up to six months in prison and/or instant, painful death (depending on the traffic coming in the opposite direction).
During the agonizing long wait for my chance to dice with death and get points put on my licence I formulated a plan which I fully intend to put to the next politician I meet (odds are it will be Charles Kennedy who I occasionally see in the Fort). The proposal runs something like this. The newly independent Scotland - coming soon to a country near me - will raise, by taxation, a walloping great sum (several million pounds) which will, at the end of every year, be paid out to all sorts of charities, from the Upper Nidsdale Cheese Museum, to the National Society for the Prevention of Muscle Strain in Hamsters - on the condition that NO ONE cycles from Land's End to John O'Groats. NO ONE! If only ONE person crosses the border wanting to cycle to the top 'for charity' - the money gets spent (in Scotland) on beer, fags, and cakes.
For those people who want to do it for 'the challenge', a roundabout in Gretna will be carefully measured. And once the calculation has been done (ie distance from Gretna to John O'Groats divided by circumference of roundabout) a sign will be erected saying something along the lines of, 'Going Round This Roundabout 3467 Times is the Same distance to John O'Groats'.
This proposal will be environmentally friendly: Cycling may be 'Green' but not when it's making dozens and dozens of vehicles crawl along at stupidly low speeds. Driving at 15 miles an hour is not fuel efficient.
It's that or we make the fuckers swim.