The cyclist pulled into our gateway, got off his bike and grabbed hold of the electric fencing. Installing game cameras, along with signs making clear to passers-by that they are on film, has not always deterred trespassers, but it has provided us with interesting viewing.
And so it was on this occasion, as the cyclist pulled in for what cyclists pull in for. By this I don’t mean they necessarily relieve themselves swiftly against a bush. I mean sometimes they duck under the tape to go inside the field or stable yard where they make themselves at home, in a semi-seated position.
Look, it’s not nice to have to describe what they do, but then it’s not nice of them to do it. What protection do the various lockdown laws give the rural dwellers of Surrey against the Lycra dads of London and Woking? None. The builder b and I wouldn’t know not to sit at the picnic table by our stables to eat our lunch after they’ve done their business there if we didn’t have cameras.
It’s disgraceful behaviour. But on the basis that we’ve never had the slightest luck getting cyclists to obey any road or rights of way laws we are not hopeful of ever stopping them using our horses’ home as a toilet.
When you think about it, it’s obvious the government should not be allowing people to load bikes on to the backs of their cars during a pandemic to drive many miles to a place without conveniences where they will inevitably get caught short.
Every time you see a cyclist unloading a bike from their car in the countryside, ask yourself how long they can pedal before nature calls, especially when they pedal along sipping from energy drinks, which some of them fling on to the roadside, or over the hedges into gardens and fields as they go.
The lanes of Surrey are decorated with the plastic hydration packs of the cyclists who slurp and fling. Puce-faced and high on adrenaline, they don’t mean any harm. In their minds, they are way out front in the Tour de France and there are stewards picking up their discarded energy drinks. But what about the emissions that result?
At the smallholding where he keeps his horses, the builder b has taken more than his fair share of these because the farm track is newly tarmacked and so the cyclists often turn down there to go off piste, ignoring the Footpath Only sign. Still on their time trial, they maintain a breathtaking speed as they hurtle between fields full of horses, scattering dogs and walkers to the four winds. God help us if we happen to have ventured on to our horses to ride them up the private track on the private farm where we rent land.
‘Get out of the way!’ the pedallers scream at us as we dare to ride where we are entitled to be and they are not.
They speed past us on our rearing mounts, unconcerned by our pleas for mercy. To be fair, they speed past and pedal over each other. We saw one cyclist fly off his bike on a speed hump and land in the crop field one day only to be run down the second he got back up by another bike that ploughed straight into him.
They only stop when they need to go. This camera footage we captured shows a cyclist coming down the track in the fading light, which was presumably why he took no notice of battery packs, fence units and warning signs.
The grainy footage shows the Lycra-clad figure get off his bike and grab hold of the top strand of the double-stranded electric tape to enter the stable area.
The pulse must not have gone through the tape for a split second for he had time to put one leg through the lower strand. He was thus sandwiched between the top and bottom strands with his hand on the top strand when the pulse went through it. Zap! He let go, jerking downwards, and as he did so the bottom strand shocked him in the crotch. Zap!
The shock of that sent him upwards, whereupon he hit the top strand with his head — zap! Whereupon he jerked back down and the bottom strand shocked him again in the nether regions — zap!
Up — zap! Down — zap! Up — zap! Down — zap! he went, seemingly caught in perpetual motion like a grotesque clockwork doll gone wrong until eventually he worked out how to stop zapping himself by climbing out of the fencing.
He got on his bike swearing and retreated back down the track to the road, perchance to find somewhere else to go. But then again, maybe he didn’t need to go any more.
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