Real life

The Lycra louts are back

30 July 2022

9:00 AM

30 July 2022

9:00 AM

‘That will be £7.50 please,’ said the girl in the bakery to the cyclist in black Lycra after he put a sandwich and a drink on the counter. By way of reply, he slapped down a fiver.

He still had his aerodynamic hat on, and the straps and flaps on his booty feet. Click clack. Click clack. He moved with a waddle, like they do when they’re in their special outfit. They look like aliens to me in their pointy hats and clacky shoes and their behaviour is as alien as anything I have ever come across.

He pulled this £5 note out of a little pouch in his pants and slapped it down on the counter. I imagined it was still warm, and smelt of Lynx, for my mind is overactive. And he said to this sweet young girl: ‘Well, I’ve only got five pounds, so you’ll have to have that.’

He took his sandwich and his drink costing £7.50 and, having stolen £2.50 from this small local bakery, staffed only by a girl in her twenties, he click-clacked back on to the high street where his razor sharp bike was waiting for him to climb back on and strap his feet to the pedals so he could torture himself and Surrey all day long by pedalling around at speed with only dubious ability to stop and balance, if he absolutely had to, to let a pedestrian pass without being run over by him, or to obey a traffic light, or other such inconvenience.

This cyclist was a big chap, very tall and grotesquely muscled. He stood by his bike to joylessly ingest the energy of his luncheon, the £5 worth that was paid for, and then the final few bites and slurps of the stolen £2.50’s worth.

Did he reflect to himself that he had committed a crime? Or did this pass him by, as a concept, just like the idea of passing wide and slow around a horse, or the idea that maybe he shouldn’t ruin a footpath by hurtling down it, scattering old people with walking sticks into the bushes?

Who knew? The cyclist was, on the balance of probabilities, prepared to question, should a speed trial make it necessary, the laws of the highways and byways, so why should we be surprised that he stole £2.50- worth of prawn sandwich?

The girl behind the counter was not surprised, going by the look on her face. She simply took the £5 note as if this happened all the time, and maybe as she put it in the till she thought to herself how lucky she was that he had deigned to give her anything from his marsupial pouch, and had not come into the shop for his lunch and demanded it for free.

I was not surprised either, for we are leaving Surrey because of just this sort of thing.

Barely a few hours later, the builder boyfriend and I were strolling down a towpath on our evening walk with the dogs when we heard a bike bell ring behind us. Ring ring! Ring ring! It’s tone was of absolute insistence.

We looked behind and there was a nice, middle-class family of four, mum, dad and two young children, all on their bikes on this narrow footpath.

They were pelting towards us, having a lovely trespass which they wished us to further facilitate by pressing us sideways into the undergrowth while clutching our spaniels in our arms. And all of this had to be achieved in a split second, for the bikes were not stopping, as the trilling of bells made only too clear.

I’ve had enough of this, so I refused to move. ‘Yes?’ I said to the mother who was in front, as they were all forced to stop and put their feet to the ground. ‘We’re trying to get round you!’ she said, clearly furious.

‘Are you? Well, you’re on a footpath so you’ll have to wait, and don’t you dare ring your bell at me again.’ And I carried on walking two abreast with the builder b, the dogs at our ankles.

The lady erupted: ‘We were ringing our bells to let you know we’re coming. When we passed you we were going to say thank you!’ Oh, lucky us.

‘I’m not moving,’ I said. ‘I don’t have to. You’re the one doing the wrong thing so you’ll have to wait.’

But the BB had broken stride and was behind me. He couldn’t be bothered with it. They seized the gap and sped through. And as they did so, the nice, middle-class mother shouted, from the safety of her speeding bike: ‘Get a life! Saddo!’

Her two children pedalled behind her as if this was normal behaviour. And I suppose, for them, it was.

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