I find myself perched precariously on the horns of a dilemma. Thanks to an altercation between a bicycle and a motor vehicle in the centre of Sydney earlier this week, I am now in a position where I have to offer my allegiance to either Shane Warne or the cycling community.
To put this in some form of perspective, it’s a bit like a vegetarian having to choose between lamb and beef or – if that concept is a bit too abstract for the average carnivore to grasp – having a gun put to your head and being told your life would only be spared by spending a night covered in baby oil with Hone Hanawira or spending a night in a barrel of scorpions.
Given his irksome habit of skittling cricket teams I hold dear to my heart over the years, ordinarily I would have no problems in aligning myself with anyone whose sights took aim in the direction of Warnie’s hair replacements, but unfortunately the other protagonists in this case are the self important, road rule flaunting jossers of the militant cycling brigade.
I like bikes in the same way I like Trade Unions; they’ve done a lot of good work over the years and improved the lives of many people in many ways. Unfortunately problems with both start when they are controlled by arseholes and some jumped up little sod in lycra lecturing on his God given right to hold up traffic is every bit at wearisome as Warnie pouring his excessive Ocker gloating on an easily dismissed opening batsman.
Naturally, both protagonists are spouting entirely different and largely unsubstantiated versions of events, so therefore I have decided to support the one with the most credibility. And in that area Shane wins hands down because he has grasped a concept seemingly beyond the pedal heads.
As a retired professional sportsman, it would have been very easy for Shane to have gone the way of so many before him by ditching the strenuous training regime in favour of casual alcoholism and opening the occasional supermarket. But to his credit the former King of Spin has evolved; first into a television host and then into a Barbie doll. The former has seen his celebrity star rise and the latter allows him to practise bedroom gymnastics with the former Mrs Hugh Grant, which isn’t a bad deal in anyone’s book.
We may not all like the new-look Sheikh of Tweak, but you cannot deny he has recognised there may be benefits to change and gone into the deep end, feet first.
The bicycle on the other hand is a dinosaur – a relic of times gone by when we were not sufficiently civilised to realise that undertaking a journey would be so much more pleasant if the mode of transportation in some way sheltered you from the elements, did not cause excessive perspiration and didn’t fall over when you stopped. It is simply not a device of the modern world and is completely unsuitable for close quarter’s interaction with the highly efficient person -squashing machine that is the motor vehicle.
I would like to think that with the materials and propulsion technologies available at our disposal, it would not be beyond the wit of man to put together a safe, human-powered, enclosed transportation device that would be capable of consistently moving at the 50kph necessary to prevent being an obstruction in urban areas.
The humble bike could then be relegated – along with other such archaic contraptions as the bow and arrow and sailing boat – to the only suitable location for its continued survival; the sporting arena. Yet rather than investigating opportunities and embracing the potential for change, cyclists blithely plough on with their wheeled scaffolding, pausing only to whine surprise and vitriol when they come off second best to a high velocity lump of pig iron.
It takes a special breed to make Warnie look like a sophisticated visionary and yet the die hard bikers manage it in spades. And while they may wage- and possibly even win – a publicity battle in this case, their long term war with oncoming vehicles will always be a losing one. After all, when armed with a tonne of car, the average motorist doesn’t need to have the skill of Shane to develop a devastating leg break.