Run, Comrades, run: No power to the pedals

2012-03-09 12:16

It will be just wonderful when the Cape Argus Pick n Pay cycle tour is over.

No, I’m not a Capetonian who dreads the traffic congestion this weekend because of the race, but this would have been an additional reason to rejoice at the sight of this thing’s back wheel.

I’m not a participant either who has to put up with twits who get on their bikes once a year for the Argus, and then with their clumsiness proceed to knock everyone else off theirs – but this would have been another reason to dislike the thing.

It’s just that I don’t like bikes. They get in the way, especially when you try to run off-road (I’m not even talking about their lack of good manners on the road and the hazard they pose to drivers).

On Sunday mornings, if you dare to hit the Joburg parks anything after six, especially in the weeks before the Argus (and again later in the year, before the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge), scores of conceited people in expensive gear on purring bikes will terrorise you into stepping off the footpath and onto the wet grass.

Then you either lose your stride or you twist your ankle when you step in a hole while trying to greet and grin at the passing biker. Sometimes you have to stop completely so that the bikers can pass.

And it’s not like these bloody beasts can go out solo. No, they always have to cycle in packs, which makes the disruption on the footpaths (yes, footpaths) so much bigger.

They also cause erosion. Some of these paths have become little kloofs and are unusable, especially after a heavy thunderstorm. Then you have to jog next to them on the wet grass.

Worst is when these people with their evil wheels go on the side of the paths to pass you, and you know that soon the single pretty footpath will be a ruined wasteland with many eroded kloofs next to it.

Don’t get me wrong. Cycling is a great way for lazy people to keep fit, and it’s probably warded off some heart attacks and given some people pretty legs. In fact, some of my best friends are bikers, although I can’t immediately recall their names.

I also do realise that many runners, when they become too injury-plagued, find that they can almost get their exercise fix by training for and taking part in races like the Argus.

I should also confess that I spin twice a week to give my legs a break from running, but then I do so in a confined studio where I can offend no one. So spinning doesn’t count.

Running is just so much simpler and runners are mostly pacifists (except when crossing paths with pedalists).
Yes, this intense dislike of cyclists may not be permanent. If politicians can change their opinions over time (or sometimes even in one day) then, heck, so can I. For now though, I don’t like bikes.

The other day a fellow runner told me that Western Cape Premier Helen Zille will be doing the Argus too (I believe politicians like Cope’s Terror Lekota have also done the race in the past).

This evidence was strengthened by that of another reliable source, who spotted Zille in his 6am spinning class in Cape Town the other day.

Now, before I diss her, I must concede Helen gets full points for her Metro not allowing bikes on the Sea Point promenade, one of the most delicious running spots in Cape Town.

Still, doing the Argus makes her a cyclist and come the next election, she’d better not be on her bike when doing door-to-door canvassing in my ’hood.

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