Murderer! Despot! No worse, much worse - Cyclist!

You ride a bike therefore you are evil. Oh how I love newspaper columnists...

The Daily Mail eh? If it didn't actually exist Chris Morris or Charlie Brooker would have to make it up...Just a few months ago 'celebrity' chef James Martin wrote in the Mail how he loved scaring cyclists while driving sports cars. Oh how we laughed. Last week Petronella Wyatt added her predictable tuppence worth to the anti-bike debate by pretty much branding all of us as mugging, old-lady battering – and yes 'wheatfree pasta' eating – bastards.

I know I shouldn't get annoyed by it, but I do. I'd like to put it on record that I have never eaten wheat free pasta. I love wheat in my pasta. Petronella does of course make a really, really good point though:  "The bicycle has also become a favoured tool of muggers. It is the perfect instrument from which to surprise the unsuspecting victim and make a successful getaway." OH MY GOD! Ban bicycles! And shoes! Muggers wear shoes! And trousers – last time I was mugged he was definitely wearing trousers AND PROBABLY PANTS! Make them iilegal. Or at least make men take tests before they can be allowed to wear pants.

She seems to have forgotten that cars have long been a 'favoured tool' of bank-job getaway drivers, serial killers and rapists and ram raiders...

Curiously enough I asked Rob Ainsley to pen a Real Cyclist column for the next issue of Cycling Plus on the use of the term 'cyclist' in the general media. Someone on a bike does something dodgy and straight away it's "Cyclist does something bad..." This annoys me as much as the wheatfree pasta fallacy. They're not necessarily a cyclist. They're someone on a bloody bike. I reckon there's a difference. Let's reclaim 'cycling/cyclist' for the vast majority of us who do it sensibly, safely and without ever eating wholefoods....

Rob Spedding

Editor-in-Chief, Cycling Plus, Cycling Plus Magazine
Editor-in-chief Rob has been pedalling Cycling Plus since 2007. His first proper road bikes were a Raleigh Sprint in the early 1980s and then a Trek 1000 in 1999. A former competitive runner, Rob has repeatedly threatened to become a competitive cyclist in every discipline from time-trailling to hill climbing to bike polo. We're still waiting.
  • Discipline: Road. Mainly commuting but with the occasional mountainous sportive that he'll complain about/fail to complete. Enjoys cake stops. Will never, ever do another triathlon after a bad experience in open water.
  • Preferred Terrain: Gently undulated roads – he's more of a rouleur. Likes gravel.
  • Current Bikes: BMC Alpenchallenge, Viner Perfecta, BMC Granfondo GF0, anything shiny that Warren Rossiter will allow him to ride
  • Dream Bike: Bianchi Specialissima, Raleigh Banana
  • Beer of Choice: Innis and Gunn Original
  • Location: Bath, UK
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