If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Now this is more like it

Bikes aren't dangerous. Bad riders are.

Nice to see the 'authorities' taking a positive approach for a change. I write in a number of bike forums [1] and often the question comes up: What is your ambition as a biker? My answer is always 'To die of old age'.

There are a lot of faster riders than I am, and a lot who probably get a lot more thrills and excitement (and possibly even the favours of young and impressionable women) than I do. But so often they either take themselves out of the picture, voluntarily or otherwise, after a few years. And here I am, 55 years old, riding every day, enjoying every single mile, and planning a continental trip with all the anticipation of a kid at Christmas.

Biking is a quality experience - a way of life, even - and if I have to take a few precautions or restrain my more sporting impulses slightly so that I can do it for sixty years rather than six, then that seems quite a bargain to me.

[1] Yes, I know that should be fora, and at least one reader of this blog will understand what I mean, but this is teh interwebs, where slightly picky arguments about plural forms tend to attract negative comments about exclusivity and elitism, and anyway, Latin's like no-one speaks it, so it's pointless, innit? So I will bite my tongue and use 'forums'. (I still make a useful distiction between 'formulas' and 'formulae', though.)


  1. Now that is an advert I could actually take seriously. No scaremongering, threats or hyperbole, just a serious message.

    I love fast, although it's not necessarily outright top speed that counts. On the road, acceleration is God and corners are the rest of the Trinity. I also have a pretty good imagination, a family with Accident & Emergency medical pedigree and a number of late biker friends. Oh, and not too many illusions about my abilities as a rider. I'll let loose when it's good and safe to do so, but the rest of the time - "Arrive Alive" isn't he worst motto you can adopt.

    Well done to the Derbyshire lads. Actually, quite well done to Sussex, too, who have sunk a few quid into putting up "Think Bike" signs. Which always make me think, too - remember the old TB campaigns highlighting the vulnerabilities and limitations of two wheels and why it's important other road users respect them? Yep, me too.

    [1] It's just easier! Probably, given how many "Forums" are out there, it's a word that - if not historically accurate - will be incorporated into "official" English soon. If not already. Sort of the inverse of "mouse" (in computer terms) - as an inanimate object, there is no collective noun, hence the official plural should be "mouses". But everybody, even computer retailers, use "mice" instead. Wrong, but simpler than arguing the point each time!

  2. I'm not a pedant (well, not usually) and I always use 'forums', but I can never do so without thinking 'fora'. And I never did Lat at skool either - I just have a respect for languages. Mind you, we did have a joke at skool of referring to the plural of johnnies as 'Durices'. Perhaps it's just a mis-spent childhood.


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