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Too hurried for the scenic route

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The only adaptation he made was a pair of metal clips to keep his trousers from getting oily on the chain

As usual the Cape Town Cycle Tour was a spectacular event, specially for me, as the route passes right in front of my house.

Maybe I’ll include that snippet of information one day when I decide to sell the property. “Perfectly situated for cycle race viewing.”

I’ve often wondered why more people don’t use bicycles for their everyday travelling.

Most of us travel short distances most of the time – down to the shops to fetch bread and milk, or across the village to have tea with Aunty Jane.

Of course, these super-lightweight racing machines are not ideal for real travel.

You’d need something sturdy, preferably with a carrier attached for the groceries.

Long ago I knew several regular cyclists who used their bikes for everyday travel. One Anglican minister went everywhere on two wheels, dressed in his normal, semi-formal clothes – long trousers, jacket and tie.

The only adaptation he made was a pair of metal clips to keep his trousers from getting oily on the chain.

I wonder whether you still get road bikes like that. They were built as transport rather than sports equipment.

I suppose we’re all in too much of a hurry these days to consider cycling for normal transport.

No wonder our roads are congested when we go by car, taking three empty seats with us wherever we go and wasting time cruising around the parking area looking for a vacant space.

Some years ago during a visit to America, I went on a guided tour of Chicago riding on a Segway, surely one of the most remarkable vehicles ever invented.

For those who haven’t heard about the Segway it’s a self-balancing sort of scooter you stand on and guide by leaning in the direction you want to go.

Ever since riding on one I have wondered why there aren’t millions of them buzzing about the streets of every city.

I suppose one reason they have not been more popular is our fear of each other.

In today’s unkind world most of us prefer to travel in a metal box with securely locking doors and intruder alarms.

We tend to regard every stranger as an enemy and a potential threat to our safety.

I suppose we only have to read the headlines of any daily newspaper to see that our fears are not unfounded.

We have been brought up to regard wild animals as dangerous, but there are few other creatures on this planet which can compare with humans when it comes to cruel, vicious behaviour.

Last laugh

A gang of three tough robbers broke into a lawyers’ club and tried to rob them. The lawyers were mostly elderly, but they put up a valiant fight and the gang were eventually pleased to make their escape.

As they drove off the gang leader said gruffly: “I told you we should stay away from lawyers.”

A second gang member said: “Well at least we’ve come away with R75 between us.”

“Yes,” said the third, “but we had R200 when we went in.”