Monday, August 11, 2008

A Good Time Beats A Long Time

Nowadays I only have a Brompton folding bike , I know this because everyday on the way back from the station ,a group of glue befuddled youfs call ”Brompton” at me in the lilting dialect of the Island Dr. Moreau . Back in the day, however, I had as gleaming urban chic groover , upon which I diced with death around Islington. Ah yes ,James Brown was on the earphones and “ Sometimes I wanna jump and kiss myself “,summons the joyful spirit of the endeavour. A nasty scratchy helmet would have defeated the object, which was to be free and easy doing as you damn well pleeezy (if you will).
Lets talk bikes then .Nicola Cooke’s splendidly gritty gold was achieved on hills and in rain that as a Welsh woman she must have prayed for . Her smile beamed from beneath a fibre glass horror of course and with mangled bike strewn about the course ,the boots that boss will see yet more reason to enforce wearing the life condom, or ‘cycling helmet’ . Recently lovely Boris was “caught “ bare headed whilst atop a peddle cycle . He chose, he explained ruefully “Hatless windswept liberty “, over helmeted security, and moderately expressed the view that we should have the choice. Quite so Boris quite so ,but the elf and safety imps multiply in the darkness and with Biblical portentousness they are able to wing hands to the refrain... ”If it saves the life of one child .....”
Well is that right ? In Paris there is a renaissance of cycling due to the success of the Vélib bikes which can be hired from ranks every 300m. (Lovely Boris please introduce here as promised ). The Free French have an insuperable problem with helmets ,“ C`est relou de porter un casque “, they say , its boring ; and more important still ,the Mademoiselles refuse to mess their hair up. The calls for them to scrunch their locks is nonetheless clamorous ,due to the sheer success of the scheme . Use has risen exponentially with inexperienced cyclists obviously joining then ranks. Well that sounds dangerous, but these are the figures. Three deaths a year, 24 million journey on a vélib, which means you have a 0.0000125% of killing yourself while cycling . What’s more in Paris last year 53% of deaths were motor cyclists ,22% pedestrians and 18% cars /lorries . Bikes were only 7%” It would seem then you are safer sur la cycle than walking and then think of all the advantages to your heart and waistline . Formidable !
Total cycling deaths in the UK have steadily declined since 1934 (1536) to 136 in 2007 . Helmets have made no noticeable impact and there is evidence they are actually a danger. When cycling helmets were introduce in Australia ,and this is crucial , cycling dropped by a third , but injuries only fell by 11%. Nothing new here, seat belts have had not effect on road deaths, speed cameras have not reduced death and serious injury ,and the congestion charge had a temporary impact but eventually only slowed down traffic journey times . I `ll make the easy point about unpredictable consequences and the health risk of overregulation , but there’s more .There is evidence that you are better off with a wig than a helmet . Drivers think you are jittery woman and steer clear. (Honest its in a study by Dr. Ian Walker Travel Psychologist at Bath)
There is something more than this.It is “la relou “ versus “windswept Liberty “. Who is to say that had Nicole Cooke been obliged to look stupid from day one whether she would ever have climbed the hills of Wales, and eventually the very summit of sporting achievement .The joy of her triumph ,and our participation in it, should remind us all of a great truth . We are here for a good time ,not just a long time ,and we should all aim to screech to our rest ,sideways, in a radical handbrake turn .Not drop of our battery chicken perch as New Labour would prefer.


Daisy said...

newmania...what a wonderful quote "We are here for a good time ,not just a long time"...i may have to use that some time soon...very good, my friend...and thanks for the reminder!

Newmania said...

I need to remind myself Daisy

Anonymous said...

Well said, newmania!

Good piece. Very cheering. I'm well cheered up anyway as I'm on leave and have just spent hours prowling round Theydon Garnon church. Couldn't get inside though, let alone up the tower, so had to make do with the exterior and some gorgeous 18th century graves.

Anonymous said...

You are back in great form my friend.. after a hesitant restart -a super post!

Newmania said...

Thanks Mut really ...smug smug

Anonymous said...

Inconsiderate creature!!!!

You do realise I hope that you are single-handedly responsible for just causing the simultaneous seizures suffered by 82,493 elf n safety bots??

Shame on you for causing such unprecedented mayhem :-).

Trubes said...

Good and interesting article Newms. Just come over to your site via Careless Sigh, and must say, how much I am enjoying it.
The only bike I've ever ridden was a Raleigh Shopper, complete with shopping basket. I abandoned it when I fell off, when inebriated.
I was nominated to go to the local off licence, by some chums, at a barbecue because we had run out of vino and everyone was over the limit to drive.
I didn't realise it was illegal to ride a bike whilst under the influence! Silly me!
On reflection I have done some crazy things in my life but that was probably the most dangerous.


Newmania said...

Trubes i used to cycle home from the City and I was once so drunk the only way I could turn a corner was by falling off and getting up again.

Better than being in a car though and thanks for your comment I am going to do about three semi decent things ( I hope ) per week not a daily chit chat which I do not have time for

Anonymous said...

now she's got her gold do you think she'll grow boobs?

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