Trust Centreville to find the one cafe in all the world with the one teenager in all the world who has always been terrified of cyclists – and then crowd onto the same table as her en-masse. It’s that kind of nuanced sensitivity that makes us the fine club we are today. To be fair there was nowhere else to sit and her mum said it was OK. She didn’t look too sure herself, even when I did my best disarming Gruffalo “Grrrr” to break the ice, along with a few choice dad jokes. Apparently when the family was out for, say a nice day in the Dales, as a toddler she would suddenly begin shrieking for no apparent reason, until they finally realised it was the cyclists in their sunglasses and helmets “Looking like insect stormtroopers.” John thought that was cool. Personally, I think we aren’t just any old insects, locusts are closer to the mark, plague or otherwise. If you liken the contents of a café to a field of crops we can munch the lot in thirty minutes flat.
I think technically seven riders is too small a number to constitute a plague though we had a good try. Surprisingly the mum had been defending cyclists to her rabidly anti-cyclist friend, channeling media memes, who would like us banned or retrained, or worse. She pointed out to her that cars were much more dangerous than bikes, and most cyclists also drive, so they are already trained in the rules of the road. As Dan threw in, 2 pedestrians are killed by cyclists a year, whereas 5 people are killed by bees and far more by cars. If you want to get into it, have a look at this graphic on all causes of death, which shows that in 2010 as an example 808 car drivers or passengers died, and 153 pedestrians were killed by cars. Not to belittle any individual death, each one of which is an appalling tragedy, but a little perspective is in order. On the whole we are the good guys, reducing death and expense caused by medical decrepitude and doing considerable less harm to the environment while on our bikes than when driving our cars.
Why not come and infest the South Pennines with Centreville? We are always happy to have new insect stormtroopers along and we’ll look after you – all abilities and genders very welcome. Get in touch