Do I deserve decapitation?

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article3097464.ece

I don’t know who has rattled his cage  but I don’t think I deserve decapitation for riding two abreast. As a Northender week in week out you get continual abuse from motorists  whose journey has been slowed for a couple of seconds. Usually in Wales for some reason which is not usually noted for busy roads.

I don’t litter the countryside but have committed the crime of wearing Lycra and wearing a ludicrous helmet, ride in pairs. Have yet to find a Carbon fibre bell for the high carbon footprint Trek. I’ve yet to see a cyclist drink Red Bull, let alone throw the can into the hedge. As for Lucozade I had a bottle for nearly a year unopened because I read the label.

He just got himself in the black book under the idiot section.

Been reading the comments (now up to 71) including one from Barry who went out on a ride with me on Wednesday (Boxing day) The thing was Barry thanked everyone that let us by, pulled their dog over, the horse riders by the Thatch. We passed at least 50 with no agro. This story is going to run by the looks of it.

Now up to 77 mostly reasoned posts which was more than that pricks Parris  post was.  I carry a spare gear cable  that  between  two sticks  would be just up his street.
Anyway after considering yesterdays events I posted the following to the Times comments section.

On the day Benazir Bhutto gets assasinated  for wanting political freedom we have Matthew Parris wanting cyclists decapitated for dropping litter and wearing Lycra.
You must feel a proud man Matthew Parris.

Hasn’t made it to the thread yet but his writing really mucked up half a day of my life, I went to the cinema with Val to see the Will Smith movie and came out to the news that Benazir Bhutto was dead. Pretty ironic that on the day he takes a pop at the likes of me a political leader gets assasinated.

Just had an email from the CTC about writing to the Times editor rather than the Letters page. The comments are now up to 110 which makes it the most commented section of their site.
28 Dec 07
Went out for a ride today, my last of the year and although I had a torrid time with three punctures it wasn’t a bad day. No piano wire and no loons trying to take me out. 41 miles and enough time to get myself sorted a good end to the year.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article3123486.ece

“I offended many with my Christmas attack on cyclists. It was meant humorously but so many cyclists have taken it seriously that I plainly misjudged. I am sorry.”

Thanks for the apology Matthew not easy say sorry when you’ve been getting away with it for years. Say something decent about us and you may even get your name taken out of the black book. 04 Jan 2008
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7 thoughts on “Do I deserve decapitation?”

  1. You hit the nail on the head with the idiot section reference. He couldn’t hack it as a politician so he went into journalism. Bit like “those that can, do, those that can’t, teach”. Which is a bit unfair on teachers really but it’s a very poor piece of journalism which doesn’t even warrant mention on your fine website – it sullies it by it’s very presence!!

    Take care,
    Paul.

  2. Thanks Paul. Obviously he,s going to get it in the neck from 50,000 CTCers from now on. I did post a comment but it hasn’t made it to the Times comment page yet. Kept it clean too didn’t mention shirtlifter once.
    Regards,
    Frank.

  3. Frank my comments on, what a complete T£$$%R Parris is.Obviously needs to get out with a club and see it from both sides. Oh sorry gutter journalists don’t do balance. If he’d have written that about Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation or Gender he would have been prosecuted. His picture burnt gangs calling for his execution in the street.

  4. Barry, he wouldn’t have lasted 5 seconds with you never mind 5 or 6 rounds. Liked the post immensely. It’s running at about 10 to 1 against him I would say. With a bit of luck there will be something in the paper tommorow. Normally people don’t comment to such an extent but this time I think he will be surprised at the reaction.

  5. How convincing can any argument be that suggests that the carbon footprint of a cyclist is more detrimental to the planet than that of any motor vehicle?

    Firstly I wish to point out that cyclists tend to drink from a refillable plastic bottle mounted in a cage about the bike. It is impractical to try to unscrew a bottle cap or to attempt to pull the tab from a can whilst riding as you tend to need two hands to do this. The culprit is much more likely have been in a car.

    Secondly, it is not against the law to ride abreast with a fellow cyclist – kindly refer to your copy of The Highway Code. Club cyclists when riding together will likely ride two abreast, (though I cannot legislate for groups you claim barricade the whole of the road).

    Finally, I do sincerely hope that you have not really set out to offend and that your intention is to be humorous, though I don’t know that suggesting that someone be garroted for pursuance of a pastime not to your own liking is amusing.

    A Fadero, Sussex,

    As a cyclist, driver, pedestrian and hopefully human I’d advocate road peace, however I rarely see cyclists with bottles other than proper bike bottles in their cages. So where does this litter come from? I’d guess it’s drivers.

    As to the piano wire reference in the first paragraph – I am surprised this has not been removed by the editor. Hopefully someone has reported this to the appropriate authorities.

    AJK, Cambridge, UK

    What a lot of sefl righteous fuss. All because Mr Parris has given a convincing example of why all laws “protecting” so called victims and minorities should be scrapped forthwith and complete free speech re-instated. Several people have asked change the word cyclist for homosexual or Muslim and what would be the reaction? But this is always as a condemnation of Mr Parris, everyone seems to have missed the point, which is a shame. That said, licensing and identification of the minority of two wheeled hooligans would be a good idea.

    D.L. Stephens, York, England

    Change the word “cyclist” in your article, Mr Parris, to read “gay” or “black” and you’ll see the article for the nasty, violence-inciting rant it is. For a man supposed to be a serious journalist, you have just joined the gutter press. Do you really think it funny to incite murder, Mr Parris? There are idiots out there who take words such as those you’ve written to justify their violence towards others. You are a fool of the highest order. In case you just haven’t got it into your nasty brain just how bad your hatred is, two friends of mine could have been killed by sort of actions you incite. One was seriously injured by such a wire strung across a cycle path and it left a nasty wound round his neck. Another was pushed off his bike by the passenger of an overtaking car. My friend ended up in a ditch with crushed vertebrae in his neck. He was lucky not to be made a quadriplegic: or worse. No, Mr Parris, your article is not funny: it’s pathetic.

    Helen Simmons, Norfolk, UK

    I was out cycling last night, and two boy-racers flew by me (on two separate occasions) beeping their horns and driving as close to me as possible. Obviously attempting to make it uncomfortable for me to cycle. This happens all the time, on my cycles to work the cars clog up the road and are completely ignorant of bikes. I am one of those cyclists who ignores the rules of the road – if the motorists shut me out and ignore me, making it dangerous for me to cycle, then I will ingore them and cycle how I want.

    Later on last night, my bike was stolen. Looks like Mr. Parris and his reinforced car seat have won.

    Des, Dublin,

    What a constructive bit of writing.
    Advocating decapitation as a means of controlling littering is certainly thinking outside the box. Well done, Mr Parris. The world needs more commentators like you, who so obviously have the solutions for this crazy world in which we live. Bravo!

    Barry Glading, Delray Beach, USA/Florida

    Oh grow up! Not all cyclists will be as perhaps inconsiderate as the ones near you have been. I myself am a cyclist and never litter. Any energy drinks or food I take with me goes back in my bag or pocket to be thrown away later. I would think the same is true for probably the majority of cyclists too. What you’ve implied about cyclists is the same as labelling every Muslim a fanatic or every hoody wearing teenager a thug, a gross and inaccurate generalisation.

    Matthew Brett, St Albans,

    “The red LED light – maybe from the appliance – glows with soft insistence”. This in all likelihood means that you, Matthew, are leaving one or more of your appliances on standby and thus wasting almost as much electricity as if it was on all night. Turn it off at the Mains and stop killing the Polar Bears dude!

    Dominic, Taunton, Somerset

    Incitement to murder and nothing less. I would hope that you will have had your collar felt for writing such vile garbage.
    Now I bet you would never even think of suggesting that bricks should be thrown at errant motorists.
    For the record. I have been a cyclist for 60 years and a motorist for 50 years. I wear lycra for comfort and in colours that can be seen.
    When in company I ride two abreast on roads that are not busy and single up when necessary. I have never been in the company of any cyclist that has discarded litter.
    I have not known of a cyclist that has caused the death of a motorist. Yet over 2 dozen cyclists personally known to me have been wiped out. All bar one in daylight. I know of dozens more that have been injured. Several crippled for life.
    As a service to my community I give freely of my time to pick up rubbish from the verges and hedgerows. McDonalds and all manner of takeaway rubbish, bottles, cans, cartons etc are thrown from vehicles. Motorway litter?

    Doug Laidlow, Sleaford, Lincs., UK.

    Most urban areas in the UK were built for cyclists. It’s not just that cars were rare, they hardly existed until the last 40 years or so.

    Once upon a time, everyone was a cyclist, and most of our streets and houses were built according to that. Even the road surface (tarmac) was put there at the demand of cyclists.

    Ever notice that the majority of anti-cyclist rants come from the same dimwits trying to cram millions of cars and bigger vehicles onto roads that weren’t designed for them?

    Patrick, Oxford, UK

    I live in St Paul, MN and we have a disproportionate amount of controlled access highway to populace. Where are the wrappers, the beercans, bottles, the car tires? The last Earthday I helped clean up, we pulled a stove out of the ditch.

    hell of a thing to drop while cycling, they must have had an extracycle.

    Bujiatang, St Paul, MN, USA

    Did Boris Johnson run over your foot again? Personally, while out riding my local byways, i greet warkers with a smile and and a ‘thank you’ if they are courteous enough to move to the side (as a responsible law abiding citizen i know they have right of way) and i will always stop if they haven’t seen me. And my isotonic sports drink? Water, in a bottle which i carry with me and re-use.

    When i cycle commute (a necessary journey – lycra ain’t free) i note that i never hear coarse language from car or SUV drivers who resent my position on the roads. Their windows are closed, its winter. I can however lip-read…

    Russ, plymouth UK,

    Mr Parris, your article is both offensive and factually incorrect. As a cyclist, I have never carried cans of drink whilst on the bike, I like so many of my lycra clad friends, use reusable water bottles. I suspect that the rubbish, you so thoughtfully collected in your bin bag, was more than likely thrown from passing cars. Having seen this behaviour whilst on my bike and been the victim of things thrown as at me from passing vehicles. Your article is no more than, as previously mentioned, incitement to murder and not something that I think you should be proud of. As for the other comments regarding cyclists, I never ride on the pavement, why tar us all with the same brush. Yes there are ‘cyclists’ that ride red lights, just as there are car drivers but I don’t go around spouting that all car drivers jump red lights. Cyclists have a hard enough time as it is on the roads without your ill thought out diatribe planting the sick piano wire ‘joke’ into the minds of some thoughtless individuals. If your article was written with the word cyclist replaced by Gays or Blacks, I don’t doubt for one minute that it wouldn’t have seen the light of day. Stand aside Jeremy Clarkson, your mantle has cycle hater has been lost.

    Matt , Leicester, England

    I have enjoyed reading Matthew Parriss in the past. Never again, he is sick.

    p s simon , London,

    Andrew Brough, Tunbridge Wells , UK said “if I lived anywhere but central London I’d have to use a car.” I have lived in the suburbs for 35 years without using a car. A bicycle is a useful means of travel / shopping as well as a toy. My usual feeling is more of joy than smugness apart from when a ton of steel has just grazed my ear.

    Paul Luton, Teddington, UK

    “In just one little posse of these monsters there are levels of self-satisfaction that could power a small religious crusade”

    …or a pride march.

    Maciej, London,

    Hmm, i agree with Matthew about the arrogance of cyclists and would add that the cycle touring groups are much the worse, especially when they hold time trials etc on country lanes. They inevitably cycle in a manner intended to intimidate pedestrians and horse-riders on the road and given the sort of abuse these other road-users receive at the same time this is clearly deliberate. Fortunately I drive a carriage rather than ride so these people face the dilemma that they’d like to behave in the same manner to me but the horse is backed up by a solid heavy vehicle and the driver has a whip able to reach across the carriageway and raise a weal even through Lycra.

    At the same time I cannot see the benefit in suggesting that people deliberately seek to kill or maim cyclists but not surprised that a former MP considers it sensible to do so. Given the volume of burger wrappings littering towns will he next advocate a cull of children and teenagers?

    Peter, Chelmsford,

    Matthew Parris must have been mad to write such an article. And that’s not a metaphor. It’s a diagnosis.

    Benji, London,

    From my perspective, cyclists seem to be a generally arrogant bunch. That being said, it is a strange sight in the City (of London) to see ranks of them waiting at red traffic lights; this a result of lectures (and hopefully worse altho. I suppose you can’t send someone to prison for riding through a red light ) by the police over the past few years.

    Michael, London, England

    I can’t comment om rural cyclists, but the nutters in central london take the biscuit. During the rush hour they are the fastest vehicles on the road. They barrel out of nowhere and expect everyone else to get of their way. Only about 1 in 20 ever stops at a red light – including pedestrian crossings. Having walked to work in the city for the last 5 years, I’ve been hit once and nearly taken out half a dozen times – and they usually have the cheek to harangue me, the pedestrian.

    I have never been badly hurt. This is fortunate as they are the only vehicles on the road that don’t require third party insurance. This means that if one does injure a pedestrian or cause an accident with other vehicles, the injured party has no come-back whatsoever. I believe that this should change. Cycles used on city streets should be registered, taxed and insured. I for one would report the the red-light jumpers if I could.

    iain, london,

    Matthew, I find your article very offensive. How on earth can you generalize so many people?
    I do remember that you regretted that the anti-hate laws were not going to be extended. Is your article not about hate? You should be ashamed of yourself. It’s very immoral to be so rude to people in general

    Jelle, London,

    Cyclists deserve to be decapitated? Wow!

    Try replacing the word “cyclists” with gays, women or any ethnic minorites and see how it scans. Matthew, I can’t believe you wrote that!

    Whenever I see an article such as this I feel drawn into a debate between cyclists and motorists. It’s complete nonsense! Like most cyclists I drive a car too. And as a cyclist – meaning, I just so happen to be on my bike – we do not suddenly adopt a whole new set of moral values, i.e. it is OK to chuck rubbish about, or jump traffic lights. Some cyclists do, true, but some motorists do also.

    There are good people and bad people irrespective of their mode of transport. We should lighten up a little and try to get on on this overcrowded little island of ours.

    Your issue is with litter-bugs not cyclists. You can decapitate them for all I care.

    Dan Verdin, Wokingham,

    What about the ‘elf ‘n safety aspect of cycling? It’s ten times more dangerous than driving. What about the carbon footprint of all those A&Es needed to put cyclists back together?

    Christopher Chantrill, Seattle, USA

    Smug?
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
    That just about sums Paris up.

    hamish, Exeter,

    Sounds like the relatives have got to you over Xmas Mathew! An article like this deserves to go in the dustbin. I think you can look elsewhere for the culprits guilty of discarding empty drinks bottles. Most cyclists have their own drinks bottles fixed to the frame. If this article is meant to be tongue in cheek and provoke a response from indignant cyclists, then you have achieved your objective!

    K.M Watson, Solihull, West Midlands

    Absolutely right Matthew – the self righteousness of cyclists is worse here in California. I bet most of them sheepishly drive monster SUVs. It’s the professional-grade logo-covered shirts and leggings I find funny – I enjoy asking them ‘you must be a professional rider for Capital One / US Postal Service / Fiat etc..?’
    Admittedly, no-one has stopped me in my Man United shirt and asked me if I’m actually Wayne Rooney.

    Mark, San Jose, California

    For someone of generally well considered and thought through argument this is a disappointingly bigotted and one sided opinion. I, my wife and two daughters regularly achieve between 120 and 150 miles by bicycle per week in west london – between our respective places of work and secondary schools.

    Between us we have experienced 7 falls all directly the result of pedestrians jay walking into the road while on a mobile phone, listening to their ipod or simply running to catch a bus or taxi – with absolutely no regard for who else maybe on the road. This is at its worst on quiet suburban side streets by the river.

    A bell? Damned if you do and damned if you don’t!!! Ring it and you are accused of impatience, fail to ring and you are accused of dangerous cycling. More should be done for the benefit of cyclists and the prevailing view that the pedestrian is always right – prosectute pedestrians for not crossing roads at prescribed crossing points.

    BB, London, UK

    Think I can say with pretty much every other cyclist ever that we don’t carry cans of hi-energy drink, because we don’t have anywhere to put them. We use hydration packs on our backs, or bottles on the bike itself. No need to chuck them away as they’re re-usable.

    Cans are just inconvenient to cyclists, so it won’t be us, sorry.

    BukkakeB, Huddersfield,

    Does Brian Vallance, who complained about cyclists exhaling CO2, understand the carbon cycle at all or is he just buying into the ignorant media obsession with CO2 = bad?

    The CO2 exhaled by humans, whether exercising or sedentary, is a part of the natural equilibrium of the carbon cycle. CO2 is absorbed by plants and stored as sugars, which enter the food chain. Humans and other animals consume these sugars in various forms and re-exhale the carbon as CO2, and the cycle begins again. No carbon is added to or removed from the system.

    This is very different from disrupting that equilibrium by releasing carbon that has been stored underground for millions of years, by means of fossil fuels, resulting in a net increase in the levels of carbon in general circulation.

    Hel, Dorset, UK

    The energy drink litter scandal is nothing to do with cyclysts. It’s quite obviously 17-22 year old lads, in their Fiestas and Peugeot 206s, who, not having a place of their own to go smoke dope, gather together, then head out into the country lanes in their cars, hoping to find a place to enjoy their illicit passtime away from the prying eyes of the local ‘Rozzers’. Beforehand, they load up with extreme fizzy drinks, smokey bacon crips, and some kind of chocolate from the 24 garage. The crips and chocs get eaten, but the drinks, being so sweet and gassy, and far to easy to spill if left in the car are lobbed in the hedge rows.

    I blame the advertisers for deliberately marketing these drinks and impressionable youths, by using such, ahem, iconic figures as Wayne Rooney to advertise them!

    mogie, London,

    Absolutely disgraceful.

    Cyclists have been killed by ‘pranksters’ putting up wires before now.

    I’ve been a club cyclist for 20 years now, and not once have I thrown litter on a club run. Same as if I’m running – if I need a gel, I’ll either take it home with me or find a bin. Your keen journalistic brain should have spotted that bikes have bottle cages and the bottles in there cost £3 or more each – theres no need to throw them away just because they are empty.

    Whoever is throwing these bottles – they arent club cyclists. Whoever is doing it would undoubtedly be doing it from their bikes, Novas, speedboats or whatever form of transport they use.

    Now if you excuse me, I’m just off to write a letter advocating the beating up of gays to stop the problem of cottaging in our local toilets. I’m sure nobody could have a problem with that could they ???

    Les, wirral, uk

    matthew parris writes words of encouragement to the anti fitness brigade, those who will drive a few hundred yards to buy a loaf of bread, to sandwich their bacon.
    Yes, the cyclist, those of us who enjoy life and celebrate our health and fitness.

    How misguided is this man, empty cans of energy drink? not us, we use water bottles in bottle holders on our bike frames.
    Chocolate wrappers, maybe energy bars but myslef, i take my wrapper home.
    As for the lycra, well, yes we do wear it, it’s because we are slim and fitter than the average anti fitness lardy driver, who just nips out for that loaf of bread.

    Matthew, perhaps you had a bad christmas, perhaps you have joined the anti fitness brigade or maybe you just feel that you can create a bandwagon, for others to jump on, After all, us lycra clad, energy drinking, chocolate scoffing cyclists are an easy target for a four by four driver.

    Think before you speak, go out and get some fresh air, that’s it up off of the couch!

    Craig, woodford, london

    Clearly Parris, you are out of your depth, about the 500ml it takes to fill a drinks bottle to be exact.

    Brian Harris, Redhill,

    Good on you Matthew.

    My wife and I take our dogs for the occassional walk along the towpath on the nearby canal. Wet as it always is, I love the little ringing bells that urge one to step into the mud strewn verge so that the eco-heros can ride past without dismounting. And the cheery “get the **** out of the way” as they pass just warms the heart.

    It may be that most bicyclists don’t behave this way. But enough of them do for the rest of us to start drawing some conclusions.

    In younger days I used to ride (horses) and always tried to avoid forcing pedestrians into the undergrowth so ‘Charlie’ and I could have an unobstructed trot past – if they did step back I made it a rule to always say thank you. Many riders however did not show this courtesy and we were the subject of some well justified abuse on more than one occassion.

    Hugh, London,

    What’s smug and deserves to be decapitated? Matthew Parris, for spending too much time reading the daily mail by the sounds of it.

    Dave Williams, London,

    I’m fully in agreement with Mr Parish. I’ve been out and the piano wire is up. That’ll teach them to drink energy drinks and wear stretchy clothing.

    N Bowles, Farnborough,

    Is it now considered acceptable to incite murder on the basis of ignorance? Some cyclists sometimes ride on the pavement so any may be randomly killed to discourage the others?

    Unless Matthew is writing with his tongue firmly in his cheek (and I certainly hope this was the case) I’m forced to conclude his accusations of self-righteousness might be ironically misplaced 😦

    Simon Barnes, Lancaster, UK

    Matthew please can you provide proof of how you came to the conclusion that the litter is thrown at cyclists level. I stand at a mere 5′ 7″ with my hands by my side my finger are 24″ to the floor. With my hands on my water bottle cage of my bike it is 15″ to the floor. Can you seriously say that there is a 9″ difference between all the microwaves, chocolate wrappers and the drinks bottles thrown into the hedge. I’d say when you took your pet for it’s 300 meter (there and back) walk along the path you saw litter and then decided to blame the first person you saw, a cyclist. But of course I have made that up, as you did.

    I run a cycle club and I beg you to come along and explain your theories to all 50 members, we would love to here your thoughts. I’d be glad to take you out on a club ride and show you all the obstacles left for us.

    Yes cyclists do break the rules but lets just share the space we have I’ll ring my bell sooner as long as you don’t hurl abuse when I go by.

    Lee, Northampton,

    A good comedic effort! Well dramtized, but far from the truth.

    Tim, Lighthouse Point, USA

    CO2 output from cyclists is worse than that of cars so we should ban cycling as well as all other forms of exercise. The world would be a better place if we all expended as little energy as possible therefore maximising the benefit of the food we eat which would then free up more land for the production of bio-diesel to power vehicles to get us about – walking and cycling really are a little last century don’t you think?

    Toby, London,

    I’m not sure where the evidence come from that cyclists are to blame for discarding the litter. Do car drivers/passengers not consume lucozade and similar drinks ?

    Andy, Surrey,

    I think that cycling is a fantastic way of getting from a to b, and excellent excercise. It is also pollution free. However I do wish that all cyclists would use lights and wear reflective clothing (and that it would be enforced!!)
    As for the training cyclists: it is NOT the law to ride two or three abreast….

    Steve Wilson, Chalfont ST Giles, UK

    Lets get one thing straight, incitement to commit a criminal offence i.e Murder carries a lengthy penalty Mr Parris, to suggest stringing piano wire across the road is at least juvenile, at worst damn right stupid. Yes I am a cyclist I also drive a car, I drink water from a plastic bottle that remains when empty on the bike. I leave no carbon footprint when cycling and am allowed to use the roads because it is a RIGHT and if it is safe to ride two a breast then why shouldn’t I. Cycling has got me fitter, helped me lose 36 lbs and sharpened me up for my other sporting pastime, boxing. Why don’t you come and explain to me your hatered of cyclists whilst doing 5 or six rounds of sparring with me or perhaps you could come out on a ride with us, a gentle 50 or 60 miler to start. Might balance your journalistic skills to see it from both sides.

    Barry Jones, Wirral, UK/Merseyside

    This article is extremely offensive to the majority of cyclists who enjoy and care about the environment and don’t leave litter. Advocating such violence for the offence of leaving litter and wearing clothing that he dislikes does appear to be somewhat extreme. If anyone suggested a similar fate for Mr Parrish for his own beliefs and lifestyle, we would hear the howls of anguish up here in Scotland, not to mention the police hammering at the door..

    Peter Binns, Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire

    Matthew, do you have any notion of how small a minority of cyclists are considerate enough to have a bell ? This is there solely to alert others that a bicycle is approaching from behind. Sounds like those relatives have disturbed your equilibrium.

    u, London, UK

    “A festive custom we could do worse than foster would be stringing piano wire across country lanes to decapitate cyclists”
    What a wonderful festive message, promoting the decapitation of cyclists because of a tiny minority who Mr Paris thinks are dropping litter…..

    Rob Williams, Berkshire, UK

    Obviously Mathew Parris has to resort to being ridiculously cotroversial, in order to receive sensible and more realistic writings from a minority group of people who probably contribute more positively to the well being of society than most. I think he may have succeded!

    Ian Bonner, Nuneaton,

    Not only their carbon footprint from their drinks etc, but the cyclist has a nasty habit of breathing out CO2 (and methane elsewhere!).

    An exercising cyclist puts out more CO2/km than a small car.

    Brian Vallance, Corfu, Greece

    It’s surely all George Bush’s fault.

    Mack, Kirbyville, Texas

    Cycling is a healthy activity enjoyed by many, it is non polluting, quiet and peaceful. A few in all of society spoil the environment by one means or another, not many of these will be fit healthy cyclists who enjoy the peace and tranquility of our beautiful countryside. The Parris article is a good example of pollution and nonsense by the few.

    Michael chance, Llandrillo,

    I normally enjoy Matthew’s articles but not this one. Do a search on Google for “Marco Badiali” and see how he was killed.

    mark, basingstoke,

    Fishing line deliberately stretched across between posts on canal towpaths is already a very real and dangerous problem. Piano wire might prove to be much more visble to any innocent cyclists – well done you!

    Stuart Haynes, Manchester, UK

    I think with a bit more thoughtful research into this topic, Mr Parris would have learned that most cyclists decant energy drinks into re-usable drinks bottles or hydration packs before using them. Cyclists are generally a very ‘outdoorsy’ bunch who cycle to enjoy the wonderful countryside we are priviledged to have. Consequently, they are careful not to harm the environment they enjoy.

    Paul Harte, Belfast,

    I’m dubious about the entire accusation – spotty oiks in tricked up Novas and slobs in SUVS are just as likely to guzzle energy drinks and lob the empties out of the window (along with the KFC cartons, ashtray contents, etc).
    And what’s with the blanket condemnation of an entire group for the alleged misbehaviour of a minority of them?

    paul newbold, sheffield, uk

    As foreigner to these shores (from Canada), I don’t understand the loathing between cyclists and motorists here. Surely many cyclists drive and many car owners have bikes too?

    Everyone’s trying to go somewhere and in the case of sports cyclists, what could be more healthy? It’s odd the way people get worked up by being delayed by 30 seconds, although I get why cyclist worrying about dangerous drivers, just as people find cyclists on the pavement a menace.

    Surely you Brits have bigger things to get worked up about? Bad trains, huge debts, obesity or too many illiterate kids perhaps!

    Jim Urbonas, Reading & Ontario, UK & Canada

    Cleary a case of a pot calling then kettle black. Matthew fellow motorists ditribute a disproportionate amount of detritus around the verges and laybys. Cyclists are incapable of ferring the mounds of fly tipping and bin bagged rubbish that I encounter on my cycle rides around West Yorkshire.

    Is Matthew au fait with the hydration practises of cyclists? The cyclists that I encounter all, without exception, use refillable drinks bottles or hydration packs. In packaging terms, that’s rather green isn’t it.

    Has Matthew considered reducing his extended family’s carbon footprint by him visiting them in Catalonia and staying there?

    vernon levy, Leeds, West Yorks

    The ones who cycle on the pavements are much worse, especially at speed, in dark clothing, with no lights, in the dusk. It’s a miracle they don’t kill and injure more pedestrians than they do. Can’t the plastic policemen do something about this? It would at least partly justify their existence.

    Emilia, North Yorkshire,

    Wire is quite often strung across cycle tracks by lunatics, not much of a joke really

    James, London,

    Bin-liners in hand, a group of us, infused with the seasonal goodwill that illuminates this column, of course, decided to walk a mile of a pretty and winding lane…

    I thinks it’s time you moved back to london

    A, London,

    Thats nothing, in the countryside the lane verges are littered with beer cans and hard liquer bottles in the millions, discarded by cyclists?, i think not.

    wayne, huntingdon, cambridgeshire

    Matthew, answers on a postcard please to the headline question, what is smug and needs decapitating, sounds like a bad christmas cracker joke but there is probably a clue in your feedback.

    Terry Conway, Stansted, UK

    What an incredible rant from someone who normally writes so well. I suppose his next article will ridicule all motorcycles for being hells angles, and all young drivers for being boy racers, and anyone under 20 for being a hoody. Utter tripe. If anyone needs to clip on some cycle clips and get out there to realise how liberating it is to ride those same lanes it is Mr Parris. Yes there are a few ignorant types in any hobby group, but the vast majority of cyclists would not discard litter in the way described.

    Gavin Davis, Canterbury,

    This is typical of the occasional anti-cyclist rants that are condoned by the British press. Presumably Matthew Parris turns a blind eye to the far more dangerous, inconsiderate and selfish behaviour of car drivers because he drives everywhere himself. Try cycling around London or any British city for a week Matthew and I think your views will change. Until you have some experience of the dangers we face, stop pasing judgement on cyclists.

    Ben Garside, Loughborough, Leics

    Matthew, I’m sorry to hear that so many cyclists in your area are dropping litter. Congratulations on being thoughtful enough to gather it up. I am a cyclist, despise litter and pick it up whenever I can, but I suppose that is rather at odds with your anti-cyclist views of the world and not the kind of thing you want to hear.

    With regard to the tonnes of flytipped microwaves, fridges and other domestic waste so often seen at our country roadsides, most likely dumped by means of motor car, perhaps you should also advocate sabotaging the brakes of motorists? Or is just easier to pick on a vulnerable minority?

    You and your readers should be aware that there have been several incidents in which cyclists have been seriously injured on trails by exactly the kind of piano wire “prank” you describe. It is no laughing matter, and by encouraging such behaviour you display a shocking level of irresponsibility for somebody writing in the national press.

    Helen, Dorset, UK

    Meanwhile, back to the issue of smugness. Energetic cyclists are not eco friendly. They fart a lot and it is acknowledged by all rightminded environmentalists that this produces more CO2 into the Atmosphere than a jumbo jet.

    BJ, London,

    Wasn’t Parris an MP who supported a governemnt that allows cars to park on pavements?
    Any cyclist with half a brain will ride on the path as motorists are not only immune from empathy with other road users they are immune from prosecution for manslaughter.

    Eddie Reader, birmingham, england

    While cycling down a lane once, I managed to swerve just in time to avoid a wire that had been placed at neck height to decapitate me for the evil crime of riding a bike (sorry, no offensive lycra here). Fortunately for the lynchees, once I had cut the wire down they still managed to hurl breeze blocks from the bridge above. So all was well that ended well, an evil cyclist was put in their place in a fun and comedy way, although I am quite agile, so I only ended up with a few stiches. What japes!

    MIlls, london,

    I’m sorry to hear about your issues with cyclists, I’m particularly sad to read you have decided to tar them all with the same brush. Ignorant and rude cyclists exist just as ignorant and rude motorists do. Simply because someone is riding a bicycle does not automatically make a person display the traits you have mentioned here. To think that is the case is ignorance in itself.

    My therapeutic suggestion to rid your body and mind of hostile and aggressive thoughts such as these is undertaking some light exercise in order to release some happiness-inducing endorphins.

    Perhaps something like a little…uhm…cycling?

    Andrew Brough, Tunbridge Wells , UK

    I loathe cyclists too. I live in central London and walk to work. It’s not unusual to see a cyclist pedalling furiously through a pelican crossing, skimming some old woman’s nose.

    And they’re so smug with it. I hardly ever use my car or public transport because I can walk everywhere, which is just as good for the environment as cycling. But this is my lifestyle choice – it’s good for me and saves me a fortune. if I lived anywhere but central London I’d have to use a car. If I had children, say, I’d have to move to the suburbs. I don’t expect anyone to congratulate me for doing something which suits me and is in my interests.

    Mike, London,

    Cyclists seem to think that traffic laws don’t apply to them as they routinely go through red traffic lights.

    John, LONDON,

    I too regularly clean our lane of such drink cans, MacDonalds detritus and other rubbish, however, they are nearly all deposited by young men in fully laden cars late in the evening. In all my years I have never seen a cyclist with a drinks can. Matthew, you try opening one and drinking whilst cycling, not possible, it needs two hands. And what can a cyclist do with a an open can from which he has taken a couple of swigs other than get the contents all over himself and his bike?

    Here’s a challenge – go out with a cycling club for a morning’s run and then write about it, you might be surprised at the difference in manners and attitude between cyclists and motorists. It may be a little eye opening!

    John, Sussex,

    My vote for lynchings would go to the drivers of SUVs. Monstrous, ugly, ego-bloated smug wagons, their tank-like properties are responsible for child deaths through poor visibility and deaths of other drivers in road collisions.

    The list of smug-driven attributes is too long to go into. Just play safe and lynch ’em all.

    iain carstairs, bedford, uk

    Oh, those arrogant, supremely self-important twits on bikes do get up my sleeve so. I had one spit on my car once, but my favourite cyclist story involves a long stretch of road that was being dug up, so traffic only had one lane to use, and it was regulated at each end by those portable traffic lights. Cyclist joins the end of a long queue of cars stopped for the light, moves to the front, then when the light turns green, holds the whole queue up by riding in the middle of the lane.

    The excuse that’s always trotted out by cyclists and their apologists (“we’ve got just as much right to use the road as anybody”), while factually correct (I suppose), entirely misses the point -and problem – of two different types of vehicle with wildly different cruising speeds having to share.

    And another thing. If there’s a perfectly good cycle lane right there next to you, get off the main road, would you, please?

    Merry Christmas, Matthew, and thanks for a great year of columns.

    Ted, Newcastle,

    No mention of the bags of rubbish thrown onto verges by motorists. No mention of lunatics trying to clip me, yes, clip me, while walking on an empty road. It’s happened twice! No mention of motorists still using mobile phones, and no mention of the lack of intelligence in THEIR heads while performing these disgraceful, behavioral traits. Jeremy Clarkson move over! You have a rival for the biggest anti-cyclist columnist.

    Peter Day, Doncaster, Yorkshire

    I went for a walk through some local woods yesterday afternoon. This was, until recently, a pleasant way of spending an hour or so. Now the woods have been adopted by our local gay friends to carry out their sex acts, resulting in used condoms being strewn all over the place. A similar problem to that described by Parris and blamed on cyclists i.e offensive litter in a place of beauty. Using Parris’s logic “Does homosexuality turn you into an insolent jerk? Or are insolent jerks drawn disproportionately to homosexuality?” Maybe Parris and his group instilled with seasonal goodwill would like to come here to clean up his friends used condoms, or should we use his logic and decapitate the people responsible, gays in this case, to solve the problem?

    Secondly, if Parris is so concerned about the carbon footprint of cyclists, has he thought what impact the footprint the ” Scores of my family have arrived from Spanish Catalonia to stay for Christmas” might have.

    David Jones, Nottingham, UK

    I totally agree Mathew. While it’s ludicrous to expect bicycles to coexist on the same road as cars and trucks it’s also outrageous to expect pedestrians to put up with lunatic cyclist charging down the pavement. Dedicated cycle paths may be the answer but who’s willing to pay for them? Far cheaper to just ban bikes.

    For people like Norman of Perth, I suggest you get down to your doctor and get some blood pressure tablets which is a far safer way to control BP than cycling.

    Ian, Sydney, Australia

    Matthew Parris calling anyone smug is pretty ironic

    john butcher, London, UK

    I don’t know if you’re trying to compete with Jeremy in being controversial. If so you’re not half as good at it as he. You see the world from your view only, as many do. As an aging cyclist I do it to keep my B.P. out of the medication bracket. What I see is mouthed expletives, very close cars driven by unreasonably impatient incompetents and frequent piles of broken glass . Swerve to avoid shredding your tyres and you increase your vocabulary considerably. Perhaps your contribution to green is a tiny car parked badly across two spaces. That’s the usual signature of the self righteous. Live and let live. It’s a traditional saying. Alternatively move to France. Everything stops for the cyclist there.

    Norman, perth W.A. , Austalia

    Trolling: Not to be confused with trawling, trolling drags baited hooks or lures through the water by means of a fishing rod or other pole, extended from fishing boats on stiff rods. Trollers control the depth of lines by their speed and/or fixed weights. …

    Cyclops, London, UK

  6. The suggestion of decapitating cyclists with piano wire, while shocking, is really only a variation of the sentiment of a frightening percentage of motorists. They really do feel justified in taking actions with their vehicles that put cyclists in direct danger of injury and death. I experience this on almost any ride of considerable length. Like any road-riding cyclist who has survived to the point of having gray hair underneath his silly helmet, I’ve learned any number of anticipatory and avoidance tactics. Some of which run contrary to the motorists “rules of the road”. So be it. There are few methods of attack that I have not already encountered and for which I am not already on the lookout. Including strung cables.

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