Non-cyclist wins non-race

By the time you read this, I will have crossed the finish line in the Cape Town Cycle Tour way ahead of Lance Armstrong and if anyone is looking for me, I’ll be in the Fireman’s Arms carbo-loading on Windhoek lager.
I intend crossing the finish line on foot and will probably catch a cab to the pub. I don’t, you see, own a bicycle. I believe that bicycles are for children and circus bears.
But even if I mentally regressed to the age of nine, or turned into a grizzly overnight, I still wouldn’t get one. Far less would I mount a sliver of a saddle and compete against 35 000 pointy-headed people wearing disturbingly tight Lycra and gay shoes over a distance of 109kms. I can’t even drive my car for 109kms without falling asleep or stopping for beer.
So my dirty little secret is out. I am not a cyclist. I’m glad that’s out of the way. I wouldn’t want racers getting halfway through this column and thinking: “It’s this kind of idiot that gives cycling a bad name.” Come to think of it, I am precisely that kind of idiot. And I can do it without going anywhere near a bike. In fact, I’m doing it right now from behind my computer with a jug of sangria at my elbow. If I open my window, I can shout: “Faster, you lazy bastard,” at every cyclist who comes heaving into view.
I have to make sure my gate is locked, though. Cyclists are renowned for their over-sensitivity to verbal abuse and many a motorist has been grateful for a gap in the traffic opening up as an outraged peloton bears down on him after he had the sheer bloody nerve to overtake while they were riding 17 abreast.
As all serious writers do when faced with a subject requiring in-depth research, I turned to Google. “Cycling” throws up 52 million results. This was astonishing, especially when one considers that “sex with your wife” throws up 21 million results. Okay, perhaps it’s not all that astonishing.
The first website I encountered was a tremendous help. It said: “Cycling is an activity most commonly performed on a bicycle.” This is like pointing out that walking is an activity most commonly performed on the legs.
“I know what cycling is!” I shouted, giving my computer a swift backhand. It was more cooperative after that, and it wasn’t long before it coughed up a fact that I could use.
Did you know that the modern bicycle was introduced in the 19th century and numbers about one billion worldwide? What I find even more alarming is that the Chinese were introduced in the Neolithic era and now number about 1.5 billion. This means that bicycles are multiplying faster than the Chinese. You don’t have to be a genius to conclude that the threat of world domination comes from bicycles and not, as previously thought, the Chinese. Bicycle-riding Chinese clearly pose the biggest danger of all to the planet.
The first bicycle was invented by a Frenchman, an Englishman, a Scotsman or an American – depending on who you ask. One of the earliest prototypes was called a velocipede. It was designed by a German and had a wooden frame, square wheels and no handlebars or pedals. It just sat there, looking rather stupid. Perhaps I’m thinking of the inventor.
The Penny Farthing was an improvement, if you can call anything designed by an escaped mental patient an improvement. Okay, I’m bored with that bit.
Let us rather look at the development of cyclists themselves. Early cyclists were covered in hair and had long, curved incisors which they would use to bite one another while bunched together at the start. In that respect, not much has changed.
The evolution of cyclists, from wild-eyed Neanderthals to red-eyed substance abusers, coincided with the evolution of performance-enhancing drugs. In the 1800s, the most popular drugs were morphine and cocaine. This meant that many entrants in earlier events, such as the Bordeaux-Paris race, carried on past the finish line and eventually had to be brought down by police snipers waiting at the Italian border.
Once the bodies began piling up, cyclists reluctantly agreed that powerful opiates and amphetamines were tarnishing the image of the sport. For a long time, cyclists were the only people in Europe not getting high on weekends. Some of the top athletes of today still talk about that era in hushed tones, which goes a long way towards helping people fall asleep.
These days, I am pleased to report, cyclists no longer feel guilty when it comes to stuffing their faces with any number of illicit narcotics. Alcohol remains a firm favourite, although the jury is still passed out regarding its performance enhancing qualities.
Marijuana, South Africa’s most popular cash crop, is regarded as more of a hindrance than a help when it comes to beating the cut-off time. Given the Cape’s spectacular scenery, some riders have been known to take up to three days to finish the race after accidentally sucking on a bong right before the start.
Forget about rubbish like dehydroepiandronsterone, methylhexanamine and recombinant erythropoietin. If you struggle to pronounce it, you can be sure it’s banned. Stick with something simple. Like LSD. It will diminish your resolve to finish the race and you will make lots of interesting new friends along the route, some of whom may actually exist.
Hopefully nobody will be asked to wee into a cup after today’s fiasco. This is not a police state like Australia and I urge officials to have the good grace to turn a blind eye or, at the very least, accept bribes.

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