Things I hate: Cycling snobs


I can’t imagine how much it must suck to assume that every bicycle ride is a competition.

That’s what happens to one Guardian contributor when he gets on his bicycle. Having ‘found himself’ after getting lost (should have used a Garmin, mate!), hordes of Lycra-clad Strava warriors literally harangue him from the peloton as he sits at the side of the road in his Millets poncho, chomping on a stale cheese sandwich as the sun sets on the halcyon days of cycling.

And have you ever tried talking to a MAMIL-type? It’s all Strava segments and, heaven forbid, bicycles! Boring! Gone are the days when you could roll up a spliff and cycle mashed, weaving through the undulating countryside without being overtaken by yet more Lycra-lout cyclists enjoying the same feeling of being on a bike.

I’ve always liked cycling. You know, before it was cool. Not like these Jonny-come-latelys, helping to raise the profile of cycling, bringing about a nationwide increase in the number of bicycle facilities, and encouraging new generations of kids to get on a bike an emulate their Olympic heroes. This shift in culture has completely ruined cycling!

Time was when cycling was all lecturers, feminists and wizards. We’d talk about Sheldon Brown, Brooks saddles (when they cost £2.25 from Woolworths) and the reassuring feeling of wooden wheels before they went all pneumatic and poncey. Recently I’ve noticed an increase in people who have a greater interest in bicycles than my own! They’re everywhere! They talk about modern frame materials and popular cycling athletes and technology that didn’t exist before I had to quit cycling because I had a baby.

The focus has shifted from my three year cycle tour through Nepal when I was at uni, to keeping fit, well-publicised family-based cycling events, better infrastructure and clothing manufacturers who are trying to make non-shit looking cycling clothes. The aspiration is no longer to get lost, to enjoy and to explore, it’s to go for a dedicated bike ride without having to quit your job, spend money on something other than booze (you know, like, a healthy hobby), and watch track cycling or stages of the Tour de France. It’s polluting the culture.

Because unless you’re an ageing hippy cycling under the influence or a Wiggo wannabe, there’s simply no middle ground. And, yeah, well it’s just fucking boring now. I hate it. It sucks.

Hopkins to be used as ammunition for latest collider tests

Scientists at CERN  have announced that they’re to begin using controversial television personality Katie Hopkins as a projectile for their latest Large Hadron Collider tests.

With interest dwindling, and faced with boring and confusing test results, physicists at the CERN laboratories in Switzerland have been exploring ways of rekindling a public interest driven senseless by The Voice, This Morning and James Cordon.

The state of the art CERN lab, which cost £6.19bn and spans the Franco-Swiss border, was constructed to address the most fundamental mysteries of science. However, when it became apparent that tests would not yield scientific breakthroughs such as hoverboards, Lightsabers or well-mannered children, public interest has dwindled.

‘Ever since people stopped thinking the world would end when we switched this thing on we’ve had problems trying to drum up interest in what we do,’ said a CERN spokesman. ‘Introducing figures of utter derision into our tests will hopefully change this.’

Hopkins was seen as an ideal projectile owing to a low particle density and her disregard for the welfare of humanity. The latest CERN tests will accelerated Hopkins round the 27-kilometre tunnel, whereupon she’ll be collided at a velocity just shy of the speed of light.

While scientists hope the tests will work to reignite public interest in the esoteric goings on at CERN, they were cynical about uncovering any ground-breaking discoveries. ‘To be honest, we’re pretty bored of what’s happening here. We’re just tired of this vapid moron occupying so much of societies’ collective conscience.’

Things I hate: Gigs

gigs are awful things I hate

The thrill of seeing my favourite band was once enough to eclipse the terror that accompanies spending time penned by a mass of sweaty, idiotic and tactile public. For the well-seasoned gig-goer, nothing rouses disdain like the realisation that in order to fulfil a rapidly fleeting interest in music, we’re to endure wretched people for extended periods of time. I’m talking about gigs.

Problems with attending gigs stem from the fact that you’re observing something highly personal in a public space. Regrettably, people that may or may not give a toot about the artist you’ve paid hefty pound to watch are invading the 20 centimetres of personal space you hold oh so dear, and most of the time they’re intolerable morons. There are several abhorrent behavioural traits that your common gig-going goon will observe, but for the sake of brevity I’ll limit myself to my five biggest gig grievances:

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Dissecting the McVitie’s Victoria Christmas Choir TV ad

To mark its first foray into festive advertising in 30 years, McVitie’s has taken the safe route of throwing cute singing animals at the wall to see what sticks in a bid for your hard-earned Christmas cash. Sure, it all seems fairly innocuous and sweet, but take a closer look and you’ll see that not all is as it seems in the latest cracker-laden McVitie’s nativity plot.

We open on a familiar Christmas scene: a family bored by TV, granddad sleeps and drunk on cheap grog expels noxious sprout farts into the dull ether of yet another Miranda episode. Having taken stock of the strangely immaculate living room, hungry dad notices that there’s nothing to eat other than a lone box of McVitie’s Victoria Christmas biscuits. When did I buy this single box placed upon the table? he thinks, I pray there’s something more to eat?

Dad’s in luck when it’s revealed that his McVitie’s Victoria Christmas box contains not an unimaginative variety of butter fingers, white choc chip crumbles and fully coated chocolate squares, but rather a feast of fresh singing novelty meats. Eschewing the adage that cute furry animals are not just for Christmas, McVitie’s are packing their latest festive boxes full of raw cat, dog, pig, rabbit and duck.

Joy spreads through the family as they register the arrival of Christmas dinner. Granddad’s face lighting up as he realises he’ll be able to use the cast iron fondue set he received this Christmas to toast the young husky that’s warming across his lap. And what’s this? Oh joy! A baby narwhal marinated in punch! The narwhal aware of his own fate calls to his family. Mum and son’s eyes glow as the pair salivate at the anticipation of a fresh kill.

The family glare at the singing feast parading before them, placating palates with a meagre and foul appetiser. Eurgh! What is this? dad thinks, looking to his daughter as if his six year old might have the answer, and the family head outside to fire up barbecue.


Review: BigxTop Daysack


With daily commuting in the UK comes a barrage of bad weather that can dash the hopes of those of us who dread public transport. However, as Sir Ranulph Fiennes once said: ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.’ And with that I’d like to take the opportunity to tell you about the mainstay of my daily cycle commute: the BigxTop Daysack.

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Don’t believe the hype: The Invisible Bike Helmet

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Fair weather bike twats everywhere have gone apeshit over The Invisible Bike Helmet; a response to a clunky impediment that’s apparently preventing people from hopping on their bicycles en masse – the helmet.

The Hövding, while sounding like an automotive issue Jay-Z might encounter with his “Benz”, is the invention of two Swedes who’d grown tired of wearing unsightly and cumbersome plastic shells on their swedes. The supposedly revolutionary Hövding made it’s debut this time last year when the very same Vimeo video that’s doing the rounds did the rounds. Even then initial excitement was quickly snuffed having examined the real-world dependability of what is effectively a portable airbag for oblivious Pashley-riding Adele/Beckham wannabes.

The first problem with The Invisible Bike Helmet is that it’s not invisible, but rather a huge explosive neckerchief. Anyone who rides with a Buff during winter knows that it soon warms up, so one can only imagine how unbearably stuffy the Hövding gets on any journey over 20 minutes. Summer’s gonna be hell in that thing. Do you really want to go out in a thick, heavy volatile scarf instead of wearing a light, well-ventilated helmet?

Another issue with the Hövding is its £330 price tag. Exactly how much of a knock does it take to activate the airbag? Would it withstand being dropped? What happens if you hit a pothole, come off a particularly high curb or approach some lights and, unable to unclip your pedals, fall helplessly athwart alongside a busload of awful, awful teenagers. A well-timed airbag helmet deployment would be the £330 icing on the shame cake.

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The Vimeo video is somewhat flaky, too. Despite extensive research, there’s no clue as to how much protection the Hövding provides against facial injuries. The above model’s career would be finished. I’ll settle for the 1 inch of plastic and polystyrene my current lid provides over something that my face could quite easily fall out of.

Sure: helmets look rubbish. But they’re no more a fashion accessory than seatbelts are. They’re not meant to look good. If it ain’t broke, despite how unseasonably unfashionable, don’t fix it.

Will you be wearing a Hövding? What colour will you get? Have you come unstuck at traffic lights? Reveal all in the comments.

Entire population of Britain apply to live on Mars

Mars, Mars One, applications, UK, Great Britain

Record numbers of people in Britain have applied to leave the country forever to seek a meaningful existence on Mars.

Over 60 million Britons have applied to become Mars colonists with non-profit organisation Get Me The Shit Out Of Here since submissions for a place aboard the first manned flight to the Red Planet opened on the 1st of May. Get Me The Shit Out Of Here hopes to start transporting Britons to Mars by 2023, with more astronauts arriving thereafter.

“We knew we’d see a large number of British applications, but this is ridiculous,” Get Me The Shit Out Of Here’s Chief Executive Officer David Parker said in a statement. “While we’re thrilled to see so many applications, transporting the entire population of Great Britain sort of defies the point.”

According to Parker, the company is eschewing scientific credentials in favour of “quirky, zany and easy-going people. What we’re looking for is not restricted to people with an academic background.”

Anyone can apply by submitting a 3-minute video stating his or her motivations for wanting to leave the UK and never return; with “It’s full”, “It’s dull”, “I fancy a change of scenery” and “It’s just crap” cited as the most popular reasons for leaving.

Get Me The Shit Out Of Here received applications from all over the UK, officials said. Applications from High Wycombe lead the way, with Middlesbrough, Swindon, Derby and Luton making up the top 5. Shortly after applications opened, the Get Me The Shit Out Of Here site crashed under the weight of submissions.

Adam Merry, a 38-year-old Mars hopeful from Maidenhead said: “I’ve been a bit depressed recently. After a divorce and the day I’ve just had, I think it’s time for a change. My video tagline states that I put the ‘nought’ in astronaut’. I’ve not had many votes.

“I’m not really a people person, so I think eight months in space and being one of the first to colonise Mars would do me good. I can probably deal with the toxic dust, arctic temperatures and inability to return to Earth. Internet access and the calibre of the women on Mars might be the clincher, though. Haha!”