Saturday, 16 July 2016

Cycles, respect and more mayhem.

My favourite quote at the moment is this: "No-one wants to ride somebody else's bike up the Mont Ventoux." This bit of apparent absurdity came up in the commentary on the Tour de France the day before yesterday. It came as one of the riders was having a problem with his bike and had to change it. And then again: same rider, another change. In the end he had about five changes until, according to one of the commentators, he got his own bike back. 

And then there was the crashing into a motorbike incident. After a few hundred yards of running up the mountain in those special cycling shoes with cleats that fix them to the pedals (I ask you !!!), Froome was provided with the spare yellow bicycle that is available for the race leader. Except that the pedals weren't right for his shoes. The attachments didn't match! So he was wobbling about all over the place with his feet sliding off the pedals, until they brought him his own replacement bike. 

Apparently cyclists are really sensitive to such changes. If a bike is ever so slightly smaller or bigger than their own, they have difficulty riding, or at any rate difficulty riding up to the standard they strive for, and sometimes even their own second-best bike is not quite right. It must be hard being a professional. And even harder being the personal assistant who has to ensure that everything us up to scratch. 

Yesterday they had a minute's silence at the start of the stage for the victims of the Nice terrorist incident and, as the first one had really only involved the race officials, they had another one at the end. They combined all the jersey presentations into one and had a very muted ceremony, ending with all the jersey winners placing their flowers on the podium as a kind of tribute. They had had serious doubts about continuing with yesterday's stage at all but finally decided to go ahead on the grounds that if you let terrorism make you change your life and your plans then the terrorists have won. And so the time trial went ahead more or less as planned but involving even more security checks. 

We watched the highlights programme as usual, rather later in the evening than we had originally planned. And so we went straight from the cycling to a news programme, where we discovered that chaos had broken out in Turkey. Another dose of mayhem. Strangely this coup seems to have been largely put down because the President of Turkey was able to use social media to urge his supporters to go out onto the streets in defiance of the curfew that had been imposed. 

And so a president who appears to want to take his country back into a more traditional religious time used modern methods to impose his will. Somehow this picking and choosing, mixing and matching of traditional and ultra-modern leaves me feeling rather confused. 

And I have the impression that our world in a very poor state.

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