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Blog Posted in avatar   Steve Hayes's Blog

Most perverse of human endeavours

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By Steve Hayes
Posted Jul 26, 2012 in Lifestyle
What is the most perverse of all human endeavours? I would like to offer the suggestion that cycling is easily the favourite candidate for this much coveted accolade. For those of you who find the assertion less than entirely credible, I can only assume that you are not cyclists. So, please allow me a moment to explain.
The most obvious example of cycling perversity is its ability to arbitrarily subvert the laws of nature. For example, when cycling, every wind is a headwind; it doesn't matter which way the wind is blowing; it's a headwind. And you are struggling. I'm not exaggerating: to go twice as fast requires, not twice the power, but eight times as much: and all of that difference is accounted for in overcoming air resistance. So, a headwind is, to resort to technical jargon, a bad thing.
Cycling also has the capacity to create reverse serendipity, as though the very gods themselves were conspiring against you. We see this with any mechanical failure (eg, a taco-ed wheel), which will inevitably occur at the point that is most distant from home. And it only seems to happen when it is raining and you have no money for taxi fare. And, just as you realise this, you also remember where you left the phone: yes, you guessed, at home; no one's going to come to the rescue. It's a long, cold, wet and miserable walk home.
It gets worse. Cycling has the power to corrupt the morals of a saint. And, just for the sake of clarity, let me say I am not talking about professionals whose livelihoods and careers hang on taking performance enhancing substances and not getting caught. I'm talking about all cyclists. You don't believe me. Just listen to cyclists. The tales they tell will astound. No matter how far you have cycled, they have cycled further. No matter how fast you have cycled, they have cycled faster. No matter how far it was that you had to walk home in the freezing rain, they have suffered far worse. Cycling induces not simple, mere exaggeration, but downright lies.
The worst of the lies are, of course, the lies one tells oneself. Now one has an audience that truly wants to believe. One of the all time great lies is of course: this is the last bike I will ever need. Or it might be: buying this bike will save a fortune. Or possibly, I will be really good when I train properly; which, sadly, but, such is life, invariably and seamlessly, becomes, I would have been good, if only I had trained properly.
It gets even worse. Cycling destroys the capacity for accepting responsibility. So, I would have won the race (don't get me wrong, we are not talking the Tour de France here, just some social ride with a friend will suffice), if only... (fill in the dots with anything that comes to mind; it doesn't have to be reasonable, or, even for that matter, make sense).
Cycling also distorts, to put it mildly (albeit, if only in relation to cycling related matters), one's ability to reason logically. Cyclists will spend thousands of pounds buying the lightest bike they can get their hands on and then adorn it with kilograms of useless, unnecessary accoutrement's, turning their svelte, lively, responsive, racing machine into the equivalent of forty pounds of pig iron with square wheels.
Well, I think I have made my case. I don't believe you can identify any area of human endeavour to compete with cycling for the title of most perverse.
But, I challenge you to try.

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