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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Outdoor Stereotypes No. 4

The Mountain Biker

Cartoon picture of mountain biker

You find a nice sheltered spot out of the wind and settle down to look back with satisfaction at the country that you have covered. It’s been tough going to get up here – steep, slippery and sometimes pathless, but all that’s forgotten as you relax and admire the view with cloud shadows scudding across the crisply lit landscape far below.

A strange, hunched figure with a peculiar gait staggers into view. As he slowly draws closer it becomes apparent that he is not really dressed for hillwalking. In fact he seems to have got dressed in the dark. The style, lurid colours and most of all the diminutive size and tightness  of his attire all point to an inadvertent  raid on his ten year old daughter’s ballet wardrobe.

His tights reach only to mid-calf. A bright girly pink spandex top strains to contain a resolutely masculine belly. He is wearing a pair of orange shoes secured with Velcro straps instead of laces, which match an elaborately sculpted plastic crown on his head. But most remarkable of all is the reason for his crab like progress.

He is carrying a bicycle.

And he has carried it up the same treacherous heathery hillside that has left you gasping for breath. You gaze at him in wonderment – the chief part of your wonder being, “Why?”

He doesn’t notice you as he trudges past, eyes down and breathing heavily; a nylon bag clatters as it bounces on his back. It seems to be full of Tupperware.  Oh well, you think – takes all sorts I suppose – and you resume your now pleasant ascent to a perfect perch overlooking the lesser hills, and reward yourself with a fine lunch and a celebratory slug of Ardbeg before taking the long rocky path back.

You hear him microseconds before you see him,  his approach heralded by the squeal of disc brakes and a clatter of loose gravel. The tubby middle aged man dressed as a pre-pubescent ballerina has been transformed.

He is now Robocop on wheels as he hurtles straight at you at forty miles per hour. Wearing more armour than a mediaeval knight he has become a crazed carbon fibre clad robot seemingly intent on your destruction. Spittle and sweat stream across his cheeks in the slipstream. The setting sun blazes from wraparound mirrored glasses and glints on gritted teeth.

“Loooookooouttheeeeeremaaate!” cries a panicking voice, forcing you to leap aside and sprawl  into the only truly boggy bit for miles. Clearly a bell is not considered essential equipment by this knight of the hills.

And he is gone. You listen hopefully for a crash of metal and a cry of anguish, but disappointingly you spot him a few minutes later pedalling along the track that leads to the car park. Dark thoughts of walking poles and spokes evaporate as you observe the back of the pretty pink top and purple tights - plastered with mud from top to bum.

His daughter will be very upset when he gets home.

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Blogger Andrew W said...

Excellent as ever.
Looks like that chap last year from the Lakes as we dropped down from the 1st nights camp.
The one that Alan had words with.

October 11, 2011 at 9:13 PM  
Blogger Louise said...

Quite brilliant!

October 11, 2011 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Phreerunner said...

Very good, Phil. I especially admire the rear braking system.

October 11, 2011 at 11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tee hee!

October 12, 2011 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Alan Sloman said...

It does bear a teeny resemblance to our Martin, does it not? Maybe just in my imagination...

He seems to have my belly though... He can keep it if he wants.

October 12, 2011 at 6:06 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Glad you enjoyed it chaps & chapess :-)

Ah, I see what you mean about the braking system, Martin. Intentional humour or just poor draughtsmanship? OK, I know which it is ...

Alan, your imagination is wildly wide of the mark although I will allow that you are possibly right about inspiration for the belly ;-D

October 12, 2011 at 7:52 PM  
Anonymous David A said...

Hi Phil - ait's a while sincew I visited, but a nudge and curiosity sent me over to your blog from phreerunner (the body!)and I've just discovered your 'Outdoor Stereotypes' series. Wonderful writing and I love the artwork - more, more!!!

Hope Miss W has fully recovered!


October 19, 2011 at 4:57 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Hello David. Miss W in the pink again, thankfully, apart from the odd lump & bump. I have been awarded full marks for my skill with steri strips (no scars!)

More outdoor types soon ;-)

October 20, 2011 at 8:40 PM  
Blogger Alison Hobbs said...

This post had me laughing out loud in a shopping mall Apple store.

October 20, 2011 at 11:57 PM  
Anonymous David A said...

Happy Birthday Phil!!! Alan's Blog gave the game away ...

I am very impressed - would never have guessed ...


October 22, 2011 at 7:09 PM  
Blogger Andrew W said...



October 22, 2011 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Heather T-S said...

I have only just seen this and thought you must be talking about my hubbie......although pink exchanges well for banana yellow....but then realised he would cycle UP the hill......

November 7, 2011 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Oh no, Heather. The true stereotype never cycles UPhill. Indeed I have often come across them carrying the bike down again. One cannot help but be impressed by the sheer pointlessness of the procedure.Surely they would enjoy their walk far more unencumbered by a velocipede?

November 8, 2011 at 9:55 AM  

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