As I stood this morning in the fine drizzle cheering and clapping the thousands of amateur cyclists in the RideLondon-Surrey100 with Mr Man, Blossom and Molly dog (whose owners were taking part in the event), you accosted me quite aggressively and demanded to know "How long is this going on for?"
Aside from the fact that a preliminary "Good morning!" or even a cursory "Excuse me?" might have softened what came next, I was stunned by the vitriolic attack you then launched after I mentioned the event was continuing for some time yet ("at least until this afternoon" were my words).
"If you need to cross the road, you can do so more safely round the corner, just watch for gaps between the cyclists!" I offered.
"Do they stop for lights?" you asked angrily.
"Err, no, it's a well publicised closed road event!" was my reply.
And then you were off on your rant.
"A bloody inconvenience!" you snarled. "It shouldn't be allowed, totally ridiculous, damn nuisance for us locals..."
I interrupted you. "I'm a local too," I said, "And I think it is a brilliant community event, really exciting and so much fun!"
I was smiling broadly and still clapping the riders whilst this exchange was taking place.
You were not to be swayed from your staunch opinion.
"They should do it somewhere else, it's a disgrace..."
"No it's not!" I replied. "It's fantastic, look how many people are taking part, an amazing achievement for all those participating!"
But alas you were not for the turning, and continued to rant and rave and shake your fists at the swarms of pedal pushers racing past.
"Dreadful, totally inconsiderate..." You went on and on. I rolled my eyes and laughed at you.
And thankfully you then stormed off with your own little black thundercloud hovering persistently over your head.
I did shout after you - quite loudly, I'm sure you heard me - that "You should join in! It might make you a happier person!"
Never mind. I felt sorry for you. Just like I pity the individual who criticised the numerous neighbours who play social volleyball (open to anyone who wishes to join in, might I add) on a grassy area of our communal development. An individual who demanded in their acrimonious email to the residents' committee that (I quote) it should "cease immediately" and they were disappointed that such people were "just interested in their own enjoyment".
Yes, really. Maybe the two of you are related?
So. Mr Miserable. Why are you so displeased to see thousands of your fellow beings taking part in an outdoor activity that brings together all ages, sizes, shapes and abilities? Does it highlight your own social ineptitude? Or maybe you just got out of the wrong side of bed? Or were suffering the aftereffects of a hangover?
Because, you know what? Smiling and cheering on those who take part is a great - and rewarding - way to enjoy a sport, even if you cannot be on a bike yourself.
And it might just make your own life a little brighter.
Especially at 8am on a rainy Sunday morning.
Love and happiness,
|Heading up Sheen Lane towards Richmond Park -|
the masses en biciclette