Riding into town the other day I came across some cheery charity fundraisers:
Now this has exactly the same effect on me as people going to the gym to spin. Why not go on a proper bike ride?
This group have set up their static tandem, got all their volunteers together, to pedal for hours and hours going absolutely nowhere. And to add insult to injury, the tandem is mounted on a trailer!
OK. We can all be together. It’s social. We’ll be in the village where everyone can see us. It’s safe for the kids. Easy to do the changeovers.
Rubbish. A bicycle is not built to stand still. This holds all the horrors of a hamster trapped in a wheel, or that Greek chap who had to go up and down the mountain with his boulder, although at least he got to move.
Would you organise an equestrian event at which you tied up a horse and then took turns to sit on it going clip-clop? And if you did, wouldn’t you be likely to put youngsters off for life? Horseriding? That’s really boring….
I suspect that riding a tandem is bad enough when you are moving. Who in their right mind wants to be the stoker on a tandem, with no view except a sweaty back and no control over your bike? I suppose you could sort of look sideways and see the countryside passing you by. But a tandem standing still?
I do wonder whether this is a case of Health and Safety gone mad. Or whether this particular organisation had so few adult cyclists that they couldn’t put together a team confident enough to organise a proper bike ride.
Of course it may be that I am lapsing into grumpy curmudgeonhood in the face of a fine effort by well-intentioned people to raise money for good causes. This is almost certainly true, but I have up my sleeve a final piece of evidence that ought to convince the most sceptical that static cycling is not a good idea. It ages you and makes you put on weight!
Speaking of Charity efforts, the Fat Cyclist blog recently carried a story about Fatty’s success in taking 1000 bikes to Africa to change lives. This was a clear case of good people doing their best for others but the account didn’t even touch on any of the hard questions: What about the local bike seller? Who gets a bike and who doesn’t? Is it right that a thousand African children now understand that bikes come from American charities? What happens to the bikes when the donors fly off home?
At least they didn’t donate any static tandems.