To the People of Assen: an Apology

You were only trying to get home from work, or back from school or down to the shops or out to coffee with your mates. There you were, minding your own business, texting while leaning on your handlebars, or chatting to your companions, or simply dreaming along thinking about something else, when suddenly a bunch of strange British people screeched to a halt in front of you in the middle of your perfectly normal bike lane and started earnestly discussing and photographing something so ordinary to you you’d never even noticed it before. You probably didn’t realise that you were using ‘cycle infrastructure’, you thought you were just going to work or school or coffee. You probably weren’t even aware that you were ‘cycling’. You see, hard as it is to believe, there are places where the bike route is not the most direct route from a to b, and where the cars actually take priority over people getting around under their own steam. Or where bike paths have to give way at every driveway and where the normal way to get your child to school is by car. A place where – and I know this must seem so strange you can’t quite conceive of it – people wouldn’t even consider moving a whole canal a few metres north in order to make room for a secondary bike route on the flimsy excuse that there’s a perfectly reasonable bike route on the other side of the canal already. I know. What sort of an excuse is that?

Imagine a group of people from, say, North Korea first setting eyes on a branch of Poundland – or standing blocking a whole aisle of Tesco, minds boggling over the choice of cereal – and you’ve got a good idea of what the Cycling Embassy infrastructure tour is like from the outside. So all I can say is, we’re sorry, and we’ll be going home again soon, leaving you to get on with your perfectly ordinary, perfectly sensible, well-adjusted lives.

You utter jammy sods.

7 Responses to To the People of Assen: an Apology

  1. I wonder how many more eloquent ways we have to find to say ‘this is what we want, this would be good for our country’ before stuff really starts happening …

  2. Kirsten says:

    So jealous — of both you and them. Fine writing as well.

  3. Bob says:

    *sigh* Sometimes I miss the Netherlands. So does my lonesome bike.

  4. disgruntled says:

    Jo – thanks
    Kirsten & Bob – it’s going to be hard to leave…
    People’s Front – I don’t know, that’s going to be the hard part!

  5. […] tour of the Netherlands by the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain. You can read more at To the People of Assen: an Apology « Town Mouse and see lots and lots of photos at Cycling Embassy Field Trip, Day 1 – a set on […]

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