A nice-looking mountain bike

I passed the guy while I was walking into town with my dogs. He was posed in the middle of the pavement, one hand casually holding a nice-looking mountain bike by the handlebars. I live out in the sticks, there’s never a copper around to enforce things like ‘no bikes on pavements’, even if the Boys in Blue were inclined to bother about the kind of laws that politicians make on the fucking hoof, after one too many people write whiny letters to the papers.

In his other hand he was loosely waving a slowly-smouldering cigarette.

A fucking cigarette? When you’re busy showing off your health-and-environment credentials with that bike?

Now, I’ll ‘fess up: I don’t smoke. But before you get all judgemental on me, I used to. And I know damn well that I wouldn’t have a hope in hell of managing my three dogs (two Staffie/Collie crosses and an Anglo Wulfdog pup), whom I usually walk together, if the smoking habit were still with me.

Handling powerful-breed dogs requires lung capacity. Cycling requires even more fucking lung capacity. Smoking reduces lung capacity. Are you seeing the contradiction yet?

This guy was old, and looked it; the poster-grandad of the anti-smoking lobby. Maybe he remembered that, in the days of his youth, the two things that had marked lads out as “cool” had been having a bike, and smoking, and he thought that currency might still be valid.

Or maybe he was just a wanker, old before his time and, despite his fucking cycling habit, not long for this world.

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