The Angry Corrie 14: Aug-Sep 1993


WALKING TYPES No. 7: The Mountain Biker

You thought you'd have a view of the top from here, but there's just a wee dip and then a row of crags, so you stop for a last look down into the glen. Your first impression is that a mad, colourblind person is climbing the hill towards you. He is dressed in that garish mixture of green, yellow, pink and mauve which is favoured by downhill skiers who are either exceedingly bad or exceedingly good at skiing.

He is carrying a bicycle. Up two thousand feet of heather and wet grass.

As he draws closer, you can make out that he is dressed from head to foot (well, neck to mid-calf) in Lycra and Velcro. He has abandoned the "Warm and Waterproof" look generally cultivated by the hill-walking fraternity, and appears instead to have wandered into the "Tight and Draughty" department of his local mountain outfitters. He is wearing a pair of the sort of light-weight walking boots generally worn only by people who come from warm dry countries. (These can often be found, singly, buried about two feet down in many Scottish peat hags, where their owners were forced to abandon them.)

He has something on his head, It is yellow, streamlined, and has obviously been designed to protect the upper three inches of his skull. If he is ever involved in a high speed collision with, say, an articulated lorry, no doubt his crash hehnet will be found about forty yards down the road, still containing the (completely undamaged) top of his head.

You are moved by sympathy when he draws level with you. You take him aside, and you show him your rucksack. You point out the features of its design which make it more suitable than a bicycle for carrying heavy weights up steep slopes: the shoulder straps, the belly band, the ... well, the general sack-like nature of its construction. But he simply sneers and plods on upwards.

So you forget about him for the rest of the day, until you arrive in the gloaming on the Land-Rover track down the glen, and begin the eight-mile trudge back to civilization.

He pedals past you, moving at about tlirty miles an hour. You move just too slowly to get a stick into his rear spokes.

GRANT HUTCHISON


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