But with that term I mean tour, recreative tour, cycling on a normal bike with no more than 8 gears. In my case including a battery to ease my arthritic knees, but that's beside the point.
But, oh my dear Frith, we are in the claws of the racing cyclists at the moment...The Tour the France starts in Utrecht this Sunday, and boy do we know it! The newspapers are overflowing with yellow polkadot sweaters, routes are being published, roads are being closed, people are being urged to come and watch (and spend money, please) and...and now we are at the crux of this post...wanna-be tour racers are everywhere.
This afternoon, after a long and strenuous day of planning for the new school year, I cycled home along my usual cycle path. It takes me from the historical town of Den Briel to my own home town of Hellevoetsluis, along this idyllically situated cycle path, right across the meadows and fields with wheat and fodder corn.
This is not the exact location, but you get the picture, sort of. I was contemplating my first beer of the day, when I heard a shout behind me, sounding like "Watch it!"
I thought "Watch what? Watch the birds, watch the trees, watch the fodder corn, what?" but before I had the chance to watch anything at all, four guys in racing gear, on racing bikes, with frantic determined expressions overtook me. I swear they thought they were Contador in quadruple. They nearly ran me off the path, and (much worse!) they almost ran an older couple (I estimate in their seventies) off the path four meters along.
They went so fast, that they were gone before I had the chance to shout "Selfish Morons!" back at them...
And now my town of Hellevoetsluis will host the Tour the France on Sunday. That is to say, the "karavaan" will whisk through it on its way to the next island of Goeree-Overflakkee and then on to the finish at the Neeltje Jans (Deltaworks).
It means us islanders cannot visit each other for half a day, much to the chagrin of my daughter, whose boyfriend lives on Overflakkee. And that most major roads are closed off.
It also means us islanders will take the opportunity to party. I mean...Tour the France...wine etcetera.
It also means we will have to put up with wanna-be tour racers for another two days.
Well. I would like to say something to them:
Hi, welcome to our beautiful islands. We hope you will take the opportunity to enjoy the surroundings. Do race, by all means, as this probably is your reason for living. But try to realize that you are just another cyclist, who has to abide by our cycling rules. Which means, that just taking right of way is not the done thing. And just because you travel in groups, doesn't mean that you have more rights than couples or singles. So, be a gentleman cyclist!
Happy Tour the France to you!