Wife in the North: Bulldogs on bikes?

Wife in the North is a popular blog by UK journalist Judith O’Reilly, who blogs about her “lonely journey into the Northern heartlands” and asks, “Just how grim can it get up north?”

She also thinks “sight of an Englishman on a bike [is] faintly absurd” in this Times guest editorial.

I don’t mind the enthusiast in baggy tweed trousers and bicycle clips so much – it is a way for him to get sweaty without bothering the wife. Infinitely worse are the helmeted, Lycra-clad, Masai-buttocked colleagues who bounce self-righteously into the office, daring you to snicker. The Englishman and his bicycle in all their glory – sorry, it’s just not sexy.

It’s the usual nonsensical ranting about “smug” bike commuters, fitness hobby cyclists, and “sadists” who “make you drive for mile after mile of bendy road watching their muddy bottoms.” She also has her implied threat of violence (disguised as concern for safety), including this little sickening prose:

I can only drive by in awe when I see an entire family out cycling together – particularly those parents who cycle with the five-year-old on the back seat of daddy’s tandem, the eight and nine-year-olds three miles ahead on their own bikes with tinsel wands, and a panting mummy at the rear pulling baby Alice in a trailer. An entire gene pool there for the taking.

So anyway, whatever.

4 Comments

  • cafiend
    August 25, 2008 - 3:49 pm | Permalink

    All kinds of ugly bigotry comes through in this post. What, precisely, is contemptible about Masai buttocks in particular? Why is it better for proper English cycle hobbyists in tweed to get sweaty on a bicycle than to "bother their wives?" And then the crack about taking out a whole gene pool with one convenient swipe of vehicular homicide just adds the final touch to a sneering, self-righteous rant much more ominous than the posturing of a conceited bicyclist.

  • cafiend
    August 25, 2008 - 10:49 pm | Permalink

    All kinds of ugly bigotry comes through in this post. What, precisely, is contemptible about Masai buttocks in particular? Why is it better for proper English cycle hobbyists in tweed to get sweaty on a bicycle than to "bother their wives?" And then the crack about taking out a whole gene pool with one convenient swipe of vehicular homicide just adds the final touch to a sneering, self-righteous rant much more ominous than the posturing of a conceited bicyclist.

  • James T.
    August 26, 2008 - 5:56 am | Permalink

    Unbelievable. This kind of self-righteous, pseudo-intellectual garbage is just tiresome. Why do paper’s publish this stuff (don't answer that, I already know). Personally, I would rather hear the occasional dumb redneck yelling something negative about bikes out the window of his pickup truck than read this kind of drivel. At least the average drunk redneck is straightforward about his dislike of my presence on the road and doesn’t feel the need to justify his hatred with a few silly little quips about the aesthetics of muddy bottoms and the dangers of riding as a family.

    Ms. O’Reilly needs to get outside, enjoy the sunshine, and lighten up. Oh yeah, and she needs learn to be a little patient when someone on the road slows her down for a second. Aggressive road users are the problem and based on her thinly veiled threat, I would say that she fits the bill.

  • James T.
    August 26, 2008 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Unbelievable. This kind of self-righteous, pseudo-intellectual garbage is just tiresome. Why do paper’s publish this stuff (don't answer that, I already know). Personally, I would rather hear the occasional dumb redneck yelling something negative about bikes out the window of his pickup truck than read this kind of drivel. At least the average drunk redneck is straightforward about his dislike of my presence on the road and doesn’t feel the need to justify his hatred with a few silly little quips about the aesthetics of muddy bottoms and the dangers of riding as a family.Ms. O’Reilly needs to get outside, enjoy the sunshine, and lighten up. Oh yeah, and she needs learn to be a little patient when someone on the road slows her down for a second. Aggressive road users are the problem and based on her thinly veiled threat, I would say that she fits the bill.

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