We have been going on holiday to Majorca for nearly 30 years and love the island. It has everything we would wish for: sun, sea, mountains, delicious food, good walking, wildlife, etc.
But for the last two years I have been fantasising. About carpet tacks. Or a bottle of washing up liquid. Or maybe a flagon of olive oil. To be thrown out of the car window.
Not the dear little old ladies toddling along sedately on their sit-up-and-beg black tanks with a wicker basket over the handlebars. Not even schoolchildren on BMXs weaving in and out of pedestrians, and I have had a bad experience with one of those.
No, I was cursing the Bradley Wiggins wannabes with their shiny black backsides, their calves like knotted thongs, and their flying spit.
Their growth in numbers has rocketed in the last couple of years to the point where the enjoyment of our holiday is seriously compromised.
This time we even avoided visiting the places we love most because we knew we would have to suffer. The Cyclists.
They are like ants, ubiquitous. Every road is lined, the lanes are awash and even the mountain paths are plastered with their multicoloured jerseys, fancy helmets and wrap-around sunglasses. We could not walk without being shouted at or buzzed unexpectedly from behind even in pedestrianised zones, whilst driving was a nightmare of trailing along behind bunched carpets of them, all in the same logo’d outfits, taking our lives in our hands for the odd manic burst heading for another frustrated motorist doing the same from the opposite direction when the rare opportunity arose to get past.
The Majorcan authorities have generously included a cycle lane on the more main roads, wide enough for cyclists to ride two abreast and still allow motorised vehicles to pass comfortably.
Many groups do use these properly, but just as many ride three abreast, or choose not to use that dedicated lane at all, or use the one on the "wrong" side of the road so they are heading into the oncoming traffic, spilling over onto the carriageway and making nuisances of themselves.
When the cyclists decide to stop they don’t pull off the road tidily. They just stop, wherever, bikes across the carriageway anyhow, and the rest of us, who paid tax and insurance to use these roads, have to find a way round them. And woe betide you if you venture too close to their precious machines: fists are waved, foul language is shouted angrily, more spit flies.
We chose to drive up into the mountains so we could walk one of our favourite paths. What a mistake that was.
For mile after mile I saw nothing but black buttocks wagging from side to side as we trailed upwards at 5 mph. There was seldom a chance to overtake this "peleton" as it stretched for dozens of yards at least two deep. On the occasion when there was an opportunity to pull out another phalanx would appear wide around the corner ahead also two deep, this time hurtling downhill towards us at lethal speed.
I came to hate them all, even the sweaty, puce-faced individuals for whom I might previously have felt sorry, having bitten off more than they could chew on a hot day.
How I have longed for the leader to get a puncture, and how I would have enjoyed the resulting pile up.
Consideration for other road users?
None. Courtesy for pedestrians? Nope. Safety on difficult roads? I’m all right, Jack.
The final straw was when traffic coming uphill the other way had to pull up for some reason as we headed downhill.
My hand on the horn made no difference: they squeezed on, unconcerned. So, who pays for the gouges in the sides of my hire car, then?
Majorca has opened its roads to the serious cyclist, and what a wonderful place it is for two wheels propelled by physical effort. But there were too many, too self-absorbed, too discourteous.
The rest of us want to enjoy the island, too, and frankly after all these years I`m not sure I want to return.
Effie Cadwallader (Mrs), Shropshire.
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