World to end? Clarkson joins Twitter, praises cycling

Carlton Reid
World to end? Clarkson joins Twitter, praises cycling

The InGear section of today's The Sunday Times carries a big plug for the Bike Hub cycle satnav app and then a few pages later there's a massive plug for safe city cycling from...Jeremy Clarkson. But not cycling in Britain: here cycling is a "political statement" and cyclists all have beards.

Vintage Clarkson, really.

Mr Motormouth has just joined Twitter and is already amassing hundreds of thousands of followers. He's not yet ranted about cycling on his Twitterfeed, but he will.

In today's column he reveals he has been in Copenhagen, and the girls' bottoms there - and the cycling - are lovely.

He writes:

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"I suspect even the Danes are baffled about why they keep being picked out as a shining example of humanity at its best. Just last week a newspaper in Copenhagen suggested it must be because, while cycling from place to place, visitors enjoy looking at all the pretty Danish girls’ bottoms.

"In fact, I’ve decided that the world’s five best cities are, in order: San Francisco, London, Damascus, Rome and Copenhagen. It’s fan-bleeding-tastic. And best of all: there are no bloody cars cluttering the place up. Almost everyone goes almost everywhere on a bicycle.

"Now I know that sounds like the ninth circle of hell, but that’s because you live in Britain, where cars and bikes share the road space. This cannot and does not work. It’s like putting a dog and a cat in a cage and expecting them to get along. They won’t, and as a result London is currently hosting an undeclared war. I am constantly irritated by cyclists and I’m sure they’re constantly irritated by me.

"City fathers have to choose. Cars or bicycles. And in Copenhagen they’ve gone for the bike. 

"In Britain cycling is a political statement. You have a camera on your helmet so that motorists who carve you up can be pilloried on YouTube. You have shorts. You have a beard and an attitude. You wear a uniform. Cycling has become the outdoorsy wing of the NUM and CND.

"In Copenhagen it’s just a pleasant way of getting about. Nobody wears a helmet. Nobody wears high-visibility clothing. You just wear what you need to be wearing at your destination. For girls that appears to be very short skirts. And nobody rides their bike as if they’re in the Tour de France. This would make them sweaty and unattractive, so they travel just fast enough to maintain their balance.

"The upshot is a city that works. It’s pleasing to look at. It’s astonishingly quiet. It’s safe. And no one wastes half their life looking for a parking space. I’d live there in a heartbeat."

Tags: copenhagenize , jeremy clarkson

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