Filtering The Gene Pool

Thirty-three hassle-free miles in Spring sunshine and above-average temperatures on a nicely kitted-out Colnago Master X-Lite. That’s a pretty fine way to spend a couple of hours. It really was unseasonally warm and bright out there, so the blossom in the hedgerows and the urban Magnolia trees looked really quite stunning. And there’s something pleasing about seeing Alpacas on the steep folded hills near Whitchurch – their strange and distinctive shapes against green with a strong blue sky.

I don’t doubt there’ll be some kind of argument being made somewhere about Alpacas not being ‘native’ to England and not appropriate for English farmland blah blah blah, but what’s ‘native’ is relative to a time frame. It changes over the centuries. In much the same way as people oppose fields of rape seed as being not like English fields should be, really what they’re complaining about is change relative to their lifetime or to their understanding of what the past was like. And in reality the introduction of Alpacas or rape seed or whatever else will just be change – neither unequivocally good or bad, with both some positive and some negative consequences.

Alpacas in the sun

You can only welcome immigrants

Unusually, I was able to ride with and chat to two different strangers today, which made the day more interesting. People are, generally, interesting if you listen to what they have to say. With one chap we talked about riding around this area compared to other regions – he hailed from the Fens originally. With the other we talked bikes – he was riding a nice fixed wheel with a two speed kick-back-to-change hub. Intriguing; the idea of a second gear is rather appealing.

Also, earlier, is caught up with a chap riding and said hello, and he had to take the ear-piece of a – I presume – personal stereo of some kind out to hear and reply. Each to their own, but I wouldn’t like to ride not being able to hear things going on around me – either nature, the birds and so on, or the traffic.

Talking of traffic, I’ve seen a couple of incidents recently which have set me pondering. In the first, a delivery van and a Smart car, both travelling too fast along a narrow lane, nearly hit each other. In the second, a motorbike came hurtling down the road, really hammering it and taking the most fearsome risks to get around some traffic. The question to ponder is, if I carried on riding up the lane, for instance, and found the Smart car in the ditch with the driver injured or dead, would I / should I stop? (And the same applies to any other no-question-about-it idiot on the roads.)

I know I would. But I do wonder if I should. If these people take themselves out then isn’t that just better for the gene pool generally? As long as they don’t take anyone innocent with them, surely there’s nothing much to fuss about. Is that harsh but fair? Momentary lapses are one thing; people making a concerted and sustained effort to be idiots is quite another.