Phone Bill.

The price I paid for losing my mobile earlier was to learn that even our little part of the world is sadly full of cocks. The phone and I parted company on British Camp, the most easily accessed and therefore busiest on the Malverns. It should not surprise regular readers that I’d abandoned it, what with my personal belonging regularly being scattered far and wide over a number of continents. Phones, Wallets, Sunglasses and – I kid you not – on one occasion my car tend to go AWOL, although mostly returned through the kindness of strangers.

Losing the work phone SIM is a bugger because until you’ve smothered yourself with Nutella and been prostrated naked in front of the Vodafone helpdesk, they refuse to even accept you have ever owned one of their products, never mind losing one. I say SIM because it was encased in my old “weekend” mobile which I’d thoughtfully left on silent. Furthermore it’s furnished with only a few names of chosen drinking buddies and my wife via her nickname*.

So the poor sod who found it was faced with a dialling dilemma: “Trousers Jenkins” or “BogDoor Bob” being a couple of the more sensible entries, and this to a man who does not have English as his first language**. Eventually my Mum received an 8PM phone call from a nice fella recently of Poland, who enquired if she had a geographically displaced son with a penchant for lobbing expensive electronics out of his backpack. After initial confusion, she rallied magnificently and soon I was on a mercy mission to re-unite myself with my phone.

Which is where the story should end happily, but it doesn’t. Because this amicable gentleman, out taking an early morning walk with his lad, had attempted to flag down some mountain bikers after failing to get my attention once I’d launched Space-Nokia-1 into a low orbit. Now if it were me, or the guys I ride with, we’d have stopped, exchanged pleasantries, and either taken it into care until an Internet forum burped up the owner, or offered any other help we could have.

Not these cocks tho. A whole bunch of them basically told him to fuck off and get out of their way. I can only assume he was somehow in their way, and their version of shared trail access worked on the principle that some animals are more equal that others. This has made me really bloody angry. For two reasons; firstly how can people of some kind of shared-outdoor-experience be so damn rude and inconsiderate? Secondly – and far worse – was the chaps acceptance that somehow “it’s okay, I don’t mind, some people are like that. Especially to us“. No it bloody well is not okay, it never is and it never will be. The shrug and phrase “especially to us” made me wince with embarrassment.

Sure I only know one side of this story, but riding in London for three years de-constructed the myth that all cyclists are good and everyone else is a twat. Almost the other way round in far too many cases, and nothing since has convinced me otherwise. So I could well imagine this playing out exactly the way it was told, and someone needs a good bloody slap. Forget the fact that cyclists are already demonised by most other trail users in the Malverns, many of who are on a mission to enact a partial or full ban. That’s merely a side show to the fact that we are the most scary people in those popular hills, and we need to show a bit of bloody respect.

That’s why we ride early in the morning or late at night. It’s why we try really hard not to bring ourselves into conflict for the sake of it. It’s because we understand the fragile nature of competing groups on a small set of hills. Well most of us do anyway.

I’m pleased I’ve got my phone back, I’m really fucking angry about how.

* we’re not going there. Glad I got it back tho 🙂

* Kindred Spirit you might say.

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