Eat my smoke…….!

Somethings go together perfectly: cheese and wine, chocolate and orange, cycling and downhill……. Somethings, on the other hand, do not make a perfect partnership: politics and religion (?), drinking and driving, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry……..Cartoon cyclist smoking

Out on my morning ride today, I came across a startling revelation: some cyclists actually smoke!!! How does that work, I wondered……?

I saw a group ahead of me standing by the side of the road and, thinking they had suffered a mishap, I stopped to ask the if everything was OK. Then I noticed that two of the four riders were actually puffing away on cigarettes… the side of the road…..wearing club lycra……..holding onto nice carbon bikes……..looking to all intents and purposes like serious club riders…….and the other two were indulging their companions with their patience. Now, this got me wondering. Do cycling and smoking really go together?Eddy Merckx smoking 1Well, do you recognize this gentleman? Yes, the famous Eddy Merckx, known in the cycling world as The Cannibal. Some would contend he was the greatest cyclist of all time. Maybe he knew something about the oxygenating properties of tobacco……… smoking cyclists 1Obviously there was a time in history when the power of the weed was understood better than it is now……. and the guy crouching down in the second row wanted to be included in the promotional shot as well!Tandem smokingAnd being a tandem rider myself, it’s good to know that the famous Player’s brand of yesteryear even had the welfare of twosomes in mind, when the company’s scientists beavered away behind closed doors to make their product not only a legal stimulant in the cycling world, but a desirable health product.

And if you still don’t believe me that Eddy Merckx smoked, here’s another promo he did….eddy merxk smokingand contemporaries at the time will vouch that, at the end of a race, he would regularly light up as part of his recovery from the stresses and strains of the day.

Walter Raleigh… have much to answer for! But we do thank you for the potato.


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on March 31, 2013, in Cycling UK, Miscellany and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Great article. It’s the people I see cycling around *with a cigarette in their hands* that get me. Do they think the two balance each other out – the health benefits of cycling counteracting the unhealthiness of smoking (kind of like having a small salad before dessert)? And how do they do it without burning themselves??

    • ….and bit like those who thrash around on a badminton/squash court for an hour, then go for a couple of pints afterwards. Do the first and it seems to justify the second…….

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