Thursday, 10 June 2010

Being English

Apparently there's going to be some football played over the next few weeks, which, if the last world cup was anything to go by, means the roads will be empty. Marvellous - and I've just realised that if the schedules fall just so you could ride down through France, stop for a pizza in Italy, then ride home again through beautiful, abandoned countryside.

The comedy is that St George's flags are flying from every other car in the UK (knocking 3-5mpg off your fuel consumption; official!), despite the cars being German, French, Japanese...everything but English. So why does an Englishman who's mad about Italian bikes think he's any better?

Well, I'm not - obviously. Our little lump of rock in the North Sea is home to nearly 60 million souls, and one of the most densely populated places on earth. The Celts, Picts, Saxons, Moors, Romans and finally French all invaded in one way or another. Even the Germans had a couple of plucky attempts. To add to the melting pot, we ran the world from about 1400AD until the Americans took over post WWII. The English are indeed the most bastard race on earth, but we know who we are - we're a bit of everything. Roast beef, sushi, pizza, curry (Thai or Indian), and steak and kidney pud - love it all. And we'll mix it up to our own taste, so none of this "my mother's way is the only way" here.

So of course the UK's full of people who like Brit bikes, Harleys..and Italian stuff. The pic shows Italian bike connoisseur, English journo and fast-as-flip racer Alan Cathcart. Loves Italy, has Union flag on his helmet. Dichotomous? Not really; we've been here forever, and seen off - or happily lived alongside - everyone. Ours is mongrel-strong bloodstock, a nation of warriors, innovators, heroes - and yes, Napoleon - a nation of shopkeepers. Didn't stop us thrashing his short French arse.

So do I hope England win the footie? Well, be nice if they got to the final - keeps the roads empty as long as possible..

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