Cycling and horses
Sir, – If you notice that a pattern of behaviour is common to a group, it is likely to be rational from their viewpoint, rather than, say, some collective display of eccentricity. The answer to Suzanne Flood’s question of why cyclists “whizz” past horses is a good example, and is partially answered by her uncontentious observation that “a horse is an animal” (Letters, June 1st).
Frequently while cycling I encounter horses, often in small to medium groups, going in the same direction.
One option is to overtake them very slowly. This places the head and neck area within easy kicking range of the animals, whose views on cyclists are never quite clear, for a significant period of time.
Alternatively I can go far onto the other side of the road, and overtake in a sedate fashion, thus maximising my chances of colliding with oncoming vehicles.
Or, indeed, one can continue to cycle behind the horse.
From this vantage, it is more a matter of when rather than if you’ll be struck by compelling confirmation of their animal status, either literally or at an olfactory level.
So while I’ve never really had cause to think it out before, I think I’ll do my best to keep whizzing past for the foreseeable future.
Of course, ultimately the reciprocal question every cyclist asks when encountering people on horseback is why do they always have to travel in groups, and then block up the road by riding two or three abreast? – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Tadhg McCarthy asks (Letters, June 2nd), “What are all these horses doing on the road in the first place?”
The answer is that they are engaging in discretionary exercise, just like most cyclists. – Yours, etc,
A chara, – If horses start cycling, will they get their own lane? – Is mise,
LOMAN Ó LOINGSIGH,