Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Tour de France: Good to see cyclists take their revenge

The Tour de France
The Tour de France

Happy-slapping. Remember that? That was some craic. Just as cameras were becoming popular on mobile phones, somebody would aim their lens at an unsuspecting civilian. Then a third-party, in on the joke, would slap them.

Hilarious! Ha Ha! He never saw it coming! A bit sick, really. But still, happy-slapping is a grand old title for something, so the name should be reallocated to a more worthy cause, and I have the perfect idea.

Nothing makes me despair about modern life quite as much as the concept of a 'selfie.' Each picture posted on social media in these situations screams of narcissism, a deeper need to find belonging in the approval of others.

This contemptible activity has made its' way into the world of sport, most recently in the concept of people taking self-portraits with platoons of exhausted cyclists whizzing by at 30mph in the Tour de France.

But the cyclists are having their revenge, and not before time. The sport has many more pressing problems, but a huge irritant for the competitors is the lunacy of some followers.

No cyclist would appreciate climbing 2,000 metres up an alp with their thighs burning and their lungs screaming, only to be chased by some clown in a Fred Flintstone outfit or, horror of horrors, a mankini.

Travelling along at speed, the crowd are even closer this year, trying to get in on a shot that makes it appear they are standing in the middle of the road.

Some cyclists have taken to slapping the phones out of their hands. This makes me happy. So can we call this happy-slapping now? I think we can.

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