Why I think bicycles are more annoying than horses.

When I first moved to my village more than two decades ago you could not swing a short cat without hitting a horse.

Not just any old horse either generally but skittish, eye-rollingly nervous, enormous muscular racehorses who were as predictable as a menopausal women who has forgotten to take her HRT.

I have actually seen one of these beasts trample OVER  a car bonnet which was a good payback for the fool who'd tried to speed past the long line of jockeys who used to live and train here.

If you didn't time your car trip correctly you would end up crawling behind their hunched bodies, generally breathing in the heady blend of horse poo and fag smoke as they ambled along towards the point in the field alongside the road where they would perk up and race the thoroughbreds at full pelt round the track then emerge on the road once more, slowing to snails pace to piss another load of motorists off.

However, annoying as this was I would trade it in a heartbeat for the new peril blocking our narrow lanes.

The racing stables were sadly sold off you see and so the horses disappeared from the lanes and the jockeys disappeared from the pubs (they're a lively bunch are jockeys - short and skinny but quite able to put away a brewery-worth of alcohol faster than you can say Grand National)

Someone, somewhere must have twigged that with the nags gone our lanes made a great place to ride bikes so now we are inundated with (mainly) middle aged men wearing VERY tight lycra.

Unlike the horses which at least stuck to a kind of schedule, we are plagued with the sight of a range of human arses 7 days a week and almost 24 hours a day. I wouldn't mind so much but with very few exceptions they are inconsiderate of road users and often pedal slowly, many abreast, chatting and seemingly oblivious to the trail of cars behind them.

We used to roll our eyes about the jockeys who from their vantage points atop a giant horse would casually wave you on, occasionally right into oncoming traffic, but at least they acknowledged they were a pain. The cyclists flit between speeding (and I do mean speeding!) almost silently down the hill causing unsuspecting pedestrians to leap out of the way, to crawling in the middle of the roads as the pass through.

OK so I'm maybe being a little unfair. Not all our visiting cyclists are ignorant w*nkers but a hell of a lot of them are.

Yes, our village is pretty and sits in a lovely region which I am sure is lovely to include in a 100k bike ride. Yes they sometimes stop and support our local businesses but as one who occasionally cycles and is careful to protect my own safety whilst showing consideration for other road users their selfish attitude (more often than not) makes me see red. I am not alone in this.

It's so tempting to rev my engine, shake my fist as I drive slowly past or even swerve accidentally into the shaven legs of some especially smug cyclists who have ignored my presence for a few miles.

But because I am English I grit my teeth and mutter expletives quietly to myself and pray for a lycra-splitting incident to mar their day in cosmic revenge.

Bring back the horses I say - at least you can pile their shit on the roses.