Did anyone catch Jeremy Clarkson singing the praises of cycling in his newspaper column at the weekend? Don't get over-excited as he was talking specifically about Copenhagen, so reports that the cyclists nemesis is mellowing with age are totally unfounded. No great surprise and he couldn't stop himself from taking another swipe at the UK cycling scene in the same article.
A couple of years ago I helped to organise a charity bike ride from Oxford to Paris and we sent a letter to Clarkson as he lives just north of Oxford and we hoped, not unreasonably we thought, that he might like to make a donation towards the local hospice we were raising money for. We even sent him the photograph below to appeal to his sense of humour.
Now I am not suggesting in any way that Mr Clarkson is uncharitable - in fact all reports are to the contrary, but we never heard back and no donation was ever forthcoming from the Top Gear presenter's wallet! I'd hate to think that we had in some way offended him . . .
Do you remember that after we got no response, I put out a "press release" saying that he fully endorsed the ride and not only that, he was to cycle part way with us to Paris!
The release was put out on 1st April...that didn't stop several of our co-riders contacting me with "bloody hell..." emails, nor other cycling blogs picking up the story. We also ranked on page1 of Google for several months for the search query "Clarkson Paris".