Considerate Cycling 12: Don’t Scratch And It Won’t Itch

M. Trignac and Horse. Colayrac-Saint-Cirq 1960s

In the second half of the 1960s I spent a summer month living with the Trignac family in the Department of  Lot-et-Garonne in France. I more or less earned my keep by doing odd jobs on the farm and loading up produce for the market. Picking peaches was one of the jobs. The old horse in this picture helped us by moving a cart from tree to tree to carry the boxes as we filled them.

At the end of the first day I was covered with a red itchy rash. It was very uncomfortable and despite the joy of fresh, juicy, ripe peaches to eat I wasn’t happy.

The family smiled when I showed them. They had known it would happen and had wisely said nothing. I was told to have a cold shower and remember that unless I avoided scratching myself when picking peaches this would happen every day. They were right.

I wonder if reacting to the soft downy fluff of non-cyclist commentary that lands on the sensitive skin of us cyclists is in any way like rubbing at the soft downy fluff of the peaches that I used to pick? If it was or if we could hypnotise ourselves into believing it was then maybe we wouldn’t get the bad rash we create by scratching at it?

At the end of a day on the road there could be a shower, some clean clothes and unblemished skin – just so long as we hadn’t scratched the minor irritations of the day. All the peaches and none of the rash.


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