Previously, I shared a story of when Big Em and I got beasted by a group of OAPs on the Costa Blanca. As you know, they were a bunch of wiry ex-pros, but they are not the only older riders on the Costas. Up and down the coast of Spain thousands of OAPs harmlessly pass their winters, escaping the ravages of the UK’s weather, and pedalling kilometre after kilometre under the Iberian sun. These cheerful souls selflessly remove a burden on the NHS and the taxpayer by keeping fit and alleviating the ravages of time on their arthritic joints and ageing coronary systems. But they are under threat – a real and present danger may end their altruistic acts!
We’re potentially a week from a no-deal Brexit, and no one really knows what’s going to happen until we reach the final hour. It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you sit – these aged riders, martyrs some may say, are at risk. And if they’re at risk, we’re all at risk. Imagine (it’s not hard to do) that next Friday we arrive at a no-deal Brexit. Our army of pedalling OAPs, many of whom are already holed up in their motorhomes, caravans, and villas, will find themselves as third-country nationals. Suddenly, they’ll be restricted to 90 days on the continent (Schengen area to be more accurate) in any six-month period, their EHIC cards will become invalid overnight, and they won’t be able to drive their bargain hire cars for want of an international driver’s permit. These poor souls will have to return to our shores with haste, where, alas, they will once again clog our health system and create traffic chaos through their slow, wobbly riding on our overburdened roads.
For those lucky enough to have a good proportion of their 90 days remaining, adequate health insurance, and a valid driver’s permit, the news is not much better. These poor sods have already seen their pensions ravaged by the plummeting value of the pound, and with a no-deal, it’s likely that they’ll really have to stretch those centimes even further. No longer will they be able to treat themselves to a decent bottle of rose and a cheeky lunchtime menu del dia. No. It’ll be bottom shelf plonk and Benidorm breakfasts for them in the future. Slowly, but surely, they’ll rot their livers and clog their arteries – a new wave of expense for the NHS awaits.
And, then, before we know it, we’ll be heading into late autumn again, and our OAP luminaries will be eager to sacrifice themselves by getting out of our hair for 90 days. Alas, as the EU Commission has said that flight levels will be protected (rather than increased as is the usual way of things), flight prices will rise. Add to this the need to purchase the aforementioned international driver’s permit and a visa waiver (a costly 7 Euro), and it is clear that our OAPs are going to have to raid their heating allowances to finance all of these additional costs. Can we idly stand by and watch this travesty unfold under our very eyes? I think not. Now is the time to act and protect our pedalling heroes.
Photo Credit: Wiebrig Krakau
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