A well-known businessman has created outrage in the Christchurch cycling community by posting anti-cyclist messages on an online forum.
The comments are not just insulting – they suggest he has actually hit cyclists which his vehicle, a hummer, and that he would do so again.
“I drive a black H2 Hummer and have put 2 into the curb over the last 6 months,” the post reads.
“Stay off the f****** road or I’m gonna nail ya!”
The comment was posted on a Yahoo message board under the alias 'MR58SHOTAGAIN'.
“He’s just venting, but he’s really being a bit of a dick about it,” says cyclist Paul Kircher.
His ‘vent’ continued in a second post:
“Do you really think a pack of homo cyclists scare me? Go shave ya legs lightweight. In fact… I challenge anyone wearing spandex and shaved legs to get to my front door unharmed. I’ll wager a light $10k they won’t!”
'MR58SHOTAGAIN' has been identified as Richard Freeman, who owns a number of businesses including the restaurant in the iconic building ‘Sign of the Takahe’.
Freeman lives off Dryers Pass Road, a popular thoroughfare for tourists.
Yahoo removed his comments for reasons of profanity and personal attack – but not before they were copied onto popular sport website ‘Vorb’ by a concerned cyclist -they have since been viewed 26,000 times.
Posting a photo of himself in his boxing gloves, Freeman is full of fighting talk. But is he serious?
He agreed to appear on Campbell Live, then pulled out on his lawyers advice.
He says that he meant what he said – but that it was tongue and cheek.
In an email to Campbell Live, Freeman says:
To seriously think that I would run a cyclist off the road is absolutely ludicrous and absurd! I would suggest that the small handful of over precious Lance Armstrong wannabes look to purchase a sense of humour, rather than the next spandex body suit, and perhaps show the general motorists a little road courtesy as well.”
But even after pulling out of his interview, Freeman was back online. This time one of those he directly targeted was cyclists Craig Scott – who also happens to be a police officer.
“From what I’ve seen with his comments he has certainly broken the law a number of times,” says Mr Scott. “But I’m not away of any complaints from anyone as such.”
Mr Scott says he does not believe Freeman’s comments were just “tongue in cheek”.
Freeman’s comments won’t stand him in good stead if there ever is an accident.
“It wouldn’t help in court. The comments I’ve seen on the internet – it’s starting to wear thin,” says Mr Scott.
Freeman says he has never hit a cyclist, and never will. But it is possible that some of his businesses will take a hit – cyclists say they’ll give his cafes a wide berth.