Puff Puff Pass

Dear makers of generic blue inhalers,

I’m afraid I need to make a formal, public complaint about your product.

To start off, let me introduce myself. I’m a deeply average bike rider, someone who enjoys riding quickly but often find my old-codger legs unwilling to do the bidding of my boy-racer brain. Nevertheless, I persevere at my hobby, standing as it does as the only obstacle between me and the obesity statistics.

Recently, I’ve been suffering from a bit of exercise-induced asthma, possibly linked to hayfever. So, having consulted with my GP, I was prescribed a Ventolin inhaler to try.

In retrospect, perhaps I should have been more cautious about the risks of such a device. Twitter is, after all, awash with reports that such an inhaler can dramatically impact your athletic performance. But of course, it’s easy to be wise after the event.

One day, after a particularly vigorous ride, I decided to avail myself of the inhaler to alleviate my wheezing chest. However, at that precise moment, the postman arrived, sending the dog into a fit of misplaced rage. As he charged past me to fend off the assailant, he jogged my arm, and I accidentally gave myself a double puff.

The offending generic product

At first, nothing seemed to have changed. My skin remained its natural, pallid hue, and my belly remained a keg rather than a six-pack. The gravity of my mistake only became apparent on my next ride. Heading for a quick spin on my mountain bike with friends, I accidentally went on an 80km solo break over three mountains and broke the local TT course record in the process. When they called to check on my wellbeing, I was in Birmingham, looking for a train home.

Last night it happened again. I nipped to the shops on my Brompton and I accidentally went on an 80km solo break over three mountains. Being unused to such treatment, my Brompton now needs a service and my arse is killing me.

It’s even impacting my work. This morning, I was trying to find the right office for my meeting and found that my colleagues had fallen into step beside me. The next thing I knew, I’d run outside, hired a Boris bike, and gone on an 80km solo break. Being unable to find any mountains, I did some reps up Leith Hill instead. Now I owe Sadiq Kahn £50, I’m subject to a disciplinary at work, and I’m going to have to hire an Addison Lee to get back to explain myself.

With this evidence, I can now completely understand the point of view of the spittle-flecked handwringers on Twitter, who claim that the use of your product is the only possible explanation for performances by certain riders during the Race Round Italy event. I feel that the only responsible course of action is for you to clearly warn users about this recently-discovered side effect. Otherwise, the country will shortly be filled with people going on 80km solo breaks over whichever nearby geological feature happens to be tallest, and nobody will get any work done.

Before you warn anyone though, could I get a few more sent over? Just for testing purposes.

Warmest regards,


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