Monday, 21 July 2014

A beautiful day on a bicycle, the Beallach na Ba

Spent last week on holiday in Applecross. Got my 'pass' on the Thursday so a ride was on the cards. Where would I go? Head for Torridon, maybe?
Applecross? Yep there is really only one place you can head for on a bike of course, and that would be my first attempt at the Beallach na Ba.
I wondered whether to get dropped off at the foot, and go for an 'up and down' ride, but decided that given I had a 'pass' it would be better to take a few hours and ride round the peninsula, and besides, my decrepit asthmatic lungs would need 'woken' before an attempt on the Beallach.
I set off from the campsite, and headed towards Shieldaig 25 miles away. Figured there would be a few climbs along the way to wake my lungs up. Little did I count on the treat, both visually, and climbing wise that I would be in for.
As you travel along the peninsula you are treated to breathtaking views of Skye on your left, from the Cuillin in the south, to the Quiraing in the north, and cliffs to sandy bays directly to your left below (and a nuclear submarine too.). In front of you lies a winding road filled with lovely short sharp climbs, and descents. As your lungs adjust to the demands being placed on them it's easy to become complacent, and suddenly everything seems easy, the climbs seem less steep, and you just end up in a place you haven't experienced in a long time, life just becomes wonderful.

As the sea begins to open in front of you and the views become less spectacular, you round a right turn, and again your eyes are filled with more wonderful mountain views, this time the Torridon mountains in the distance with Liathach centre stage. The landscape seems to change around you too, it becomes a more baron place with nothing but the winding rolling road ahead of you, scores of sheep, and a few cottages scattered here and there. As the mountains grow larger, and your legs grow more tired from the constant climbing and descending the complacency ebbs away. Before you know it the scenery changes again, this time a lush forested landscape with even steeper and longer climbs than you have experienced before, but these don't last for long and soon you are at the end of the peninsula nearing Shieldaig, 25 miles and aver 2000ft climbed so far, this is a good day.

The next section is a short 7.5 mile stretch to Tornapress, it's wooded at first but soon opens out with a loch on the right. Although short, this section was a drag with a strong headwind and slight uphill, until the end of the loch where the landscape opens out more with two more lochs on your left and a vast moor with mountains in the background, by now the wind seemed to have turned to tail, and with a downhill the rest of the way to Tornapress, and excitement building for the coming climb, was fast.
When you reach the turn off for the Beallach na Ba at Tornapress, it looks pretty innocuous, you are greeted with a sign which warns of how steep the road is, and once the obligatory photographs were taken I was on my way.

Many have already said this, and I can confirm that the start of the climb is pretty easy, and much of what lies ahead is hidden from view, as you climb there are fine views of Loch Kishorn to be had, and before you know it, it seems pretty far below you. You then make a right turn, and you can see the splendour of the mountain in front of you, and you also begin to get a hint of the seriousness of the task at hand.

You reach a junction (which appears to go to a lochan from the map), and make a sharp left turn, here the climb steepens, not dramatically, but all of a sudden you experience that dull ache in your legs for the first time. As you climb further, still seated at this point, the first perspiration appears on your brow, but still you think this is pretty manageable. As you reach the end of that stretch it's time to take the first rest, and take some water on board, and take some more photographs. At this point the full magnificence of the mountain and the climb are revealed to you. You can see cliffs all around on 3 sides, a waterfall and river far below to your left, and ahead you can just make out those switch backs in the distance. I admit to being a little overawed at this point, and for the first time worried that I had taken on too much.
This section is by far the worst section of the entire climb, as you climb, the entire time now out of the saddle, just grinding your way up 20% + gradients, you realise that a 52/39 chainring on the front was not the wisest choice, why didn't I fit the compact from the commuter? Fool! Nothing you can do about it now, so you batter on, energy depleting by the second, and once that nauseous feeling starts you know it's time to stop. You wish for the next passing place for some rest bite, and when it comes it is just sheer relief to be stationary. The rest of this section of the climb is sheer purgatory, as I jump from passing place to passing place resting at each one. The only target at this point is to get to the next passing place. 
That section of the climb finished me, that long mostly straight, steep section before the hairpin bends was the worst time I have ever spent on a bike. I feared briefly at this point that I wouldn't make it, but what can you do realistically? There's almost a mile of the climb left, you're on your own with no phone reception, saddle up. To my relief despite their appearance, or maybe because of the 10 minute rest, the hairpins were not as bad as I had first feared, take the corners wide and they are pretty easy. Perhaps I was also spurred on by seeing another cyclist on one of the sections below, I wasn't being caught, just not letting that happen! I took each bend one at a time stopping briefly at each one (y'know to take photies...;) ), until the final exertion, and sting in the tail to crest the climb.

The descent back to Applecross (I think this as an ascent would actually be harder) is exhilarating, 40mph+ appears in no time and I spend most of it braking, and before you know it you are back where you started.
It took me 1hr 02mins of cycling to get up the climb, as well as 40 minutes wheezing at the side of the road catching my breath. I had set myself 2 goals before I set off, 1: get to the top regardless of how long it takes, and 2: no walking, cycle the entire climb. I achieved both of those goals.
The peninsula ride was 43.2 miles with 4300ft of climbing according to Strava (, the Beallach Beag sportive puts it at 6400ft ascent for a similar route (

What a wonderful day on a bicycle..... :D

Friday, 20 September 2013

Bloody un-trained cyclists

Was reminded that I had started this 'Bloody <insert expletive here> cyclists' list of topics the other day. Never really carried on with it, but some how a recent interaction with a Taxi driver prompted the revival.

Maybe I'll add more here?

Anyway, the other day cycling home from work I was overtaken by a Taxi driver on the bend of Lansdowne Crescent in Edinburgh. I managed to catch him at a red light on Haymarket Terrace, when
I suggested that he might carry out that manoeuvre after the bend, rather than on it next time.

He retorted that "Until you've had some *training*, you have no right to comment on my driving, what do you know?".

I took my car key out of my back pocket** and waved it in his face. "I have been *trained*, I have a driving license, look I even drive a car!"

He changed his tune to "Well you shouldn't have been racing me to the corner".

I then said "I was already in front of you all the way along that stretch of road, look" I said still waving my key in his face "I'm an old man who drives a volvo, I don't do 'racing'."

He seemed not to appreciate my sense of humour and drove off cursing something through the window.

Hey ho, just another day on a bicycle in Edinburgh.

**Incase you are wondering why I happened to have my car keys in my back pocket, my commute is 14miles by bike, and 8 by car.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Even if it is never used, I say build it. Built it like Livingston!

There has been a lot of debate over the merits of segregated / shared use / on road cycle lane provision over the years. Those debates will probably continue for years to come. I have to admit that until now those debates have largely passed me by. The main reason being I always thought, what's the problem?

You see, for 40 years I lived in Livingston, and only ever worked in Edinburgh. I now live in Fife, and I realise the rest of the world isn't the cycling utopia I grew up to believe was the norm.

I don't aim to take an 'academic' approach to investigating the merits of the shared use infrastructure in Livingston, others have done so regarding other English New Towns such as Stevenage (Joe Dunkley, Carlton Reid etc).  I will (eventually ;-) ) offer some opinion as to why cycling hasn't taken off in Livingston, but mainly this blog will offer a practical observation of the infrastructure based on 40 years of living with, and using it, it is also complemented by a recent visit to Livingston to see if the infrastructure was all that I remembered.

Livingston was built for cars right?

Yes, but actually, really, no!

Before I get onto the shared use infrastructure I wan't to try and address the notion that Livingston was built for 'mass car' use.

Livingston was built as a regional centre, and as such was built with excellent road links. The town is served by a main dual carriageway which connects the town centre and industrial areas with the M8 and A71. In a sense the dual carriageway is the spine of the town. This image (excuse my artistry) was taken from Google maps and gives an indication of how the road infrastructure is implemented. The main dual carriageway is shown in yellow, the main roads which connect the estates from the dual carriageway in blue, and the 'S' shaped minor road network which serve the individual estates are shown in red

Livingston was designed as the business and shopping centre for all of West Lothian. As well as being the regional capital it also had aspirations further afield. For the most part it has been massively successful in those goals, people come from all over Scotland to visit the shopping centre, and until the recent financial collapse Livingston had amongst the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

So from the outside looking in, I can understand why Livingston may look like it is a car centric town. Easy transport links, dual carriageway is town's 'spine', everything connected by road, car town right?

To allow outside access, dead right, that's where the money comes from!

Now lets examine Livingston as a place to live. Lets see how car centric it really is from the inside.

Lets look at housing first, this is the street I was brought up on. It looks very much the same now as it did in the 70s, and is pretty representative of most of the original housing built in Livingston.

Typical residential street in Livingston
Typical residential street in Livingston

I think there are a few things worth noting from this image:

  1. There are very few cars in the car park, large areas of Livingston still have low car ownership rates.
  2. There are only parking spaces to accommodate around 60-70% of the houses. Livingston wasn't designed for mass car ownership.
  3. The car park is at the bottom of the street, cars are generally kept away from housing.
There are also a couple of things that aren't so obvious from the image:
  1. The path network is hidden, what you see is only access to parking, not the main path network.
  2. There are no rat runs, every residential street in Livingston ends in a dead end for cars.

Local primary school main entrance

What about local access, schools, local shops, everyone drives there right?

Actually, in Livingston it is far easier to walk than it is to drive, and most people do.

Primary schools and local shops are at the centre of each estate, and typically less than 5 minutes walk from any house in the estate. And because of the 'dead end' residential streets you have to drive out of the estate, and then back into it to get to a school or shop, it takes longer to drive than it does to walk.

Local shops, not a car in sight.

Have a look at these images, even if you were to drive to the local primary school or shop, there is generally no parking outside. They weren't designed to be driven to, you would still have to walk a fair distance to get to the entrance, of course that is not to say that some people don't drive to them.

Local primary school main entrance
The only vehicular access that was allowed at my old primary school was for a small teachers car park at the rear of the school. This entrance wasn't open to the general public.

OK, I hope to have now debunked the notion (at least in a local sense) that Livingston was built for cars, it just wasn't.

Livingston was built for people

Now I want to move onto the guts of this blog post, what I really want to talk about. Livingston's extensive, off road, direct, and well connected 'core path network'. I don't want to fill you with any fantasy of Livingston as some wondrous place where there is no crime, or deprivation, or social ill's. To many people, Livingston looks grim (many of the images used in this post may even strengthen those opinions), I also sometimes think that when I go back too, forget about all of that though.

I want to try and get across the idea that in an infrastructure sense, from a walking, or cycling perspective Livingston should be held up as a 'Model' town, and when we build new places, we should look to Livingston for inspiration, I honestly do think that the new town planners of that time were right on the money....

Below is a screen shot taken using the 'cycling' overlay of Livingston from Open Street Maps. There is still some work to be done to complete the overlay to show all of the cycle infrastructure which is available to use in Livingston, but I'm sure you will agree, even with the gaps in the image below Livingston is pretty well connected...

Open Street Map showing cycling infrastructure in Livingston

Going back

Recently I went back to Livingston. I wanted to see if my memory served me correctly, was Livingston as well connected as I recall? How well maintained is the infrastructure? Would there be any issues? Why are cycling rates so low in Livingston given the infrastructure? I also wanted to run some comparisons, how does cycling compare to bus/car travel?

I wanted to get a good idea of how well connected the infrastructure is, so my route wouldn't be direct. I would start at Livingston North railway station and cycle to the main shopping centre through most of the estates on the way, and also to some industrial areas to see if they were as well served by shared infrastructure too.

My actual route is shown by the Strava trace below, and was:

Livingston North train station > Knightsridge > Houston Industrial Estate > Ladywell > Eilliburn > Livingston Village > Howden > Craigshill > Shopping Centre > Dedridge > Muiriston > Livingston South train station > Shopping Centre.

Strava trace

What I found was mostly predictable, but also a little surprising...

Before I go into too much detail regarding the actual cycle, it is worth noting that:
Shared use Bridge

  1. Livingston isn't very big, ~ 3 miles by 3 miles, and it has a population of ~60,000.
  2. Livingston is the second largest populated area in the Lothians after Edinburgh. No where in Scotland outside of the major cities is very big (even they aren't very big!).

The cycle it's self was pretty predictable (to me), I knew that I would be able to traverse Livingston East to West, and North to South almost without having to cross a main road. In fact I cycled 11.3 miles and only had to cross a main road 3 times, and only 1 of those crossings was unaided (without a Toucan crossing). In fact I could almost have taken any route, to anywhere in Livingston, and been able to do it 99.9% off of main roads, and 99% off of ANY road.

This is achieved by a network of bridges, and underpasses which ensure that pedestrians and cyclists never have to come into contact with traffic. This was something that was deliberately designed into Livingston when the town was first built almost 50 years ago.

Shared use path leading to underpass

What is more important for normal cycle journeys is that the shared use infrastructure is more direct than the equivalent road journey. Livingston is essentially a grid of shared use infrastructure. There are at least three main paths which run North to South, and even I don't know how many run East to West (at least 6 extrapolating my route above). Every housing estate has at least one main 'core path' connection to work, and shopping areas, and these paths are always well away from main roads.. In fact it is easily possible to cycle anywhere in Livingston in under 15 minutes without having to engage with any traffic.

One thing that did genuinely surprise me about the trip was the lack of broken glass, maybe I just got lucky and the Council had been out recently clearing up. But I cycled through some of the roughest areas in Livingston and the only broken glass that I spotted was in Houston Industrial Estate near to Craigswood. Another positive surprise was the amount of signage there was, at pretty much every major path junction there is signage. On some of the more minor junctions however there was no signage. In the areas I didn't know I took the view that if I stayed on the 'wider' path I would probably be alright, gladly this turned out to be the case.

Typical shared path away from traffic.
Shared use path.

Plenty signage at most junctions

Some of the paths are near roads ;)

As part of this project I wanted to explore why more people don't cycle in Livingston, it seems the perfect place to do so right? Small town, great infrastructure, no need to mix with traffic, yes?

Comparing modes of transport.

OK, what about a real life practical journey? Would a comparison of bike/car/bus journeys from my old street to the main shopping centre be an appropriate real comparison? I thought so, so I did it...

All of these journeys are real journeys that I made countless times when I lived in Livingston. It's worth noting how small Livingston is, I lived just about as far away from the main shopping centre as is possible in Livingston. Lets see how the different modes compare:

Strava trace of Bus route
By Bus:

This isn't a a 'full' comparison as I drove the bus route, so it doesn't take into consideration walking to, and waiting at the bus stop for a bus. The journey by 'bus' was 6.2 miles, and took just over 16 minutes. Looking at the First Bus website, this journey on the 28 bus would take about 30 minutes.

By Car:

Strava trace of Car journey
I think this is a representative comparison as it is the route that I always took when driving to the Centre. In the interests of fairness though there is an alternative more direct route down the dual carriage way which would probably shave 2 minutes off of this journey time. This route however  is 2.9 miles long, and took just over 10 minutes when you include stops for traffic etc. I wonder how the bike will compare?

By Bike:

Finally, how will the bike compare to car and bus journeys?

Strava trace of cycle journey
Again I feel this is a pretty representative comparison as it is a journey that I made many times. I also wanted to make sure this comparison was as 'real' as possible to show that 'non' sport cyclists could also make this journey easily, so I made sure that I did't go above 15mph unless freewheeling on a downhill section. My average speed over the 1.7 miles was 12.5mph, and the journey took 8 minutes and 21 seconds. It is worth noting however that the return journey would be predominately uphill, so would take a little longer. I still think that the bike would be close to the car time, even with the uphill for the first part of the return journey.

What about the bad stuff?

On the whole I found the cycle to be a positive experience. As mentioned previously I did come across some broken glass which of course can lead to punctures.

Shared infra accesses shops at various points.
Despite being easy to get to the main shopping centre from almost any direction, navigating round it is less easy. I had to cycle into Dedridge, and back to the centre to navigate to a different part of the centre. Of course with local knowledge this is easy, and not much of a diversion (<100m), but if you don't know where you are going this would mean cycling on a short stretch of busy road.

Another issue that I experienced, probably more due to the timing of my visit was gangs of school kids walking home from school. Of course it is good that they are walking, rather than getting the bus or being picked up, but I do understand how people can feel intimidated by gangs of kids.
Most of them were courteous and did move to allow me past when I pinged my bell. Some groups on seeing 'a guy' on a bike coming toward them did the 'puffy out chest I'm hard thing' and refused to move until I got a bIt closer, they then retracted their chests and shuffled embarrassed to the side of the path upon realising it was an 'old' man not worthy of trophy.

There are then the 'perceived' issues which people who don't live there 'think' is an issue. One of the issues I believe is a 'perceived' issue is the underpass, which Livingston of course has many. I've read many an 'academic' piece by transport planners and cycle advocates which state that underpasses are bad things which make people feel unsafe. The reality is that if you live with them all your life and use them day in day out to get to the bus stop, shops, friends house, whatever, they feel no more unsafe than walking or cycling anywhere else. Of course despite the logic above, even I suffer from 'perceived' fear and I know better! Below is the double underpass which connects Howden with Craigshill (affectionately known as Crazy Hill...) , I cycled through that underpass on my trip, I'm not sure I would have at night?

Double underpass, scary?

Despite all of these underpasses, council estates, and gangs of kids apparently reeking havoc, crime is relatively low in Livingston, especially when compared with cities like Edinburgh.

Another of the 'perceived' risks is the very fact that the paths are well away from the road network. Despite being safe from traffic, some people do feel vulnerable at night using the paths, being seen by cars is apparently good?


Before I come to any conclusions about cycling uptake (or lack of) in Livingston I just want to summarise again why Livingston is such an excellent place to cycle:

  • Good quality, well maintained, wide shared use 'core path network'.
  • Never more than 100m away from 'core' shared infrastructure, well connected.
  • Cycle routes are shorter, more direct, and faster than car and bus routes.
  • 99.9% of any cycle journey can be undertaken without any need to interact with traffic.
  • Housing, local shops, and schools all set away from cars.

So, why the low cycling uptake?

There are probably a number of reasons, car use undoubtably is one of the major reasons despite Livingston being well designed for pedestrians and cyclists. I still wonder though, going back to my experience of the 70s when car ownership was so low. People in Livingston still didn't cycle, even when cars weren't a factor they didn't cycle? Why?

To answer that question I guess, and it is only a guess, that despite Livingston being the second biggest population centre in the Lothians it is small, very small. Despite the infrastructure being shared, the town is designed more for walking, it lends it's self to that, and certainly at a local level people do walk a lot. Remember the 'local community' feel that was designed in, shops, schools, pubs, churches, all within a 10 minute walk from any house in any estate, and all of those amenities with no allocated parking.

I also wonder if with a concerted campaign to target places like Livingston which has the infrastructure built in, that more people would take up cycling? Perhaps they would, or perhaps not, perhaps in this country we just don't cycle, and if ever there is a place which suggests that, unfortunately it is Livingston (even when there are no cars)?

As I come to the end of this journey I don't want to end on a low note so I am going to repeat something I said earlier, and then make a plea....

"I want to try and get across the idea that in an infrastructure sense, from a walking, or cycling perspective Livingston should be held up as a 'Model' town, and when we build new places, we should look to Livingston for inspiration, I honestly do think that the new town planners of that time were right on the money...."

Despite the gloomy conclusions, and the low cycling rates I still stand by that statement, I never really believed the 'advocates' mantra of "build it and they will come", we did, and they didn't. But instead I say 'Even if it is never used, I say build it. Build it like Livingston!'. And for those that say "we need to start building infrastructure for cyclists now", instead I ask 'Why did we stop building it, when we started almost 50 years ago?'.

At least if we do that, people can cycle and walk, safely, if they choose to do so. And if everywhere had the luxury of the inbuilt 'core path' infrastructure that Livingston does, maybe more people would cycle, what would be certain is that the people that are cycling now, wouldn't be getting mowed down by cars on an almost monthly basis!

Everywhere should be as well connected as this!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Bloody <Insert expletive> Cyclists

I hear lots of comments from drivers (many of them people I know) about cyclists being a menace to society, not paying road tax and the like. I've even had complete strangers roll down windows while driving past and verbally abuse me for simply being on the road!

In this blog (which links to a series of mini blogs which will grow over time) I will try to dispel some of the myths regarding cyclists, as well as try to explain why we do certain things, or act a certain way whilst cycling.

The first myth I will try to address is the age old Road Tax debate, I'll also over time talk about helmets, high viz, road positioning, and a whole host of other topics:

Bloody Free-loading cyclists!

It is a little strange how things turn out, I have never really considered myself to be a cycle campaigner, or advocate, but after being hit by a car in January of this year (which I write about here) things have changed for me. Enough is enough!

I didn't realize at the time how being this event was going to affect me, but the reality is that it has affected me profoundly. We have to do something to try and stop the deaths of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists on our roads, and although my voice is small, hopefully there are enough of us out there who want to make a difference to be heard.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Bloody Free-loading Cyclists!

One of the most common misconceptions about cyclists, is that somehow they are free loaders and don't contribute to the roads that they use because they don't pay Road Tax.

If fact 'Road Tax' does not exist, it was abolished by Winston Churchill in 1937! That little disc on your windscreen which costs so much money is 'Vehicle Excise Duty'.

VED is a tax based on vehicle emissions, so even if bicycles did have to display a VED disc, like any other 0 emission vehicle there would be no charge for the disc.

So now we have dispelled that myth, we can look at how roads are actually funded...

In fact roads are funded from General Taxation, as well as from Council Tax. So every tax payer in the country is paying for the roads that we drive, cycle and walk on!

So paying lots of money for a little disc in your windscreen really doesn't entitle you to more of the road than anyone else, and cyclist are not the freeloaders you imagine.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

That could have been much worse!

Don't know what's happened to the time, meant to write about this a while ago!

Well a couple of weeks ago I was hit by a car, it was quite a surreal experience which is why I thought I would record it for posterity.

I was cycling home from work, unusually and a little bit ironically (given my usual busy main road commute) on the quiet cycle path from Edinburgh to the Forth Road Bridge. I couldn't be bothered with Traffic that night, and wanted a slow, quiet, easy cycle home.

Cycled down the cycle path bit no problem, past Dalmeny - where incidentally I fell off the last time I had went home on the cycle path - and into South Queensferry where the path ends and you join a quiet residential street.

I was cycling down the residential street at about 15mph not really paying much attention to anything, why would I the road was empty?
Out the corner of my eye I see a Toyota Auris emerging from one of the Cul de sac's on my left. Fine I thought, I'm lit up like a Christmas tree with high vis jacket, flashing front light and really powerful front headlight, and I have right of way, carry on...

Shit, she's not going to stop!! Now my demeanour suddenly changes, I become alert and reactively slam on the brakes. From the 'Shit...' moment to hitting the deck probably only took 4 or 5 seconds in reality, but in my minds eye it was at least 40 seconds. Some of the thoughts that went through my head were really quite weird, and went something like this...

"Shit, she's not going to stop, this is going to really hurt".
Brakes slammed, "I'm almost at a stop, I might get away with this..., nope there's her front wheel and wing now only inches away from my front wheel, she IS going to hit me".
The car then hits me and I am thrown back onto the pillar which holds the windscreen in (sorry, don't know technical jargon). I can hear my cleats release from my pedals as the bike is thrown away from me by the momentum. I also hear the bike crash into the ground, sounds bad, must be broken!

"Ughh,...Oh, I'm on the wing that could have been worse".
Now something very strange starts to happen, I start to move really quite quickly not of my own accord, and I think "I'm OK,... actually this is quite a bit of fun, it's a bit strange but I really don't mind this, I might get away with this".

Because of the delayed reaction of the driver it is a little while before the car comes to a stop. When it does, all of a sudden you think "Oh dear, maybe I haven't gotten away with this as much as I thought, this is really going to hurt" Unfortunately this time I wasn't disappointed!
I remember landing on my left but cheek, then being spun round 90 degrees before my left arm made contact with the surface. I then lay on the ground as I began to try and assess the situation, "OK, this hurts, but I think I'm Ok,.... not winded so much now and the pain is starting to recede,....I think I'll try to get up".

I did get up, and after a few minutes realised that although I was very sore, there were no major injuries. Another thing that is weird is that at no point was I seriously worried about my well-being, I thought Yeah, going to hurt, but nothing worse than that.

I also know how lucky I was, I can't think of any circumstances that would have led to less injuries, I got away with a sore butt and bruised leg, and some severe roadrash and bruising on my left arm. OK, I would have been really unlucky to have been killed from such a collision, but it could quite easily have ended up with a broken, hip, leg or arm.

A couple of weeks later I realise that actually I was more mentally injured than I was physically, and even considered (I hope not seriously) giving up cycling which I wrote about here. I was also frightened of the bike and made excuses for a week as to why I couldn't cycle.

I cycled for the first time at the weekend, only for a mile or so, but it was fantastic to get back on the bike!!

Friday, 17 February 2012

What happened

Sitting here sore and feeling sorry for myself! I never thought I would be having this conversation with myself, and I do hope I snap out of it, but what happened, can you lose your 'edge'?

I've been a cyclist all in for 20 years, in 17 of those years I reckon I've come off twice from memory.
Back on the bike now for 3 years after a 3 year hiatus, and I've come off the bike probably 6 times, twice badly, one resulting in 3 broken ribs, and now I've been hit by a car, luckily only minor injuries this time.
I've had countless near misses over the years but always managed to get out of the way or stop. Weird thing about this one was I could see it happening,but seemed powerless to stop it, or get out of the way. Is this a sign that I should give up before something really serious happens?

Probably not, but sometimes you wonder!