Marco Velo meets the Kemmelberg

Marco Velo meets the Kemmelberg

The Fear

by / / 66 posts

There’re two things certain in Cycling: pain, and more pain. How we attain either, each or both of them can present itself in many forms. When you take out your brand new bike for its maiden voyage, lean it against a wall at the pub apres ride and manage to gouge a chunk of paint of the seatstay when you stumble aboard after a pint too many, that hurts. Climbing a 22% cobbled wall, that hurts. The emptiness in your legs after 150km in the heat or cold and the only way home is up, yep that hurts. And crashing. That can hurt more than anything.

It’s not just the physical damage sustained in a bender that can make you cry, or want to. The longer term effects can be more painful than the actual bruises, cuts or broken bones. And when you start to think about crashing before anything has even happened, well that can fuck with your mind and produce stress that isn’t really needed when you’re already dealing with other riders, cars and trucks, or trees, rocks and roots. The Fear of crashing can be your worst enemy, and possibly the catalyst for the result you’re desperate to avoid.

As soon as Keepers Tour 15 was confirmed, two things were apparent: I needed to get into shape for the long days on the cobbles, and I needed to stay uninjured so I’d be able to ride the cobbles and possibly have a chance of injuring myself on them in April. The Fear started eating away at me. Not the fear of getting hit by one of the thousands of angry motorists with a hatred of cyclists that are encountered every week, but a fear of myself and my ability to ride a mountain bike fairly quickly; the fear of steep and technical terrain; the fear of limited traction; and the fear of a competitive nature, as I’d entered a couple of enduro races held on some of the nastiest (but insanely fun) trails in the country. Already I was mentally defeated. I had to confront The Fear head on.

Instead, what I did was give away my entry to the nastier of the races to one of my mates and Spoke mag colleagues… he was gutted at missing out, I had nothing to prove by racing it, and it seemed the noble thing to do. At least that’s how I justified the fear I was experiencing. The other race is on trails I’ve never ridden, and my plan to ‘ride/not race’ it lessens the chances of crashing. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Being only two weeks before KT15 is a bit of a worry, but there’s still time to pull out!

So for the last four weeks my mountain bike has gone untouched. Not entirely due to The Fear, a little bit of circumstance with weather, work, festivities and building up some endurance on the road bike. Today I hit the dirt. Literally. There wasn’t much Fear involved, the ride was nearing the end and all the sensations were good. Maybe too good. I was riding well, in control and fairly pacy. On a trail I’d ridden hundreds of times before, on an innocuous corner, a small rabbit darted across the track in front of me and instinct dictated that I try and miss it. My front wheel caught the soft edge and before I knew it my KT was flashing before my eyes as I hit the rocky ground with a thud. A fair bit of skin donated to the earth and a decent whack of the head, but nothing to put me out of action for the rest of the ride or the coming weeks. Certainly nothing compared the trauma @ChrisO is going through right now. And then I remember @itburns and perspective really hits home.

As I sit here with blood congealing on my arm and a dull headache and hazy recollections of the moments after the impact, I feel that conceding to The Fear will never be wise. If we let it win, then we’d never step foot out of the house and sling a leg over any top tube, whether it be sloped and fat or svelte and flat. Risk is always there when we ride our bikes, but it’s there in everything we do every minute of every day. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop riding for three months so I can ride in three months.

// Musings from the V-Bunker

  1. * 4 or 5 weeks* grrr…

  2. @Beers

    When I went down in April, at a time of form and oneness with my steed that I had never reached previously, I was stoked not to break anything or hit my head. A month of bandage changes and I was back on the bike. But fuck me if I can’t descend like I used to, can only explain it as feeling on top of rather than inside the bike, and no amount of positional changes make me feel better about it. The fear has taken hold, and it causes too much over thinking. When I stop thinking on a descent, back in flow again, I know the recovery will be complete. But the snatching brakes and wobbly descending is doing my head in meantime!

    Took me nearly 18 months to get back to that sort of feeling after coming off & at Easter 2012, only started setting descending PB’s again late last year.

  3. @Mikael Liddy

    @Beers

    When I went down in April, at a time of form and oneness with my steed that I had never reached previously, I was stoked not to break anything or hit my head. A month of bandage changes and I was back on the bike. But fuck me if I can’t descend like I used to, can only explain it as feeling on top of rather than inside the bike, and no amount of positional changes make me feel better about it. The fear has taken hold, and it causes too much over thinking. When I stop thinking on a descent, back in flow again, I know the recovery will be complete. But the snatching brakes and wobbly descending is doing my head in meantime!

    Took me nearly 18 months to get back to that sort of feeling after coming off & at Easter 2012, only started setting descending PB’s again late last year.

    I know exactly what you mean – I’ve been descending like my tires are made of glass or something. I’ll know I’m back in black when I’m KOM on the local hairpin descents again. Meh.

  4. @antihero

    @Mikael Liddy

    @Beers

    When I went down in April, at a time of form and oneness with my steed that I had never reached previously, I was stoked not to break anything or hit my head. A month of bandage changes and I was back on the bike. But fuck me if I can’t descend like I used to, can only explain it as feeling on top of rather than inside the bike, and no amount of positional changes make me feel better about it. The fear has taken hold, and it causes too much over thinking. When I stop thinking on a descent, back in flow again, I know the recovery will be complete. But the snatching brakes and wobbly descending is doing my head in meantime!

    Took me nearly 18 months to get back to that sort of feeling after coming off & at Easter 2012, only started setting descending PB’s again late last year.

    So the feeling does goes away? Good to hear!

    I almost got myself killed last May and while still bound to home, I was very though (“if this is the worst that can happen, then from now on I’m going to fly!”). But the first time on the bike again I was already talking very differently and the first time doing serious mtb was with shaking knees. It’s very strange, all seems to be fine, and then suddenly it hits me again and I immediately reach for the brakes.

    My friends and family constantly reminding me of the accident aren’t really of any help either…

  5. you can’t be afraid to live because you might die. Just sayin.

  6. When reading these stories I think I am blessed. I only “crashed” because I had trouble releasing my foot from the pedal.

  7. One positive I take out of my crash is that I will never, ever think that training and racing is actually painful, let alone more than I can bear. Discomforting and unpleasant perhaps but intense and intolerable… pah.

    I’m hoping this will make up for my inevitable fear in the bunch or on descents. And perhaps putting my new TT bike to good use for a while.

  8. excellent brett. I am in a similar conundrum. Last May, I managed to set my alter ego riding companion, CRF250X, down hard on some local dirt. JRA! as it were. A solid conk to the head, and larger hit to the hip joint. And later an issue with cracked ribs. I ride the moto like I ride all my bikes, casually deliberate, mostly with better riders, so I am the tourist of the group. And I ride fully protected with body armor, while I imagined what this slow fall would have been like in lycra kit.

    All I could think of during this episode was how would I be on my “real” bike? I have progressively let the time pass, to be back to solid form. ie, my buddies and I working each other over on the local roads. It has taken months and I have been more aware of the sketchy stuff that happens on the roads.

    But I have yet to put myself back on the moto to feel that sensation between the thighs…..but I most likely will. I can’t end that part of my riding career looking back on that one time. There are miles of freedom to cover.

  9. @bea

    @antihero

    @Mikael Liddy

    @Beers

    When I went down in April, at a time of form and oneness with my steed that I had never reached previously, I was stoked not to break anything or hit my head. A month of bandage changes and I was back on the bike. But fuck me if I can’t descend like I used to, can only explain it as feeling on top of rather than inside the bike, and no amount of positional changes make me feel better about it. The fear has taken hold, and it causes too much over thinking. When I stop thinking on a descent, back in flow again, I know the recovery will be complete. But the snatching brakes and wobbly descending is doing my head in meantime!

    Took me nearly 18 months to get back to that sort of feeling after coming off & at Easter 2012, only started setting descending PB’s again late last year.

    So the feeling does goes away? Good to hear!

    I almost got myself killed last May and while still bound to home, I was very though (“if this is the worst that can happen, then from now on I’m going to fly!”). But the first time on the bike again I was already talking very differently and the first time doing serious mtb was with shaking knees. It’s very strange, all seems to be fine, and then suddenly it hits me again and I immediately reach for the brakes.

    My friends and family constantly reminding me of the accident aren’t really of any help either…

    @Beers, I TOTALLY see what you mean about feeling like you’re atop the bike, not in it – the exact same thing happens to me. Thinking too much is totally the cause.

    This discussion actually inspired me to do something about it yesterday. I suited up, gritted my teeth, and pointed my fixed-gear at a nasty, hilly route that would take me down a high-traffic, high-speed road. In the rain. Slippery as hell. After 3 hours of having soccer moms in SUVs blast by me at 50mph, the fear seemed cauterized somehow – the last 10 miles felt awesome.

    I must not fear, so FUCK IT. Go.

  10. @antihero

    I suited up, gritted my teeth, and pointed my fixed-gear at a nasty, hilly route that would take me down a high-traffic, high-speed road. In the rain. Slippery as hell. After 3 hours of having soccer moms in SUVs blast by me at 50mph, the fear seemed cauterized somehow – the last 10 miles felt awesome.

    I must not fear, so FUCK IT. Go.

    Watched a video on Friday of a local cyclist that was killed in a simple bike crash last year. The video made it clear that the rider was making a bad move. Came up along the pace line and bulldogged into a gap that hadn’t opened up enough. The rider went down on left side and hit his head — instantly gone. Riders are getting away with making bad decisions and eventually the worst decision will catch up with them. No room on a bike for stupidness.

  11. @antihero

    [ Kirk Lazarus voice ] “Like the dumbest mother fucker that ever lived. Everybody knows you never go full on mother fucker.”

    “Never go full mother fucker.”

  12. I go down hard on the mtb at least once a month, last one separated my shoulder. When you want to ride at speed it comes with the territory. Took me more than a few tides to get back into it again. But now I have become a little sick of the mtb and have been hitting the road more and more. Now I want to start riding the road bike at night but it is not my fear of crashing, it us my Wife’s fear if me crashing and or getting hit.

    How does one handle that one, I can’t sit on a trainer, I need to be outside.

  13. @Demetra Darrow

    The best way to road ride at night is with others… the more flashing lights the better. We ride through winter in our small group, straight after work so at peak hour. There are always commuters out at that time, so I suppose drivers are aware of cyclists at that time of day (night).

    One thing that shits me (as a driver too) is flashing front lights, especially really hi-powered ones. It’s more distracting than a solid front light and doesn’t give a good indication of distance. they should be illegal.

  14. @universio

    Do spare me. If I want this kind of talk I’ll call my mother.

    Seriously. Have you never ridden on a busy road in the rain? If you haven’t, and if you don’t do it regularly, you obviously either live in the desert or aren’t riding enough.

    If you want to see Full Motherfucker, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8e1jVY006g

  15. @antihero

    Facing your fears like that may be reckless, but it can be liberating. I do live in the desert, so it doesn’t rain often – but when it rains it pours, and I’ve been trying my best to avoid riding in those conditions, when visibility is nonexistent, floods and oilslicks are plentiful and drivers barely notice where they’re going. I’ve raced in those conditions on closed roads, and ridden with my team with a trailing car for protection, but I had a deep, inner fear of heading out there on my own which I knew I had to confront (especially with plans of a postgrad in England floating around).

    So when the forecast last weekend called for storm, I decided to raid my carefully curated Rule #9 cabinet and head out no matter what. After three hours of pouring rain, without a single cyclist in sight, I pulled up at the end with a grin reserved only for the stupid and the utterly happy. Next time it rains I won’t be so hesitant to head out again. I might remember to pack a windproof and kneewarmers, though.

    Next time I’ll refill my bidons straight from the glove

  16. @tessar

    It’s only water.

  17. @brett

    Two years ago, my coach and I were discussing his own ambitions for the coming season: Qualifying for, and racing, the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. Later, when discussing my own plans, he suggested I take up MTBing to sharpen up my handling and “add an arrow to the quiver”, so to speak. As luck would have it, our plans matched: “Take my MTB away from me, I can’t afford to crash. Just use it.”

    And so a Lefty-forked ‘Dale found a place in my stable. Way too much bike for me to handle, but I enjoyed tackling the trails with my girlfriend’s dad and, indeed, improve my technical riding. He (and the GF’s teenage brother) still drop me on some technical sections just because they don’t fear it as much as I do. Some of my most magical moments came when I blindly followed wheels down descents, with the mantra “If they can, so can I” proving that the grip is there, just the confidence is lacking.

    The coach? He qualified, and went to Hawaii. Meanwhile, a sponsor change meant his entire stable was replaced, and the ‘Dale was no longer needed. He since managed to crash hard twice, once breaking a wrist and once a collarbone. In both cases he was back on a turbo within a week or two. Too bad I can’t take the new Superfly away from him as well, “too keep him safe”.

  18. @RobSandy

    @tessar

    It’s only water.

    Like I said, I don’t fear the water itself. In fact, I probably spend more time in it than is appropriate for a Velominatus. It’s the zero-visibility downpours that do me in, and because it’s a very dry country, there’s lots of oil buildup on the roads and drivers who haven’t got a clue.

  19. @antihero

    O, brother, I do know first hand what I’m talking about. Can’t imaging telling your family or friends “I must not fear, so FUCK IT. Go.” It sounds thoughtless to me. Poor form to use the “not riding enough” tactic as well.

  20. @tessar

    @RobSandy

    @tessar

    It’s only water.

    Like I said, I don’t fear the water itself. In fact, I probably spend more time in it than is appropriate for a Velominatus.

    I know, I know. I was just being facetious. I rode in freezing rain on Boxing Day and no matter how much I meditated on The V, after an hour or so I just wanted to be back home.

    I live in Wales so if I wasn’t prepared to ride in the rain, I wouldn’t ride.

  21. @brett

    @Demetra Darrow

    The best way to road ride at night is with others… the more flashing lights the better. We ride through winter in our small group, straight after work so at peak hour. There are always commuters out at that time, so I suppose drivers are aware of cyclists at that time of day (night).

    One thing that shits me (as a driver too) is flashing front lights, especially really hi-powered ones. It’s more distracting than a solid front light and doesn’t give a good indication of distance. they should be illegal.

    Hmm, never thought about the flashing lights being distracting. Would like to discuss and read a study or two on these. I run a front flasher at most times on road rides, both during light and of course when dark. On commutes I run one on steady, one on flash.

  22. @Ron

    My thoughts on flashing lights: i hate them! And those superbright 2 million lumen light in city trafic? Hate them too! On desolate roads or for mtb, they are however perfect!

    I ride a lot in the dark (this being belgium the sun only comes up for working hours), on parts through the city a use a reasonable bright light, once outside traffic I use a very bright light. Since the road I mostly take is not lit it’s just me and my cone of light. I like it!

    Untill it’s raining and cold and dark and I have a flat….

    But bottom line, no flashing lights!

  23. Safe to say that I’m doing something wrong… Sorry for that very empty message… Let’s try again…

    @Ron
    My thoughts on flashing lights: I hate them! And those superbright million-lumen lights used in the city or traffic? I hate them too! What’s the use in blinding everybody around you? You want light to be seen, but you don’t need your light to see. On silent roads or mtb however, they are great! Oh, and while I’m at it, those tiny lights you get for free: ban them too!

    These days I regularly ride in the dark (this being Belgium, the sun only shines during working hours). In the city I use a decent, clearly visible light, once I’m outside of trafic I use a very bright light. The road I usually take is not lit and it’s only my lightcone and me, the rest just disappears. I like it!
    Until it’s dark and cold and raining and I have a flat… ;)

    But bottom line, no flashing lights! It’s like @brett says they are just more difficult to assess. The same goes for lights mounted on helmets, it takes me twice as long to identify that lone flying light as a cyclist with a light mounted on his helmet.

  24. Hmm, now I’m sorely confused. Frank has suggested a helmet-mounted light is a good idea to identify yourself as a non-motorcyclist.

    I’ve been using one on steady, plus a bar-mounted light, for winter (dark) commutes. The helmet light is great because it’s disoriented when you look left or right and can’t see anything.

    And yes, helmet lights are GREAT if you have a flat. If you’ve ever tried fixing a puncture in the country with no street or city lights and only bar-mounted lights you’ll know why.

    And lights being too bright…do you really think a cycling light, no matter how bright, is brighter than the new fancy headlights on BMWs and Audis? Seems hard to believe.

  25. I’d also like to read some studies about flashing vs. steady lights. When I’m in a car I definitely pick up on bright flashing lights, both front and rear, very quickly. Then again, I’m a cyclist so might be more attuned to catching them.

  26. @antihero

    @universio

    Do spare me. If I want this kind of talk I’ll call my mother.

    Seriously. Have you never ridden on a busy road in the rain? If you haven’t, and if you don’t do it regularly, you obviously either live in the desert or aren’t riding enough.

    If you want to see Full Motherfucker, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8e1jVY006g

    I’ve got plenty of Motorex Wet Lube if you need me to send you some. Rain is not an issue. Going against high-speed, high-traffic, slippery as hell with soccer moms is the part I don’t understand. Perhaps you exaggerated some — like American Flyers (1985).

  27. @Ron

    They grab attention, yes – but it’s harder to judge the distance if the object is flashing. That’s my experience as both a rider and an occasional driver, that there’s no frame of reference to help locate the cyclist.

    Point is that some bike lights are approaching floodlight territory in both power and spread. Once you’re past the first few hundred lumens, the light can blind – and a decent MTB light, directed straight ahead, can be as bad as a car light. It’s not the brightness itself, it’s the direction.

    I have a rear flasher that put out more light than my old car’s rear used to. Turned it off whenever I rode with a bunch, but I love the multi-flash mode when I’m in desolated areas without cyclist awareness. Two LEDs flash while another two are steady, then they switch – combination of obnoxious flashing to get you noticed and steady light to provide a frame of reference.

  28. @tessar

    Flashing also extends the life of the charge or battery.

  29. In the past I had a fall at speed that ended up with me visiting the hospital. I learned to respect the fear by not taking stupid chances and paying attention, but not to submit to it. Its working out so far.

    A good example of this principle is in the link below which has been doing the rounds. The rider is OK, the bike it toast, he limped away and will ride another day. He seems philosophical about what happened. This is not “no fear”, just respecting the fear.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV9_i9MEnMg

    As for the rain, here’s some footage from a recent ride. To be fair we abandoned a climb yesterday owing to rain but this was to avoid what would have been a treacherous descent. The group went and climbed somewhere less dangerous instead. Respect the fear.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI0OUy6DBN4

  30. I don’t believe anyone has mentioned Rule #6 which is an oversight… or maybe I miss-apply the rule. “set your mind free”… don’t even think about what might happen because it will if you do. Where you look, you go and so too what you think you do.

  31. @tessar

    @antihero

    Facing your fears like that may be reckless, but it can be liberating. I do live in the desert, so it doesn’t rain often – but when it rains it pours, and I’ve been trying my best to avoid riding in those conditions, when visibility is nonexistent, floods and oilslicks are plentiful and drivers barely notice where they’re going. I’ve raced in those conditions on closed roads, and ridden with my team with a trailing car for protection, but I had a deep, inner fear of heading out there on my own which I knew I had to confront (especially with plans of a postgrad in England floating around).

    So when the forecast last weekend called for storm, I decided to raid my carefully curated Rule #9 cabinet and head out no matter what. After three hours of pouring rain, without a single cyclist in sight, I pulled up at the end with a grin reserved only for the stupid and the utterly happy. Next time it rains I won’t be so hesitant to head out again. I might remember to pack a windproof and kneewarmers, though.

    Next time I’ll refill my bidons straight from the glove

    That’s how we roll. Sweet.

    Being able to ride in awful weather and love it can give you a huge advantage over your opponents. While they’re wasting mental CPU cycles dealing with the psychological effects of the weather, you’re able to plan and think and execute.

  32. @unversio

    @antihero

    O, brother, I do know first hand what I’m talking about. Can’t imaging telling your family or friends “I must not fear, so FUCK IT. Go.” It sounds thoughtless to me. Poor form to use the “not riding enough” tactic as well.

    This is precisely what I tell them, my wife, daughter, parents, and all. In my family, suiting up and attacking a problem, even at some risk, is considered thoughtful and appropriate behavior.

    Re: not riding enough, I stand corrected – a low blow. However, you might consider that calling someone stupid without giving full consideration to the motivations and qualities of their actions is also very poor form. I am many things, but stupid is not a quality that I possess in any measure.

  33. @unversio

    @antihero

    @universio

    Do spare me. If I want this kind of talk I’ll call my mother.

    Seriously. Have you never ridden on a busy road in the rain? If you haven’t, and if you don’t do it regularly, you obviously either live in the desert or aren’t riding enough.

    If you want to see Full Motherfucker, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8e1jVY006g

    I’ve got plenty of Motorex Wet Lube if you need me to send you some. Rain is not an issue. Going against high-speed, high-traffic, slippery as hell with soccer moms is the part I don’t understand. Perhaps you exaggerated some “” like American Flyers (1985).

    Exaggeration is lying’s slippery cousin, and is not a form I engage. It may give you some comfort to know that said road does in fact have marked (if narrow) bike lanes, and is a regular commuter route around here. Here in Nashville, TN, if you want to take a long ride, you’ve got little choice but to use roads like this, anyway.

    Thanks for the offer, but I’m a Tenacious Oil man, myself.

  34. @antihero

    @unversio

    @antihero

    O, brother, I do know first hand what I’m talking about. Can’t imaging telling your family or friends “I must not fear, so FUCK IT. Go.” It sounds thoughtless to me. Poor form to use the “not riding enough” tactic as well.

    This is precisely what I tell them, my wife, daughter, parents, and all. In my family, suiting up and attacking a problem, even at some risk, is considered thoughtful and appropriate behavior.

    Re: not riding enough, I stand corrected – a low blow. However, you might consider that calling someone stupid without giving full consideration to the motivations and qualities of their actions is also very poor form. I am many things, but stupid is not a quality that I possess in any measure.

    Buttons were pushed, I apologize, and call for cease-fire and year long treaty. I understand completely and could’ve called myself down first of all.

  35. Fear… according to the StraVa my last ride was a month ago tomorrow. Not even on the commuter since then. This weekend a ride is a must.

    And on the topic of lights – I fully agree with @brett about flashing front lights. They succeed in drawing attention to the hazard (a poorly padded meat puppet on a metal/carbon toothpick with wheels) but then substantially fail in assisting to gauge ones proximity to that hazard. The other issue is that lights I have seen are frequently set up to shine directly into the eye socket (unlike the latest BMW or Audi… unless they hit a speed bump), further exacerbating the issue. A slight pitch down to illuminate the road immediately in front or behind the bike would go a long way to keeping everyone’s tempers in check.

  36. Flashing lights confuse old people. Old people drive.

    Agree with above about difficulty judging distance with flashers.

    In low light I will set rear light (serfa thunderbolt or one of those cheap Knog deals) to flashing to be seen. When riding in dark, unless battery dying I set to solid light.

    Forward lighting I go between 2 on bar and 1 bar/helmet. Helmet set as spot, other as flood. Works pretty well. Hadn’t thought about flat changing utility of helmet mount, one helmet mount already broke…

  37. @brett article is spot on. The fear is real, and not something easily conquered.

    Bravo @antihero and @universio it’s rare to see people resolve their stuff online. I have been guilty of sending heated responses and never caring about the fallout. Thanks for showing another way.

  38. Hmm, I’m beginning to think the cycling gods are after me. riding to work today (on a track bike, awaiting the road bike being fixed), ended up in an ambulance. Nothing too bad, but am beginning to feel The Fear creeping up on me.

  39. @markb

    Ouch! Heal up soon!

  40. Quote from this excellent article: “Risk is always there when we ride our bikes, but it’s there in everything we do every minute of every day.”

    This. The fear is as real as can be, but honestly: you could set a foot wrong in the perceived relative safety of your own bathroom today, and not tell the tale. Ride prudently if you can – and even carefully, if you prefer (as I do) – but for Merckx’ sake: Ride.

    @markb Ouch! Sorry to hear that, man – may you heal swiftly and well.

  41. @therealpeel

    Bravo @antihero and @universio it’s rare to see people resolve their stuff online. I have been guilty of sending heated responses and never caring about the fallout. Thanks for showing another way.

    Seconded. Well played, gents.

  42. @unversio

    @antihero

    @unversio

    @antihero

    O, brother, I do know first hand what I’m talking about. Can’t imaging telling your family or friends “I must not fear, so FUCK IT. Go.” It sounds thoughtless to me. Poor form to use the “not riding enough” tactic as well.

    This is precisely what I tell them, my wife, daughter, parents, and all. In my family, suiting up and attacking a problem, even at some risk, is considered thoughtful and appropriate behavior.

    Re: not riding enough, I stand corrected – a low blow. However, you might consider that calling someone stupid without giving full consideration to the motivations and qualities of their actions is also very poor form. I am many things, but stupid is not a quality that I possess in any measure.

    Buttons were pushed, I apologize, and call for cease-fire and year long treaty. I understand completely and could’ve called myself down first of all.

    It is nothing, my friend. Deal :-)

  43. @markb

    Hmm, I’m beginning to think the cycling gods are after me. riding to work today (on a track bike, awaiting the road bike being fixed), ended up in an ambulance. Nothing too bad, but am beginning to feel The Fear creeping up on me.

    Ugh. That’s going to leave a mark. I very much hope you weren’t concussed. Fast recovery, @markb.

  44. @antihero

    no, it should be OK, a crack in the cheekbone but nothing to worry about. Thankfully I was riding in to work with a recent convert to cycling, so he has filled in the bits I don’t remember. We were over-taking a skip lorry (dumpster truck?) as it slowed down over a speed hump. Either the front wheel hit a pot hole or something, but I went down face first and decorated the road for a few metres.

    Riding a track bike, so that didn’t help, maybe. On the plus side, my fellow rider told me the lorry driver stopped in front of me to block on-coming traffic & called the ambulance. They don’t have a good image in London as they have killed a few cyclists, but this one was a decent guy.

    But on to the subject, got hit by a car 3 weeks a go, so now have no working bikes and covered in pain and bruises, but no where near as the guys with broken femurs etc. Still feel scared though about going back out there.

  45. I always assumed that lights just gave people something to aim for.

    STEALTH MODE!

  46. @markb

    @antihero

    no, it should be OK, a crack in the cheekbone but nothing to worry about. Thankfully I was riding in to work with a recent convert to cycling, so he has filled in the bits I don’t remember. We were over-taking a skip lorry (dumpster truck?) as it slowed down over a speed hump. Either the front wheel hit a pot hole or something, but I went down face first and decorated the road for a few metres.

    Riding a track bike, so that didn’t help, maybe. On the plus side, my fellow rider told me the lorry driver stopped in front of me to block on-coming traffic & called the ambulance. They don’t have a good image in London as they have killed a few cyclists, but this one was a decent guy.

    But on to the subject, got hit by a car 3 weeks a go, so now have no working bikes and covered in pain and bruises, but no where near as the guys with broken femurs etc. Still feel scared though about going back out there.

    Shit, that’s plain rotten luck. Heal well.

  47. Track bikes can be wayward on the road. That’s rotten luck indeed. Glad you’re in one piece.

    At least now you’ve burned any negative karma that might be lying around, right? Here’s to a 2015 that’s henceforth sans accident.

  48. @Teocalli

    The worse thing is it signals the end of my Film career – before it even started. Actually, the face injuries don’t hurt too much, but my shoulder has a real bad case of road-rash (through 3 layers), that does ache.

  49. Today on a downhill right hand corner I hit something on the road (no idea what) which deflected the bike into the path of oncoming traffic at about 30km/h. Quickly contemplating which rules come into play under these conditions, I decided the best course of action would be to nonchalantly keep the bike upright and avoid getting hit. It was a close thing I tells you, but the only skid marks are on the road from my rear wheel as I stopped as quickly as possible.

    Such a thing has never happened to me before and it just goes to show how quickly things can go bad without warning. It happened too quickly to do anything other than respond automatically and I was very, very lucky the drive of the oncoming vehicle was paying attention and stopped in time.

    There was no time to panic – I suspect there never is. But it was a clear reminder to pay attention and watch where you are going.

    Respect the fear.

  50. And to those of you in the wars, commiserations and get well soon.

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