A summary of the highs and lows of the week(ish) in UK cycling.
Well this is an easy one – the GB cycling track team, what a totally inspiring few days that was! I am not going to list out all the events and medals but a few things really stuck out in my mind. Firstly there was the disappointment I felt, when we only got a Silver or Bronze and my total disbelief when we didn’t have a finalist in an events (talk about high expectations). Secondly, there was the magnificent atmosphere inside the London Velodrome – there should be no doubting of the popularity of this sport now – OK it is not in the same league as football, but it seems to have a very large core of knowledgeable, vocal and ardent supporters. One wonders given the high level of spending by Mambos like me on cycling products and the average high income bracket of a large number of cyclists why Team GB Cycling cannot make a little more income from all this support to help it grow at the grass roots level. This is going to be essential given the ever increasing competition, we need fresh blood to continue the success story.
Another thing that struck me was the general decency of the Cyclists themselves – not only in their interviews and team unity but also in how they showed respect to the other competitors, pride in their sport and gratitude for the supporters. All in all such a positive event from all angles, it is a shame that some other sports cannot achieve such lofty heights of behaviour and dedication.
Another thing on the good side, I went to the doctor for my personal injury claim this weekend so hopefully I can gather all the bills for treatment etc. up and get a final pay off – the money will be used to help complete my new bike build – I am giving my old bike to my 14 year old (not bad he will have a £1,100 bike for free – I just hope it inspires him to cycle more).
So we go from one extreme to the other – I am not going to go on about road safety as that is always a “bad” when it comes to cycling. Instead I am going to talk about something a bit left of field. Last week I was killing some time looking at BBC iPlayer – I decided to watch “Room 101 as it seemed to be in a different format. The programme I watched was originally aired on the 10th February. One of the celebrity contestants was a comedian called Ross Noble (someone who I generally find funny even if he is not my favourite comedian and who I had to Google the show to find out his name). One of the items he wanted to move to Room 101 (this is somewhere where you ask for things that annoy you to be placed) was commuter cyclists, what really disappointed me was his totally unoriginal lines he and the others pulled out these included. A link to this bit of the programme is HERE
Cyclists go through red lights
Cyclists are all Eco warriors out to save the world
Cyclists think they own the road
Cyclists risk life and limb daily.
These are just such sad stereotypes and I would have expected something far more original from a comedian, basically he seemed to be playing to the crowd. But the thing that brought me most down to earth was the general baying and applause from the audience, it was probably the most popular thing to hate of the episode, the crowd were really very strongly behind him and were very miffed when it was not chosen by the host.
What we as cyclists need to take from the above is that we must understand that no matter what our perception of cycling is, many (really a majority) do not agree with us or even dare I say it, like us. There is an image problem out there and it is something we as cyclists, should be conscious of. Yes we might know that all the hackneyed and predominately comments above may not be true – but unless you as an individual have cycled through town dealing with taxi’s, lorries, potholes etc. then they are not going to sympathetic to our problems and risks. Because of this more than anything I have started stopping at red lights more and more often, before if I was taking a left turn I would go through a traffic light – if there was a pedestrian crossing with no-one on it or near it I would go over it. Now if there are cars around I take the time to stop, just for reasons of PR and not for safety (though I doubt many car drivers will take the same safety concerns over me).
All in all it was a real wake up call to me though about the outright dislike for cyclists and I think we have to be careful not to get too carried away about the life in our bubble and be aware of the opinions of others (even if they are wrong)!
Bit more tricky this one – pauses for thought (when I started this article I had one lined up but I have forgotten it).
I was tempted to put the aforementioned Ross Noble’s face here – but that would be just sour grapes. Oh what the hell
Other than that I was thinking about putting the recent weather with suitable snowy picture in the ugly section – but then I realised that I only hated the weather because it has stopped me from cycling into work – normally I would cycle in during the bad weather but because I am still recovering from the accident in December it is too big a risk for me to start cycling in again – I am unfit and still a little nervous out on the road, this has meant the weather has stopped me even trying. This week though as the weather has picked up I am going to start trying to cycle in again – I will maybe do it only 2 times this week and gradually build it up.
I could throw in some pictures of my injuries from the crash – they sure were ugly – but that is all just too personal. Damn it what can I put in for the ugly section?
Let’s face it – the evenings are starting to get longer, the weather is starting to get above freezing, the Times cycling campaign and London Going Dutch campaign are gathering momentum, cycling just had a massive PR success in the Velodrome, so let’s just say there is no great ugly this week or none that I can think of!
Except of course :-)
Once more for luck!