Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Back in the Saddle.

Nothing to do with post - just love it!
I am now back on my bike after my accident – I have cycled into work (22 mile round trip) 4 times in the last week and a half, also I did about five 6 mile rides to get used to riding again and two 14 mile rides just to get used to more distance.

Some elements of returning to the saddle have been easier than I thought but some others surprisingly difficult. Firstly the easy things, my fitness has picked up faster than I expected. In reality over a 4 month period I only cycled for about 2 weeks in the middle (this was due to breaking my rib 2 months prior to the accident and then having two months off to recover from the accident). So I realised that my fitness levels were going to be poor, but what has surprised me is that I am probably back up to 70% of my previous fitness level so fast. I expect the final 30% to get more difficult to achieve and then to move on from there (hopefully). I have been able to get to a comfortable cruising speed of 19mph easily and can fast cruise at 23mph. Obviously the length of time I can hold the higher speed is less and I am back to be being dreadful at hills again (as opposed to just bad as I was before). I am not sure how much of this is down to the £600 of upgrades my bike received but I am sure they have helped some bit.

What has saddened me though is the loss of confidence I now have. Now I expect ever car I meet to try and kill me – there is nothing wrong with being cautious after all but I think I am now over cautious. Because of the nature of the accident, it was totally unpredictable and there was no reason for what happened to have happened, it has made me fear every situation. This coupled with a very conscious effort by me to show cyclist in the best possible light by being very careful in how I act around traffic has made every journey I take a real “stop start” affair.

I really didn’t expect me to ever be afraid on the road – I have always had a fearless approach to life. It really just didn’t occur to me that I had “mental trauma” not until I started talking to the insurance doctor about what I felt. I realised that I am having flashbacks to when the car hit me – even as I type this I get an image in my mind of the pale green bonnet hit me, to be honest it isn’t fair!

I now realise given my very steady view on life and the fact that I am not one to ever panic in a tight situation, that the effect on the more panicky people who are hit whilst on the road must be very significant – it has been an eye opener for me. So where does that lead us? Well one thing is for sure – I agree that we should be careful in how we get the message across about the dangers of cycling whilst in pursuit of better infrastructure.

I am sure that over time I will relax back a little and be less nervous and God willing I will also get enough time in the saddle without injury to start building up my fitness. I will not stop cycling, I get far too much from it to even consider that, in fact I am busy planning my new bike and the best way to go about it.

I just wish that some drivers out there could learn how to drive!

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