Archive for May, 2009

Broken Wrist!


I’ve broken my wrist whilst trying to get off my bike!! cried D.  So I rushed round to find out what had happened and we had a chat about being newbies.


So this post is dedicated to D who I met at training and recently became the proud owner of a beautiful Saracen 2009 bike and broke her wrist whilst getting off the bike.


D had never learnt to ride as a child and had never been on a bike.  Like myself, it was something that was never considered during childhood.  She only became interested after having a family and watching her two children and husband riding bicycles.  It was then she thought she would like to join in with family rides. 


Her husband tried to teach her on her son’s bike, showed her how to hold it, sit on it and so on but it was difficult to learn with a partner who was not as patient as our instructors have proven to be!


It was a male friend of hers, whom she had seen cycling around town about a year ago who introduced her to cycling training.  Subsequently she had been going on and off  to training for about a year before I started, mainly stopping in the winter months. 


D became very passionate about cycling as the training went on and when she met me.  She then began to think about cycling for herself, cycling to work and to have fun, something for herself.  She really enjoys it.  Something for the whole family. She’s also now at the stage of having a personal cycling trainer.  She’s been out with him three times and finds it very useful.


When I got my bike D became more confident and enthuiastic realising that it was possible.  With supportive instructors and family she did just that.  Buy a bike. Although, even in the shop, she was worried that it was too big for her, everyone said she would get used to it.   It now commits me to actually going out on my bike.  I felt excited and nervous at the same time. The first time I went out I rode around the block, I ride on the pavement as well because it’s scary. There’s a lot of traffic round here. I went out at least twice a week. It’s not worth taking the risk in traffic so I go on the pavement if I feel at risk.  


As D passed Level 2 she gained more confidence and really began to believe that she could go out on the road.  I can do this!   The instructors were so patient.  The training is excellent. The trainers are really good and prepare you for the road.


However on Sunday, they all went out for a family day to Greenwich Park and she took her bike.  After cycling around the park whilst the family played football it was time to go.  She cycled over to her family and whilst getting off the bike, horse style, her leg got tangled in the back bit and she fell on her hands on the grass and became entangled with the bike.  She felt something go in her wrist.  D screamed in agony but her husband thought she was laughing.  Eventually she was taken to the hospital, put in a cast and has six weeks off work plus physio and is now unable to drive, cycle or do any of the everyday normal things.


It hasn’t put me off.  I’m just taken aback a bit.  I’m now more wary and careful.  It’s such a shame because I was really looking forward to becoming a confident cyclist by the end of the summer.  But it hasn’t put me off.  I haven’t been knocked off (we talked about the terrible incident where a  woman cyclist was killed).  I was so excited that maybe I wasn’t concentrating and fractured my arm!

We discussed the fact that her bike might be too big for her as she is quite small.  It’s actually bigger than my bike and I’m taller than she is. 


Well, there’s always next summer!  I hope you get better soon and I’m so sorry about your accident.   




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Cyclist Killed!

killedI was shocked to learn of a local woman cyclist killed in a hit and run.   It was a lorry that did not stop!


A white bike was placed at the scene, now a memorial at this particularly nasty awful junction.    It’s laden with flowers and photos.  The woman, now identified as 30 yr old Adrianna Skrzypiec, was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident.  Police are looking for the lorry!  Can you believe that she had only been cycling for six months.  How absolutely dreadful.  It’s enough to put newbies like me off.  The traffic around here is terrible.  The fact that there’s a green cycle lane just where the incident happened did not save her.


I am so sad about this, but not at all surprised. I have driven through that route as well as cycled through it with the our instructors. It is very very scary. I do try to avoid all the dual carriageways and these types of multi junctions to the displeasure of my instructors who insist we should but I don’t think they really understand how difficult it is to attempt junctions like this on your own.


My thoughts are with Adrianna’s family and friends.

You risked my life

Broken Wrist

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Really! Well, of course I didn’t mean to risk the life of my instructor!  Obviously I had no intention of risking anyone’s life at all! I just want to have fun, gain confidence and experience riding a bike.  If it’s in traffic, then that’s why I’m out with an instructor, exactly so I can learn and not risk anyone’s life.  You risked my life he said in no uncertain terms, putting a cloud over the whole experience.


To start off, we went a different route, to collect another trainee who lived not too far from me.  For the first time, we turned right instead of left up my street and went up the slope which I was pleased about because I managed it without any problems. But that didn’t last.  There was another long uphill slog. I couldn’t manage it. Got off the bike, walked up the hill whilst the instructor rode and waited for me at the top.  I don’t think he was pleased at all but he said nothing.


We collected the other trainee who was worried that her bike was too big for her. He showed her how to do the ‘M’ check and pumped up our tyres. We rode amongst very busy traffic, in fact it was the middle of rush hour and I wasn’t too pleased about that. 


We arrived at a beautiful park and rode around, trying to stand up and try out our different skills. It was somewhere else I could go to practise but I decided there and then not to cycle there in the rush hour again.


On the way back  there’s this very awkward junction in the middle of the road, much busier than this photo shows. In order to turn right you have to go in the middle of the cars who are waiting to turn left and right.  But there’s also other lanes for cars to drive straight on in both directions as well as cars waiting at the side roads to turn.


I managed to get in the middle of the junction between the cars but because its on a slope I slipped and fell on a car whilst creeping out.  I felt really bad about that and the driver wasn’t too pleased!  Cars were driving straight on and/or turning left whilst I was trying to turn left and I couldn’t see beyond because cars were there waiting to turn right while I was trying to see what was coming so I could turn right as well.


I decided to get off the bike when I fell on the car and walk the bike across the road when it was clear but there’s no pavement there. The instructor behind me shouted out you risked my life!  How?  How I wondered did I risk his life?  I just don’t know. I certainly didn’t mean to at all.

Cyclist Killed!

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 standing upI was astonished to find a large ugly bruise appear on my leg days after those killer hills .  On the inner thigh of my right leg.  I was so surprised.  The shape is like an arc, about seven or more inches long!  I took a photo of it to show the instructors.  They said I should change my boyfriend!!  But also said it might be to do with the saddle but my saddle is quite comfortable.  I felt no pressure whilst riding.  But I’m sure those killer hills and cycling all day last week had an effect. I’m just not used to it yet.


Anyway, this week I felt really really tired all over my body so I cancelled my personal cycling session during the week despite protestations of ‘mind over matter’ and ‘don’t waste the effort you’ve already put in’.  I just could not face it.


 Never mind that bruise, today I wanted to ride my bicycle so I cycled to training via the high street.  The bruise didn’t affect my cycling at all.  In fact, I was so pleased with myself now that I can cycle along the high street, albeit a very short one.  With my usual smile on my fabarrierce instead of contortions,  remembering to peep and creep at the junctions if I had to stop or continue if nothing was coming, I enjoyed it. 


Peeping and creeping is when you slow right down at a junction but can’t see because of the parked cars, so you stop, peep and creep out slowly until you can see behind the parked cars to turn either left or right. I wish I was quick as my instructor in getting pedal ready and setting off because I feel pressured to turn when cars are behind me and I’m still a bit slow even though now I don’t wobble.

For a change we cycled in the opposite direction along the Thames to the Royal Arsenal Gardens.  It’s very elegant, opened in 2000 and built on the site of a power station. It includes a conservation meadow with wild flowers, stone sculptures and a skateboard park.  We practised standing up but the bike wobbles and becomes unstable.  However the instructor says that it might help me get up those hills.  I really need that. 
Last week, when we met those other cyclists on their day out, we cycled on the other side of the Thames.   This week, we explored this side of the Thames Barrier further down from The Royal Arsenal Gardens.   A lovely flat wide paved cycle path.  Thank god it’s flat!  I say it again.  Thank god it’s flat! No cars, no traffic and no junctions and more importantly no hills.  Quite scenic, twists and turns and with ramps and so on. Very pleasant and enjoyable on this sunny day.
At the Barrier, we couldn’t find a ramp to cycle down to get a closer view. We had to carry our cycles down steps and then cycle through a tunnel.   We stopped at the cafe. It was daylight robbery!  £4 for a sandwich!  We agreed that the other side of the Thames had a better view and facilities for cyclists.
I cycled home whilst wondering if  another bruise would show,  wondering if the bruise I had was due to the saddle or something else and wondering whether I would recover in time for my personal cycling training in a few days time!

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