About five years ago I bought myself a bike. I had visions of me embarking on casual cycling expeditions through Hyde Park and Kensington Palace Gardens, freewheeling my way through London’s long summer evenings, the breeze in my hair and the sun in my face.
But then one day, hugely unfit, I cycled up Kensington High Street and almost got side swiped by a London bus. The fact that I was pedalling my way along the quietest stretch of the street meant nothing with a huge red double-decker monstrosity looming over me, barrelling into my lane so that I had nowhere to go – unless I fancied slipping under the wheels of a passing car or van in the next lane.
I didn’t hurt myself. I didn’t fall off. I just got the biggest fright of my life, such a fright that I could not bring myself to get on my bike again. Instead I locked it up where it sat gathering dust and cobwebs for several years. I then moved it into a storage room where it lay untouched for another year or two.
Every now and then I’d feel a pang of guilt: I’d spent £150 for a piece of metal that had only been used about three times. But then I’d promptly deflect such feelings with the knowledge that riding that blasted bike had nearly killed me. It could stay in the friggin’ shed forever as far as I was concerned.
Until a month or so ago when possessed by I know not what I thought it was about time I overcame my fear of bikes, buses and London traffic…
[To be continued]