whufancycles - The joys of London cycle commuting

a big catch up
Where do I start?

Well, I cycled Davina McCalls DIVA100 again in May, this time the whole 100km. I set myself the target of cycling under 4 1/2 hours. Cycling time I did achieve that but I had a couple of fuel stops which meant that my even time was 4:45:45. It's very boring cycling that distance though so I won't do a ride again that long in a hurry.

I hope to do one of the shorter courses of the London Duathlon in September. I've got a 10km run coming up in July so I'm training for that.

I've taken part in the Addison Lee Die In - http://road.cc/content/news/57094-cyclists-converge-addison-lees-offices-die-protest

And this week I rode with Mark Cavendish on a Sky Ride. For security purposes it was all a bit hush hush and I didn't find out where it was until 12 hours before it was due to take place. Conveniently it was at Regent's Park so that wasn't too much effort for me to get to. There were 150 of us and Cav rode on a fixed wheel wearing jeans and black Sky polo shirt. He looked very sexy! Unfortunately I was having camera problems and didn't get any close ups and Getty Images didn't really come up trumps either. Ggrr.

This week I started physio proper. It seem I have an impinged right shoulder and it's very weak. It also appears that I might have broken a bit of my pelvis hence the reason I've struggled with my right pelvic region. It might also be that I tore a hip flexor. None of this can be proved without an xray or a scan so that's next on the agenda. The Motor Insurance Bureau are paying for this! I'm now just waiting for a psychiatric assessment because the consultant who I saw in March thinks I need more help to get over the accident. 

Anyway, life goes on. I'm cycling a lot with various different people and I just force myself through any pain I suffer because to give into it would be defeatist.

The Times Campaign
3 cyclists, that I'm aware of, died in January. A cyclist currently lies in hospital, a journalist for the Times. It's this incident which took place in November 2011 which has sparked The Times to launch a campaign.


16 people died in London in 2011. Most of those tragedies involved an HGV. 2 of the deaths so far this year involved HGVs. 
From what I see other cyclists do I know that the HGV drivers may not necessarily be fully responsible but a lorry vs bike is never going to end well.

Please help support!

Thank you.

Couple of little things
The Cold: I don't know about anyone else but the cold makes me really sluggish. It was quite a bright morning this morning and I should have enjoyed the ride to work far more than I did. But, with the temperature below 5ºC, my av mph probably dropped at least 5!

Gloves: I'm really struggling with gloves. On the one hand I have to keep my fingers warm but on the other hand once I warm up my fingers start sweating and my gloves get heavy. Yet if I put on thinner gloves I'd get really cold fingers. 

Gears: Mine are driving me crazy. Despite a relatively new chain and having taken the bike into a bike shop a couple of times very recently I stilll have very clicky gears.

And last of all I've booked to do the Diva 100 again. This time it'll be the 100k not the 50. I remember at the point where the courses divided there was a shocking hill for the 100ers! look forward to doing that on my Pearson. Not!

New Year commuting
The first week of 2012 was ridiculously windy. In fact it was so bad on the 3rd January that I left the bike at home and caught the train. The roads was clear too as it was evident so few school had returned for the new term.

This week, a completely different story! Very light wind and an almost continuous stream of road rage. All back to normal then!!

It's not just us cyclists that take the brunt of car driver's frustration, it's other car drivers too. So people.....get out of your car and onto a bike then you won't have to sit in the traffic you're creating!

The end of 2011
So I finish my year cycling in a very wet and muddy South Norwood Country Park. In theory I was a Breeze Champion for a beginner, confidence boosting ride but no-one booked a place. No matter, rubbish weather and conditions weren't ideal for most people so I spent half an hour cycling like a mad thing and skidding all over the place. I got stuck in a puddle at one point so I ended up with very wet feet. But, it was fun! (Bike has been cleaned and re-lubed!)

I had a great summer cycling. I started doing 5km Parkruns. The course I run is a trail run which I thoroughly enjoy and I've slowly got faster. I also cycled abundantly. I have a new cycling buddy. I'm probably fitter than him and can cycle faster but we enjoy each other's company and I can challenge him and vice versa. He's taken up running too, but that's his girlfriends doing not mine, and on Christmas Day I joined him at his Parkrun.

One of the many things I do in my so-called spare time is coach hockey. As I'm currently working towards my next level qualification I felt the need to atually play again. Properly, rather than the occassional adhoc game. Also I need a bunch of adults to coach for an assessment so I joined a local club. It took me a while to get into it again and to feel comfortable with the team. I was dropped quite quickly from the 1st team to the 3rds but I'm happier not having to prove myself all the time and physically I can't always play flat out because of my hip.

So I go into 2012 with the knowledge that the Motor Insurance Bureau are arranging for me to see a doctor and are gathering all my medical notes. I wish I hadn't gone to a solicitor, though. I hate having to go over and over what happened in 2010. I'd rather live as I am and forget it happened than to be constantly reminded.

There are things that I have learnt about myself this year, though; I'm a half full person, I'm scared of pain but not death, I'm a fighter!

And I'm really loving the cycling, the running and the hockey which probably wouldn't have happened as it has if I hadn't been knocked off my bike.

Here's to a very happy cycling 2012 everyone x

PS Park runs: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/
Breeze : http://www.goskyride.com/breeze

Came a cropper
 OK so my new route for the last 4 miles has it's bad points. Several in fact but where I came off yesterday wasn't one that I imagined being too much of a problem. Leading up to a set of traffic lights is one of green, dashed cycle paths alongside the kerb. It's a narrow one but not a problem really...not unless a passenger suddenly throws open his door, the full force of which hits your wrist and lower arm.

So another trip to A&E. I felt a bit guilty going the 200 metres to Croydon University Hospital by ambulance just for a potential broken arm but I did feel very nauseous at the time of the ambulance being called. Ten minutes later when it arrived, although in pain, I wasn't feeling sick nor was I shaking any more. In fact I was remarkably calm. Again.

So the car driver got out as did the passenger. Both guys were Asian and very nice. The passenger stayed with me for a while. He was shocked by what his action had done. My arm was twice the size of the other one and it had swelled before his eyes. He called the ambulance and hung around until I assume the person he phoned told him to get the hell out of there. A lady in a car got out and asked whether she could take me to hospital. While I'd been waiting I phoned Mum. More than anything, I was concerned about the safety of my bike. I didn't want it stolen. In the event, the paramedics were happy to take it with us in the ambulance and when we arrived at A&E one of them locked it up.

A few statistics: Blood pressures was 150/96. High, but I was told that was expected. My blood sugar level 5.6 - that might have had something to do with the Belgian bun I'd had a couple of hours before!! Blood pressure in hospital - 145/86. Not so bad.

Anyway, I was seen relatively quickly, although by this time I'd come down with a migraine. My Dad arrived and took my bike home and then I had an x-ray and a woman who'd fallen over in her drive way started chatting to me about doing charity rides. It passed the time. Anyway, my arm/wrist isn't broken just bruised and swollen. When I got home I put an icepack on and that helped a bit.

The whole incident rather spoilt my weekend because I had hoped to go cycling with some people from the Croydon branch of the London Cycling Campaign today. too painful. Also too dopey - I took an Amitriptyline last night to help me sleep. I woke at 9am having gone to bed at 9pm!!! I've felt crap all day!

The photo doesn't really quite show how swollen it is. No bumpy bone on my right wrist....but then you can't really see the bumpy bone on my left wrist in the photo.

It's June
...and I haven't written for ages so here goes:

8th May - I took part in the 50km route of the DIVA100 for Action Medical Research.  I rode it in 2 hours 15 minutes and was 3rd out of the 240 who took part. I was on a high for at least a week! My average speed was 14mph - despite having to walk up a couple of hills and the route being quite hilly in general. I raised just over £400.

Commuting - I'm taking a slightly different route home and cycling along the A23 now. I've found that I get a good work out because invariably I have males who want to race me. I always though that on my Touch I wouldn't be able to race but I can!

I'm still in quite a lot of pain. My right leg is still quite weak and if I push off with my right foot my knee hurts quite a lot too because of the funny angle that my hip muscles move at due to the weakness. I'm currently waiting for the Motor Insurance Bureau to arrange a doctor to see me so that hopefully I can finally have physio. My left shoulder is also giving me quite a lot of grief and my neck is still quite stiff. Every time I turn over in bed my lower back clicks and it's quite painful.

December 15th still plays quite heavily on my mind which I know isn't good. After eating dinner about all I want to do is curl up in a ball on the sofa and watch TV - I have now become addicted to watching Real A&E on PickTV. I've also become obsessed with sports nutrition and improving my cycling performance and energy levels through nutrition. I find that days I don't do any excersise that I feel more lethargic and low than the days that I do. Also, I've generally got a feeling of I can't be bothered to do anything.

But I'm considering getting another bike. I love riding singlespeed, I really do, but I think it's time for bigger hillier rides - ie Boxhill!! Maybe a Pearson Audax - perfect for long rides, sportives and commuting! £1700 though :-(

I recorded my fastest speed on my Strada at the weekend - 40.8mph!!! It's a hill that runs from Old Couldson to Coulsdon in Surrey. It was only the 2nd time I'd ridden it. It was exhilerating but dangerous. It would have only taken a pot hole, a swerve or someone pulling out of their driveway and I would have been a gonner. Having said that I justified the danger by thinking it would be a good way to go. I'm not going to make a habit of cycling down there...I do have kids after all.

June 18th the TFL London Cycle Challenge starts. Last year I cycled nearly £600 miles in the month. This year I hope to better that. My work team won our category too.

11 days off
 Like so many other people in the UK what with Easter then the Wedding and then May Bank Holiday I took full advantage of taking 3 days leave from work to have 11 days off! I had lots of housey things to do, which I haven't achieved but the one thing I set my mind on was to cycle every day. What I hadn't realised was how far I could cycle!

Good Friday - 14 miles - my usual Dulwich ride, cut short by not having allen keys on me to tighten a screw which had come loose in one of my shoes. 
Easter Saturday - 19 miles - to the Farthing Downs. Journey to Coulsdon was made pleasant by riding with a friend who was going on a ride with Addiscombe Cycle Club.
Easter Sunday - 30 miles - Cycled up to Greenwich then followed THames Route 1 round the O2 up to the Thames Barrier - http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=4465240
Easter Monday - 33 miles - Richmond Park
Tuesday - Cycles to Bromley then back to Peckham Rye - tried following LCN routes
Wednesday - Westerham - 32 miles - Stock Hill defeated me! http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=4459959
Thursday - Greenwhich via LCN routes - 26 miles
Friday - wedding bank holiday - 30 miles. London ride 
Saturday - 44 miles - Followed CS7 and then CS3 route from beginnings to ends
Sunday - 26 miles - Battersea Park. Followed a little of the CS8 route
Monday - 16 miles - Peckham ride

All my rides were mapped out on Gmap pedometer....and now I've ordered a Cateye Wireless Strada computer!

4 months on....

I managed my first full 26 miles per day commuting week last week. and I managed a leisure ride from Croydon to Greenwich and back via a pub for lunch on Saturday. However, now I hurt like hell. I'd like to blame the cycling but I don't think I can. I took a long drive down Canterbury on sunday and my hip hurt. Yesterday's commute in was painful and home was excruciating and it's just got worse. Ibuprofen and paracetemol just don't seem to be hitting the pain : -(

The ride on Saturday was slow but fun. I joined 8 other Croydon LCC members. We took several London cycle Network routes and I was amazed how green South London is!


Life now
 I went back to work on the 9th March. My line manager suggested a phased return and I agreed to work for 3-4 hours a day. I was so tired that first few days and my manager suggested 2 hours a day instead. However, when it take s 90 mins or so to get to work there's not much point so for the next few days I carried on with the 3-4 hours. For these 10 days I took the tram and train to work. I got quite frustrated on several days when it was taking me so long to get to or from work because of train delays or cancellations so Monday of last week I cycled all the way to work on my Touche and cycled for 5 miles and then got a train with my bike on the way home so I was doing about 19 miles per day. Thursday I had to go by train because I'd had an awful night's sleep and my collar bones hurt. I did have one bad day where the verbal abuse I got from pedestrians and another cyclist were very anger-inducing.

I had rather a lot of annual leave to use up so this week I've been at home. On Monday I went to a funeral, Tuesday I had choir, yesterday I met S from school and today I have choir. However, I recognise I have depression. Mildly, but still there. I've have become obsessed with watching Supersize vs Superskinny which started last week when the kids version was on. I've probably watched about 14 episodes now. I've been getting dressed at about 3pm but I have been eating fairly normally. I could have taken the opportunity to see friends but I can't be bothered. I have another week off at the end of April so hopefully I will feel more up to being sociable then.

I had my last session with the paid-for-by-work counsellor. I'm going to miss those sessions. I recognise that although being hurt by someone who didn't stop, and then feeling that I was dealing with incompetence - paralegal and police - the feeling that I was no longer in control of my life rapidly sent anger induced PTS into anger-induced depression. So, I have a lot of anger to deal with. I also have realised I'm a control freak and that I don't like anyone going against what I want or changing a decision I have made. Yet, this seems to happen to me all the time, I'm unable to say no so therefore a control freaky personality doesn't seem to have any control at all. I NEED to do something just for me. Choir has become that. Me time. I've enjoyed it.

So back to cycling. I could do with a proper road bike! I love my Touche and my Sirrus but they are lmited. I can't join a long distance club run, nor can I race; both things of which I'd like to do. Can't afford it though :-( Maybe getting the Touche was the wrong decision but it it is such a pleasure to ride :-)

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