For many years I have defined myself as a cyclist. That’s not the whole of me, but it has always been important. It gives me exercise, makes friends, allows me to go exploring. And even if I get lost, I seem to panic much less on a bike. I’ll find a signpost that reads “Aylesbury 20 miles” and think “Drat! Should have turned left back at that junction. Hey! Ho! Another hour of riding.” And off I set. This was what I did until about two years ago when I had a serious accident. Fortunately I was out with my club or else I might not be writing this piece. I came into a left hand bend where the camber dropped to the right. I panicked, thinking I was going to drift out into the face of any oncoming traffic. So I braked. Hard. Which with disc brakes is not good. I recovered about 10 minutes later, sitting shivering on the roadside with my friends anxiously looking after me. I tried to move and found that this was not sensible. I had broken my wrist in three places and also my hip. I was not going anywhere very fast! An ambulance came and took me to our local hospital. The ambulance crew were great as were my club mates. (I had the mixed joys of being given Gas and Air in the ambulance. In the end I chose the pain as the lesser of two evils!) I was repaired and left hospital-prematurely! My physical recovery took some months but with excellent physio help and a large dose of bloody mindedness, I got back to reasonable mobility. After a year I could go to the gym and train again with minimal pain. But cycling outside on a real bike terrified me. i still remember riding a few miles to work, fighting the urge to vomit and trying to not mind the churning anxiety in my stomach. I did ride in a few times but eventually found excuses to take the car.
This year I am back on the road. I am doing a 75 mile ride on Sunday and have ridden around the county on some long forgotten routes. Not quite 75 miles but some rides nonetheless. (I’d offer to blog about it on Sunday but suspect that won’t happen!) I am still slightly nervous about riding but it no longer cripples me. i want to ride. I can rise. (I thought I’d typed “ride” but “rise” fits just as well!) I am so pleased! If this was a cycling blog, I’d probably finish here. Pleased with myself and promising to upgrade you on my performances throughout the coming season.This is not a cycling blog, however. It is a counselling blog-sort of! (Psychoanalytic thinking about things that interest me, as the blurb says.)
So, I want to think about identity…which I will do in part 2 of this piece.