Monday, 22 September 2014

Exercise can be dangerous

I haven't done a lot of exercise recently. Ever since I made the biggest decision I simple haven't had the motivation. However, after a lazy couple of months I've been trying to get back into doing regular exercise again. I'm also extremely poor - not least because work completely messed up my last paycheque - and so I'm back to cycling to work instead of taking the lazy, expensive option and going by the tube.

Cycling can be dangerous. In 2013 there were over 19,000 accidents in the UK that involved a cyclist. Including over 3,000 serious injuries and 109 deaths. And although the roads are supposedly getting safer for cyclists, the end of last year saw a spate of accidents in London where a number of cyclists were killed over the period of a couple of weeks. Although in an attempt to put these number into perspective there are over 150,000 daily commuter cyclists in London alone.

I remember - at the time of the accidents last year - reading an article that described people that cycle in London as "risk takers". I'd never really seen it like that before. I've certainly never seen myself as a risk taker before. But maybe I am? Maybe I do things with thinking sometimes because I'm brave? I do think that sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith. But no I don't think I'm particularly brave and I don't see myself as a risk taker. If I saw cycling as a risk instead of a cheap, healthy and (fairly) reliable way to get to work then I probably wouldn't do it. Although I'm maybe starting to see it that way I don't think of cycling as a risk. Maybe this is because I'm stupid or maybe because I'm too scared to think of it in this way? Whatever the reason I just chose to blank out the risks (of cycling but also anything else I do that has risk attached). I just do things and assume that everything is going to be ok. & I guess I've been lucky. I've been cycling for nearly a year without too many issues. May the good luck continue. Fingers crossed I have just jinxed it!

Talking of good luck, here's something that happened a few days ago. The something that inspired me to write this little blog post:

I've been quite lazy recently. I got ANOTHER flat tyre around a month ago, just before I went up to Edinburgh. I didn't have time to sort it before I went up and with Edinburgh and then a family holiday to Majorca, I was out of London for two weeks. Then when I got back I simply ignored the fact that I had a bike for a further two weeks. That was until I was simply too poor to continue to travel by tube. Then last Thursday when I really had no other option, I took my front tyre off, changed the inner tube, placed the wheel back on and cycled around 9 miles (35mins-ish) to work.

& that's where it happened. That's where my front wheel fell off. It literally came right off and fell on the floor in front of me! What happened was that I took my bike down to where everyone at work stores their bikes. There were a lot that day, more than usual. The space was packed but if I picked up my bike I could just about squeeze between the other bikes and the stairs and park my bike at the back out of the way behind the other bikes. So as I make my way past the other bikes, that's when it happens. I accidentally tap my front wheel on side of the stairs. And I mean tap! It really didn't take much contact and there's the wheel lying unattached on the floor in front of me.

I had just cycled for around 35mins to get to work and I'd been cycling pretty hard the whole way because even though I was pushing it for time I decided to take the slightly longer, more scenic route through the Walthamstow Marshes. Every traffic light seemed to be against me too. 35minutes and my wheel literally could have fallen off at any point! I hit a whole bunch of pot holes and must have gone over a hundred speed bumps. I'm genuinely a bit confused as to how it didn't come off earlier. I mean it really ought to have come off before it did.

I stood there looking down at my bike feeling incredibly lucky. I could have been in a right mess! I always wear a helmet but it was a lovely sunny day and so I was in shorts and t-shirt. If I'd have come off my bike I would have kissed the skin on my arms and legs goodbye at the very least.

But I've learnt my lesson. I think? It's hard because I don't seem to take risks into account all that often. I don't have a death wish and I don't want to make life even harder for myself but the risks just don't seem to enter my mind sometimes. I just don't always seem to realise that sometimes the consequences of my actions could mean me getting hurt/sacked/dumped which is a bit odd as I like to think of myself as a fairly intelligent person. But for some reason the risks involved just don't always seem to register. However, from now on I will be making sure that if I do take my wheel off again - which at some point I've no doubt I will have to - when it goes back on, I will be making sure that it is 100% safe before I set off again. Exercise is already potentially dangerous enough without me doing my best to make it even more so.

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