Who cares about technique? I’m back riding a bike again

Mutiny Festival 2017 Picture: Paul Windsor

Keep children safe – but beware the nanny state

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Cyclists are a bunch of smug wotsisnames, aren’t they?

For the past 18 months or so I’ve had a broken-down bike quietly rusting in my garden.

It was given to me by a friend and I was advised it would need a couple of new tyres, the gears needed some attention, and one of the brakes was sticking.

She wasn’t wrong.

So it was parked in my back garden, under a thick plastic sheet, until I could summon up the energy and the cash to get it fixed.

This week, though, I finally walked it round to an independent cycle repair shop in North End and, preparing myself for a financial pasting, I left it there to get fixed.

Just 24 hours later I was able to collect it – and a shiny new helmet too.

I should probably point out at this stage that I haven’t properly ridden a bicycle this century.

In fact, I think the last time I went for a ride was in the mid-1990s when I was young and the ground didn’t seem quite so hard.

So when my newly-fixed bike was handed back to me with a flourish, to say I was a bit apprehensive about getting on it and riding was something of an understatement.

Not only did I look ridiculous in my new bike hat, but the seat was perhaps a half-inch too high.

I seemed to be in the middle of a city rather than a friendly cul-de-sac and there were an alarming number of cars.

Oh, and I didn’t know how the gears worked.

Anybody watching me getting on that bike would probably have feared for my life.

That, and the safety of the cars parked along the street.

Struggling to remember any kind of cycling proficiency I may have been taught, I managed to navigate my first junction without dying or maiming passers-by.

And after that, it was fantastic. I was flying.

Who cares about technique when you have speed on your side and a shiny helmet?

Now I can’t wait for the summer – and to be one of those smug cyclists.