Things that changed you as a cyclist and person.

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  • Things that changed you as a cyclist and person.
  • p8ddy

    A few years ago I witnessed a young kid on a bike get hit and killed by a 4×4 coming out of a junction. The kid had just left his house, on his bike without a care in the world – and in a millisecond he was dead. The bullbars on the 4×4 hit his head and then pushed him forcibly into the tarmac of the road.

    How has it changed me? From that day on I’ve worn a helmet (the kid was too but, but I didn’t say any of this was logical). At traffic junctions I don’t feel safe at I jump the lights. I also hate being referred to as “you cyclists” when we’re just people on bikes. No more or less a genus than car drivers or brown haired people, just different folk with a shared interest.

    I also for a while had serious anger issues. More than once I made (male) drivers cry when they realised after an initial confrontation that I could cycle at 30mph, they couldn’t get away and I was intent on a fight. If I got a fright on the road I’d go off the deep end at the driver if they were anything other than utterly apologetic. At my peak fitness I looked fairly intimidating.

    The anger stuff I’m utterly ashamed of. I got help and I’m now ‘normal’ grumpy again. The red lights and helmet? That’s gonna stay.

    All the reports of cyclists being killed/rope traps etc has really dragged up a lot of unpleasant memories for me. Just wondering if any of you guys have had similar life changing moments that’ll be forever tied to your bike and your behaviour?


    I used to ‘shred the gnar’ for years……
    A few months ago, my brother who was a serious skater (and mtb rider), hit his head hard in a (skateboard) crash.
    Skaters don’t wear lids, and he was hospitalised for months with a fractured skull.
    He hasn’t been the same since- hasn’t been able to blink, hasn’t been able to smell anything, and generally hasn’t been his old self. πŸ™

    Since his accident, I have been more conscious of the risks of DH, of his symptoms, and less likely to take risks.
    I am riding road a lot more…..


    I also find I am Mr Angry more than usual in my commutes…. πŸ™


    Nothing to compare to your story, but a big crash in the Alps, and broken bones, definitely led me to assess risk, and stop chasing ultimate speed downhill.


    Back in the day I chased a few motorists down. The classic angry cyclist.

    I’m older and mellowed now. Quiet roads or off road now thanks.

    Can’t be arsed with the hassle.

    Premier Icon ddmonkey

    I came within a couple of feet of going over a cliff in the Himalaya’s in the back of a lorry when I was 22. The lorry crashed and rolled onto its side right on the edge of a 200ft drop into a big river at about 14,000ft in the mountains. Genuinely thought I was going to die for a few seconds. That changed my outlook on life quite a lot.


    I had a big off a few years ago. I’m a lot more cautious now, dont take risks at all. Made me a worse rider. This caution spread into normal life, I seem to be scared of taking a risk job-wise and life-style-wise, I used to be a lot more relaxed and easy going about things.

    Premier Icon weeksy

    Moving to rural West Berks…. transformed me from someone who rarely rode, into someone who loves biking πŸ™‚


    as you get older, you’ve seen more accidents, more dangers and more injuries, you’ve had a few yourself and then mentally in your head you foresee more of the risks around you. It does slow you down and change your approach to both cycling and life generally. Families and children usually arrive and add to this.

    Old people are usually slagged off for being more careful but give it time and dem der youngsters will feel the same. πŸ˜‰


    Off-road, i had a fall in 2005 that hurt pretty bad, i didn’t have to go to hospital but i still have the scars today. Since then, i’m not as quick downhill and i’m happy to avoid stuff if i’m not sure of it.

    Then, on the day i was told i was being made redundant… I was hit by a van on my way home in 2009, got away quite luckily with only minor injuries. Since then i always wear a helmet on the road too.

    As a result of both, i worry a lot when i bike with my wife.

    Owning a Brompton.

    Life changing bike. My commute has now changed greatly, and while it’s not much fun up the hill in the morning, getting off the train and whizzing past everyone else as they walk home is a delight! Also, when at work, I can just jump on it, nip anywhere around town, take the bike in with me, do what I need to do, then hop back on.

    Perhaps the greatest “urban” bike ever made. Always makes me smile, too.


    Swallowed a piece of chicken that went down the wrong way 3 years ago. Couldn’t breathe and couldn’t shift it with coughing, drinking water (not a good idea, nearly drowned myself!!) or moving into different positions. Somehow managed to dial 999 on my phone but couldn’t speak to say where I was etc. Thankfully the operator traced my phone to find my location and sent an ambulance. They arrived in the car park as I passed out and collapsed on the floor. The next thing I remember is being forcibly given the heimlich manouvre and very painful back slaps, neither which worked. I found out afterwards that I passed out again and the paramedic threw me into the back of the ambulance so he could get an airway in. Thankfully for me he was a crap aim and I bounced off the bed and hit the floor, which caused the chicken to pop out!! I had stopped breathing still so a bit of mouth-to-mouth was needed to get me going.
    Wasn’t until I got to the hospital and saw the doc that it dawned on me how close I came to the end, the notes said I had been given 5 sets of stomach thrusts and 5 sets of back slaps (explained the bruises!) and that I hadn’t breathed for nearly two minutes.

    How has it changed me? Well I’m more open to trying a black run or a feature when on the bike and I’m much less worried about being rejected when asking a lady out on a date!! Oh and I don’t drink anymore as it gives me serious headaches after a few gulps and it takes me days to recover. Apart from that I’m still the bumbling idiot I always have been πŸ˜€

    Joining the local roadie club. My fitness has improved ten fold, met some great folks, rode the alps, coast to coast twice and raced.


    I watched my mate hit a dry stone wall on Honister at approx 40 mph. one shattered pelvis (an injury that kills 25% of people it happens to due to internal bleeding), an awful 2 hour wait for an ambulance, him in hospital for a month, on crutches for 3 months, all mean I go down hills a lot slower now, my bottle has totally gone!



    before I came on here I was a staunch and fanatical hippy, and I believed that the rest of the world were either hippies too or at least held a grudging respect for us..
    STW has taught me that there’s actually quite a strong enclave of tory prats clinging on to survival, scattered to the four winds but regrouping through the internet..
    STW has also taught me to see cycling as a lifestyle choice, a religion even, rather than just a laugh or a mode of transport..


    I watched my mate hit a dry stone wall on Honister at approx 40 mph. one shattered pelvis (an injury that kills 25% of people it happens to due to internal bleeding), an awful 2 hour wait for an ambulance, him in hospital for a month, on crutches for 3 months, all mean I go down hills a lot slower now, my bottle has totally gone!

    Sett Valley Sam? Saw the aftermath and his forks. Still to mtb bikes now!


    Throat cancer at 49 (9years ago)… every day now


    Two things.
    Firstly hitting a boy off his bike in my car a few months after passing my test. Various witnesses testified that there was nothing I could’ve done to avoid it, and luckily I was only going 10-15mph when he hit my bonnet so he escaped with a few scrapes. Since then I’ve always assumed that other drivers/cyclist/pedestrians will do the stupid thing, and so I ride/drive/walk cautiously.
    Secondly I broke my arm attempting to ride down a flight of stairs two years ago. Made me realise I’m no daredevil, and should enjoy the more peaceful side of riding. Also taught me that steel frames can break.


    Moving to an area where I can ride offroad from my doorstep, means I actually ride compared to before where it involved putting rack on car, putting bike on rack, driving somewhere etc. staying indoors.

    Premier Icon faustus

    As others have mentioned, experiencing consequences of risks taken seems to bring out a mix of caution in some areas of life, but also the desire to live life fully.

    Crashing my car badly but escaping largely unscathed, and my dad giving first aid to someone who’s leg had been severed in a car accident, has made me a more cautious and considerate driver, wanting newer, safer cars for myself, family and friends.

    Using cycling to help me over depression, but seeing a good friend in the same position badly break his leg. Makes you want to hold on to health and cycle whenever possible for all that it gives you, always wear a helmet. Enjoy being outdoors and travelling more than just outright speed/thrashing.


    I had a few weeks while I was waiting for test results back for suspected non hodgkin’s lymphoma.

    I’ve never ridden like that before, the bike commute was something out of grand theft auto, I’d have happily pulled a driver out of their car if i’d have got to opportunity. Riding off road I spent more time sideways than was a good idea.

    When I got the all clear I felt like a bit of a dick πŸ˜€

    On the other hand when I separated my shoulder going over tourettes leap at Phillips Park (at about 30, idiot) it dented my confidence a LOT, it’s my first ever proper injury from anything.

    I’m still building my confidence back up from that.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    quitting a full time job and moving to Australia.

    We both work part time have a nicer house and live healthier.

    This month I have spent 5 days teaching a course, 2 days working from home and today wielding spanners in my LBS.


    Premier Icon teamhurtmore

    Cousin paralysed in MTB accident makes me much more cautious

    Matured enough not to gesticulate or shout at crap motorists any more – not worth the potential aggro

    Premier Icon thetallpaul

    I’m interested in what help you got to combat your anger. Need ways of coping myself, just not sure where to start.

    Big M

    Being able to commute by bike, I love it, it’s changed my riding no end, I can take the long way when I want to, I can pretty much get to work off road when I want. I don’t feel ‘the need’ to get out at the weekends, I ride at the weekend because I want to.

    The 2nd thing was a trip to see Jedi, he re-ignited my love of MTB & all things off road, for the previous 5 years I’d got very into road riding, HRM’s, cadence, sportives, races etc but my day with Tony reminded me what I’d been missing, even though I’d been riding MTB I’d been riding it like a roadie, all about getting there quickly and efficiently, I’d forgotten the fun but that’s back now. I now ride trails looking for the opportunity to get off the ground and looking for sections that are fun to ride.
    I’ve also realised that I’m never going to be the fastest racer, road or XC so I might as well enjoy my riding, probably an age related thing (43) but since that point I seem to smile more on the bike. Just building a 4X bike as well, really want to get jumping sorted..

    Premier Icon jam bo

    becoming a dad…


    I was diagnosed with cancer in my throat (right tonsil) last xmas. My treatment (radio and chemotherapy) finished in April and it’s really made me appreciate my cycling (I’d been losing interest slowly for the past few years).


    Having a kid. There’s the obvious stuff, but what I wasn’t expecting is how it’s made me much more risk-averse. That, and any news story involving kids affects me a lot more now.

    Premier Icon Trekster

    Things that changed you as a cyclist and person.

    ti_pin_man +1…

    Life changing?
    Getting married @ 22
    Buying new build house(`70s)
    Contracting salmonella, losing 3st, being unconscious for 2wks and not expected to live as there were an outbreak at the time(1980)and lots of people were dying πŸ˜• Mates birthday party and I got the most infected sandwich, others just had a dose of the runs!!
    Having kids @ 26
    Starting to bike @ 26
    Son racing bmx @ 6
    Son breaking nose @ 8 whilst riding with mates and none of them wearing helmets. Probably wouldnt have saved his nose anyway but when he raced he was all suited up with full face helmet and padded top and trousers. From that day onward regardless of how lids looked in the80s we both wore our helmets everywhere and still do. He fell off a week later, wrecked the helmet and damaged his ankle. That did possibly save his life!!
    Becoming a swimming teacher(as a hobby), helping to start a school club and a special needs club.
    Becoming a Bikeability trainer.

    Only thing slowing me down on the bike nowadays is all my aches and pains that come with old age, asthma and having started work at around age 10 on farms, the wrestling with cars as a motor mechanic followed by becoming a factory fitter and 30yrs of squash which I have had to give up.
    Losing a good friend to the big C…
    My mum passing away after a long, nasty illness last new year.
    My dad then being diagnosed(falsely)with cancerous tumor and constant hospital appointments means my fitness has taken the biggest dive ever!


    Not to be to deep but Cycling changed me as a person.
    I’m late comer to this lark(34 now 36), started as a way to keep fit when told not to play rugby anymore. Bought a cx for general stuff did ltb with a few mates then my bro got bitten by the mtb bug. Did swinley with him on my cx and truly loved it. got my stumpy shortly after a trip to afan( first proper exprience. Not looked back!
    i now commute everyday and just look for any excuse to get out on the road or preferably on the dirt.
    fitness wise its strengthened up all the areas that stopped me playing. I’m now playing again fitter than ever(slower but fitter).
    Most importantly it brought myself closer to two of my bro’s.
    Alps next year cant wait.
    The anger thing as stated above, you have to ask what are you getting angry about? once you can ask that you tend to calm down. again i found biking has vastly reduced my anger issues.
    good thread.


    A serious forest/elbow interface. Was in hospital for a week and nearly lost my arm to infection. Always wear hardshell elbow pads now, even if it makes me sweat like a b*gger.

    Actually really helped psychologically, as I made sure I got back on the bike as soon as possible. I’m much better at riding just under my limits now, rather than at/beyond them. I deal with smaller falls much better now as well.

    Above stories are all really moving and inspiring. Puts a lot of perspective on a hobby that can encourage a lot of obsessional behaviour.


    When I was a child, there was a car crash involving multiple vehicles in the centre of the village, a guy in a MK3 cortina had been drinking. He was speeding and went straight through a three way junction colliding with several cars.

    Me and a few friends ran from our street when we heard the sound of the crashes arriving at the scene just seconds after it happened.

    It was utter carnage, the drink drivers car was on its side, a Vauhall viva was on its roof and a Mini was was also on its side.

    I looked inside the Mini and the occuapants, a elderly lady and a young girl were both unconsious with (in my memory image) blood splattered all over the place.

    There were further injuries in the viva and a pedestrian. The cortina driver climbed out of his car and could hardly walk.

    That incident was 1978 and am now 46 and have spent most of my career in the motor industry and the last four years developing telematics products that will hopefully contribute to road safety.

    Cant help thinking that early experience has influenced the type of work I have become involved in.

    Premier Icon ir_bandito

    When I was 4, my Dad, who can’t ride a bike, taught me to ride one.
    He’s the most boring man in the world and riles me with everything he does, but he’s the one person who’s ultimately had the most influence on my entire life, and for that, well. Its getting dusty as I type this. πŸ™‚

    And now its my turn:

    DSC_0910 by ir_bandito, on Flickr

    Equally inspiring.



    I’m interested in what help you got to combat your anger. Need ways of coping myself, just not sure where to start.

    I went to a CBT Councillor for a good while. I also took up the offer of grief counselling at work. The grief stopped stopped me spontaneously bursting into tears – which I found myself doing for a while after the accident, not ideal in conference calls etc….

    CBT helped me to come to terms with the world again.

    Your doc should be able to refer you, but there’s also a lot of private practice guys too. I found it really helpful. Good luck!

    Cycling has changed me as a person, I’m sure. Mountain biking has enriched my life:

    * Given me something involving and active to enjoy locally
    * Increased my physical capability and confidence
    * Helped me mentally with personal and professional crises
    * Helped make me a lot of lovely new friends and acquaintances
    * Kept my body weight under control
    * Made me the fittest I have ever been

    Made me somewhat financially poorer though!



    You story has really touched a nerve with me as I have a little 5 year old boy myself.

    Did you ever see/meet the kid’s parents after the accident? Could that have helped with the grieving process, both theirs and yours? Maybe this is a strange question..I don’t know πŸ™


    I am riding road a lot more.

    You took up road riding because dh is too dangerous?


    Three years ago I had a big off on the way back from a night ride with four pints inside me from the mid-ride stop and spent my birthday having my mouth and nose sewn back together. I now stop at three and a half pints maximum.


    Becoming a Dad at 33 made me realize that there are people that really need me to be safe and well.
    Having a second child at 37, who’s traumatic birth very nearly killed her and my wife made me thankful for the people around me.

    My younger brother died 3 weeks ago after a long battle with Bowel/Liver cancer. He was 36.
    He was the strongest person I know, who never complained about anything, despite his life being increasingly difficult as his illness progressed.
    just over a year ago he cycled from London to Paris, which was an amazing achievement considering how much Chemo he’d had that year.

    I’m going to try and live the rest of my life in the same vein that he did – to make the most of everyday, and try to be nicer to everyone.

    Premier Icon thetallpaul

    Cheers p8ddy.

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