This is the blog post that had to happen eventually: earlier today a white van ran into me and knocked me off my bike. Not fun, but I'm OK! It could have been worse! No broken bones, trips in an ambulance, or long-distance funeral for my parents to attend. Just a few superficial scrapes and bruises. The first thought I had once I sat up and took my bearings was my best jeans are ruined! My second thought was my bike is ruined! and my third thought was I'm alive! Which tells you a lot about how important those jeans are to me. I have only ever had one pair of jeans that have fitted me properly in my life, and now they have an irreparable tear down the left shin. Grr.
To put it in perspective, I've been cycling the mean streets of the capital regularly for the past two years, which is a decent amount of time to have gotten away with no incident. Truthfully, I feel a little bit triumphant - like I have finally been indoctrinated into the inner sanctum of true, hardcore London cyclists: entry only on presentation of x-rays, colostomy bag and/or scars over 5 inches long. I felt pretty cool as I rocked up at the local Old Bill on Borough High Street in my ripped jeans and nonchalantly asked the attending copper for an incident form.
Pity I've only got a plastered little finger and a brand new batch of bruises to show for it.
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Oddly, the very same night of the Bike Crash Incident, I went to see a play about three elite cyclists competing at the Tour de France, staged in a disused office space near Oxford Circus. I highly recommend it for a couple of reasons - firstly, even if you don't follow cycling as a sport (I don't), it is a riveting account of three very distinct sporting personalities - American Lance Armstrong, Italian Marco Pantani and German Jan Ullrich - and their relationship to each other, as well as the psychology of competing at such an elite level. Secondly, it is incredibly inventive in the way it utilises very basic props - the actors use plastic chairs in a variety of ways to evoke cycling in various conditions, and crash barriers stand in for everything from a press security barrier to a car to a jail.
Gripping, intense, and more than a little inspiring.