Yesterday a lad ( though no longer ) that was in Cardiff Uni with us, came to visit, with his wife Claire, and son Ben, and daughter Lottie ( both in their teens now )
The last but two times that we met up was at their house in Kent, about 8 years ago.
It’s about 50 miles from Chiswick, and given that I always had to exercise every day without fail, it seemed logical that I would cycle there and Dani would drive, and we’d put my bike on the back of my car to go home.
As I didn’t know where Sevenoaks was, and geography was never my strong point, I taped the primitive first generation Sat Nav ( battery powered ) to my handlebars and set off an hour before Dani and our two very little girls, reckoning I’d get there about the same time as they did.
These days with Sat Nav’s you can put in whether you’re in a car, on foot or pedalling a bike and it’ll route you appropriately. My Sat Nav didn’t have that function.
I was on the M25 for about 4 minutes before I realised my blind faith in the Sony Sat Nav was misplaced.
I weighed up whether cycling like f*** until I got to the next junction was preferable to turning around and pedalling the wrong way up the hard shoulder of the world’s busiest motorway on a Saturday.
As I pondered my choice I realised too late just how glass strewn the hard shoulder of a motorway is, and that in my slight panic I was not avoiding various bits of detritus.
A popping sound ensued and my front tyre went down rapidly.
I happened to hit very slow moving traffic at pretty much the same time, giving hundreds ( if not thousands ) of drivers the chance to watch a bloke mending his puncture on the embankment of the London Orbital – see, I’m not totally stupid, having the sense to not stay on the hard shoulder whilst I repaired my tyre.
Incredibly not a single driver hooted a horn or shouted well deserved abuse, nor did a police car come to take me away ( the motorway being ever so illegal to cycle on, with spy/traffic cameras no doubt trained on me continuously )
My inner tube replaced, I carried on my way, hitting crazy speeds of 35mph plus, the draft of 3/4 lanes of speeding traffic helping me along quite a lot. I can’t deny that that part was fun, and tried to make the best of the situation.
The next obstacle was where the M25 merged with some other motorway and I now had to cross lanes. That was a bit hairy.
I’m not sure how I ever lived to reach the age I did before breaking my back, as looking back I perhaps shouldn’t have. Maybe I simply used up all my lives?
I eventually got to Ed and Clair’s an hour later than planned, but having lost another life.
After I’d been there for a few minutes Ed got a phone call -just a social call from a mate that was stuck in a traffic jam on the M25 to tell Ed that he’d just seen the most unbelievable thing ….
… A bloke cycling along the M25.