Date: Monday 20th April, 2015
Distance: 4.7km | Elevation: 16m
Destinations: Regent St.
Start kms: 2,400.3km | Finish kms: 2,405.0km | % complete: 24.1%
With a long weekend in Helsinki waiting for me in the second half of the week, I was looking to get ahead of myself by getting in some considerable Monday miles.
I shouldn’t have bothered.
As Gorrod and I moved slowly towards Regents Park, winding our way through the rush hour traffic along Tottenham Court Road and onto Regent Street, the cars, lorries and motorbikes parted momentarily to create a clear run up towards Portland Place.
Out of the saddle, I started to accelerate towards the park, with Gorrod sticking closely to my back wheel. As we climbed past 30kph, my eyes strayed from the road directly in front of me and concentrated on the traffic sitting further on.
I therefore did not see the enormous pothole that brought my bike to an abrupt and aggressive stop. As I flew over the front of my handlebars and slid along the smooth tarmac of Regent Street, I had no idea what had put me there.
Lying on the ground, trying desperately to catch my breath whilst Gorrod flew over the top of me, his bike having sailed directly into my hip, I was still none-the-wiser.
It wasn’t until we‘d dragged ourselves (and our bikes) to the side of the road that we were bewilderedly able to identify the cause and culprit of the two-man pile-up.
Assuring concerned bystanders that we were okay, we patted ourselves down and dusted ourselves off before assessing the inevitable damage.
First, the people. Gorrod was able to escape with a few extra grazes to add to his growing collection. My elbow was bleeding from a deep graze and was starting to swell, but it was manageable.
Next, the bikes. Gorrod’s was fine (thankfully, as I felt like this crash was my fault). Mine had seen better days. The brakes had bent on impact and the front wheel may well have been slightly buckled from the force at which it had hit the pothole. The slide along the road had also wrong through my bar tape and scratched the actual handlebars underneath as well.
If there was a silver-lining to be found in this shambles, it was that we’d managed to crash directly outside a Boots chemist (where I was able to buy antiseptic wipes for our wounds) and a 2-minute walk from an Evans Cycles where I left my bike for a once over before heading home on the tube.
No matter the reason, there’s something that feels fundamentally wrong with catching public transport whilst dressed in full lycra, cleats and a helmet. That uneasiness is infinitely enhanced when you do so whilst nursing a wound.
Still, another 4km in the bank.