Letter: Beating the bonk

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Ani Harris (letter, 18 August) need look no further for "the bonk", than Wonder Wheels, the 1956 autobiography of that great racing record holder Eileen Sheridan.

"Lack of food, and physical misery it can cause, are known to cyclists by a number of funny names - the sags, the bonk, a packet, the knock, and so on - but the funny names cannot disguise the fact that the condition to which they refer is one of helpless, humiliating, incompetence. Legs seem to turn to strings, and the most cheerful temperament is overwhelmed in pessimism and despair."

My grown-up young family still gasp with disbelief when their father casually asks if any one has seen his "bonk bag" before he sets out on a long cycle ride.