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Green Living

Cyclo-therapy: 'Gallingly, my colleague not only had a decent crash story to tell, but also no lasting damage'

Much as we cyclists evangelise the sport, often irritating non-believers with our holier-than-thou smugness, there is one inescapable truth which all pedal-ers must face up to: the chances are you're going to fall off.

It is the biggest reason (ahead of, say, indolence and an aversion to sweat) why not everyone is dashing to the bike shop or digging out their hibernating bicycles for the summer time.

My first tumble finally came on the way to work the other week. As I rose out of my saddle to build speed after stopping for some lights, my cleated left shoe unclipped out of the pedal. Foot hit asphalt and front wheel flipped, causing the fixed back wheel to rear up and catapult me over the bars.

X-rays revealed a "shoulder separation" and doctors consigned me to public transport, in a sling, for SIX WEEKS.

To add insult to injury, mine was a lame crash story. Not so my colleague, Jamie. He got taken out by a car a month later and ended up burying his head in the man's windscreen.

Gallingly, he not only had a decent tale to tell (and the blue-light treatment; I had to be rescued by my mum) but also a wad of insurance cash and no lasting damage. Not fair.

An old school friend was yet another cyclist I know to have come a cropper in recent weeks. Then I hear that the writer Toby Young has been demonstrating to readers of his blog how to lose blood and terrify people.

The bald author landed on his helmet-less bonce after being hit by a car. "I looked as if an alien had burst out of my forehead," he wrote alongside a link to a gory photo.

Bad luck all round but (and I hope you've stuck with me this far) fear not, says CTC. The national cycling organisation's recent "Safety in Numbers" report, presented to Parliament by CTC president and snazzily besocked news anchorman Jon Snow, records a 91 per cent increase in cycling in London since 2000 and a 33 per cent decline in casualties.

It's a similar story elsewhere, the theory being that more cyclists means that drivers – increasing numbers of whom also ride – are more aware of their two-wheeled colleagues. Jamie, Toby and I are back on our bikes now, hoping that they're right.

s.usborne@independent.co.uk or see independent.co.uk/cyclotherapy