i Editor's Letter: In awe of cyclists


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The Independent Online


I never had a bicycle growing up. In fact I pretty much never rode one until as an adult I was forced to in, of all places, Udaipur, India. The terror of that first ride through teeming streets on a rickety hire bike with handlebars pointing at the lake and wheels heading for the nearest cow can still elicit a sweat.

I'm ashamed to admit I've never been comfortable in the saddle - although I learnt not all bikes steer like shopping trolleys. Once a year, emotional blackmail might see me wobble around Ravenscourt Park, largely in the hope of meeting Miranda Hart. The Thames path from Hammersmith to Putney Bridge is my personal "Tour".

So, I've always been in awe of cyclists - not just Merckx, Indurain and Armstrong, but any who brave the streets of London twice a day. Marble Arch, the Wellington memorial, Hammersmith roundabout - you must be joking! On a serious note, working in an environment of 100+ people you cannot be immune to the type of horror cycling accident that befell i's own James Moore, still recovering so many months later.

I am jealous of the bug that urges our MD here to cycle from London to Brussels for charity (and fun?). I did read Lance Armstrong's book in one long night, gripped by this bloody-minded, tricky character. I hope naively that he is not a doper, and I really, really want the hugely talented Bradley Wiggins, currently in the yellow jersey position, to continue to pound the tarmac and become the first Briton to win the Tour de France, that toughest of sporting challenges.

At i, we are gripped by the race. Bradley is unusually likeable too, but enough of British heroic sporting failures. Just crush 'em, man!