Can You Keep A Secret?

I really need you to keep a secret for me…
…something just between you and me?

First some background.

I have a brother (lets call him 'bruv'), and for as long as I can remember he has been fatter and less fit than me. It's always been a point of pride that I could beat him in any contest of endurance, that and his lilly-white, worm flesh stomach was more hideous than anything that I could come up with. He attained this perfection of slobbishness by eating tonnes of junk food, and doing no exercise at all.

However this has all changed – not only has he stopped eating junk food, but he has bought an exercise bike and has gone from his former couch potato into a much fitter, slimmer person. So much so the other (only female so far) teachers at his school have been making excuses to cuddle him. He is drinking lots of fruit 'smoothies' and has generally turned his health around.

We occasionally have 'differences of opinion', and as we are both very wilful these will occasionally simmer on and on. So we have come to an understanding that whoever, out of the two of us, dies first, that brother will have 'lost'. Also I want to get my hands on his Will. He has a lot of money.

Since I have become more and more unfit as the years have rolled on, I need to change something. I doubt I'll be able to give up the junk food, and I know that working rotating shifts can increase your chances of getting cancer. I also don't have enough room in my flat, nor the motivation to use, an exercise bike.

So (and this is the big secret) – I've bought myself a road bike.

Why is this a secret I hear you ask, (or rather – 'when is he getting back to the exciting ambulance stuff?'), well my mother mustn't know.

I know that the The British Medical Association has estimated that the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks by twenty to one, but my mum won't listen to reason. My chances of colo-rectal cancer will drop by about 40%, while the risk of heart disease will drop by 50%. It doesn't matter to her, all she can see is me laying splattered under a lorry.

I've never seen anyone killed while on a bike – I know that there were 136 deaths of cyclists in 2001, while 712 pedestrians died and 1749 car drivers/passengers died in the same period. For cyclists that is one death every 29 million kilometres travelled. I've only ever seen minor injuries from cyclists – the low speed of traffic in London helps, and there are more and more cycling paths than ever before. For more of the logic behind my decision go here and here.

But logic doesn't count for Mum, she thinks the moment I set foot to pedal I'll be mown down by a truck driver.

She doesn't read this blog (shes scared of the internet), so if you see her, don't tell her.

And yes Bruv, this means you too.

(Back to work tomorrow for more ambulance goodness)

16 thoughts on “Can You Keep A Secret?”

  1. Oh I understand that, it's just that some of her fears are just a bit illogical. For instance she hated the idea of me joining the ambulance service because she thought (amongst other things) that I'd be more likely to be assaulted. In fact I've had less people try to hit me while I'm out on the road (there are more places to run away too than in a hospital.)She has however gotten over those thoughts, and I know she is going to find out about this bike, so she'll have to get over that as well.

  2. Yeah, I'm possibly a bit better at 'defensive driving' than most people if only because of the cloak of invisibility that surrounds my big yellow taxi.As for swimming – not only is it increasingly expensive, but it takes up too much of my free time and I'd be unable to swim regularly due to my shift system.

    Otherwise swimming would be excellent exercise, it's probably the only reason I've not had a heart attack yet…

  3. I suspect I'd die long before I'd racked up 29 million km ;-)Have only had one accident whilst commuting by bike for the past four years, and that was my mistake when navigating through traffic crawling along at ~5mph (although I've also fallen off twice on my way home from the pub, and about a third of the times I've been out mountainbiking, but there was no traffic anywhere near in those cases πŸ™‚ I agree that the benefits far outweigh the possible problems.

  4. Mums always worry about their children, however old or grown up they are. That's part of their job! I've enjoyed reading your blog. Hope you don't mind if I link to you.

  5. Bikes are the only way to go in London as long as you keep an eye out for car drivers who seem to drive in a virtual neck brace that prevents them from looking out for other road users – then again you are probably used to that and lets face it, if they don't see a big yellow van with a flashing light on top they are going to miss a cyclist.How about swimming ? Is it incompatible with shift work or does doing it seriously as a kid take out all the fun in it ?

  6. I think most of adult fears are just a bit illogical, Reynolds. I have fear of flying and claustrophobia and many more that I don't want to remember now, but every working day I drive to my small office in the floor 15 and shut myself up in the lift… Ironic, huh?Only after having my daughter I truly understood my parent's fears πŸ˜‰



  7. I think most of adult fears are just a bit illogical, Reynolds. I have fear of flying and claustrophobia and many more that I don't want to remember now, but every working day I drive to my small office in the floor 15 and shut myself up in the lift… Ironic, huh?Only after having my daughter I truly understood my parent's fears πŸ˜‰



  8. I've cycled for 7 years to go to work, I've still to clock 28 984 500 kms before fate gets me πŸ™‚

    As long as you're cautious, and the car drivers in your city have a faint notion that people *can* sometimes appear on bikes around them, you're allright. (I know middle-sized cities in France where word of this fact hasn't got yet, and they're bloody dangerous)

    I've noticed something though : I always try to remember that pedestrians navigate in the city by ear alone. A bike is silent, hence invisible to them, they tend to cross in front of you.

    My boyfriend and my brother also cycle to work, and the only injury we've had in the family was due to avoiding a pedestrian.

    Thanks for your blog, it's excellend reading. I've wanted these bike/pedestrian/cars accident figures for a long time…

  9. Worrying is a mum thing.My brother bought a moped to get to and fro from work so his wife could have the car to ferry the kids about. Recently, our mum passed him while she was driving back down the A127. She later rang him to give him hell about driving the bike on a main road! He is 41.

  10. Glad to have been of help – I tend to remember some statistic and then Google for the facts/links to back it up.Good tip on avoiding pedestrians, but around here they must be deaf because they still walk out in front of me when my sirens are wailing…

  11. Here in LA, you ride on the side walks, inspite of the bike lanes, never stop for RED lights , use pedestian crossings, so one does not stop moving, they do enjoy wearing skin tight clothing so that the drivers do think of these pesky sicklists as mad hatters, but they also do wear martian head gear with cell phone attached so a 911 call is no problem, but no lights. You being a rescurer of fallen angels, would pick up those that ran in to the catcher of the day, a suv door. They also scare the living day lights out the olde doderers with their walkers, like me as ye swish by. Other wise nowt to worry about. Don't tell ye mum now. They do live charmed lives.

  12. Very, very true -and it's not just in LA, there are few things that annoy me more than bikers ignoring red lights, or those racing down the pavements.

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