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From behind!

"Riding a mountain bike is easy, just keep pedalling and you’ll get up anything". Someone once told me this little adage. I was naïve enough to believe him. Riding a mountain bike is not easy (well, not for me) but armed with enthusiasm and a bum-bag stuffed with plasters, bandages and paracetomol, I headed off.

I found in the early days that I was not particularly good at cycling. Its all down to dedication, fitness and a desire to get up hills. Sadly, I was lacking these qualities. I had dedication for a short while, I was even quite fit, but it was the desire to get up hills that I was missing. To me its simple - if I want to get up a hill off road, I’ll get a four wheel drive vehicle or some very helpful individual to push me.

Over time, I realised that the people who frequented the mountain biking sport were of two kinds - either lithe and sporty or insane. I certainly can’t be classed as the lithe and sporty type (not with this figure) and I am certainly not insane (not yet). From this point, I decided that my future in mountain biking was to stay at the back (didn’t have much choice really). I had quite a degree of success in this. Up hills I was spurred on with the thought that I didn’t want to be at the back, but downhills were a different matter.

Comments were made like “How do you go so slowly?” It was obvious to me that I had what all other mountain bikers didn’t - a sense of self preservation. To me its simple; I don’t have any gouges out of my skin, I am not constantly covered in bruises or scratches, I don’t have any broken bones and I’ve never had the misfortune to lose my memory.

Having decided it would be better not to give up cycling, I decided to stay at the back. For a start, there’s no-one behind me to criticise my rather individual style of cycling and there are other reasons for staying at the back. The best reason for staying there is the view (and I’m not referring to men’s rears encased in lycra - although I’m not complaining). I get to see all of the accidents and major offs where you and your bike go rolling through hedges and through the countryside. The other accidents I get to see are the best though. The sneaky mishaps that happen and you pray that no-one saw you. The ones where you just can’t seem to get your feet out of your SPD’s. Those are the best to watch. Its the way the rider checks round to see if no-one is looking. Those are the ones I remember and its thanks to those that I stay at the back. So don’t criticise me - my enjoyment of cycling depends on me staying there!

Karen Cook


If you have an amusing story, be it a wipeout, a holiday, or a ride write-up, please contact fun@extremists.co.uk

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