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Lausanne & Vevey: Five feet and ten seconds

Posted by daveb on September 21st, 2007

One year, when I was a kid, I had a bike for Christmas. I fell off it and have not gotten back on any bike since. Truth is, I’ve ‘happily’ driven a car at 130mph and ‘happily’ fallen out of an aeroplane approaching 120mph, but a bike at just 10mph was way too scary a thought for me.

Mark Phillips, a cycle-mad ex-Canary Wharf work mate, loaned me a copy of Lance Armstong’s “It’s not about the bike” autobiography 14 months ago and it planted the seed of desire for me to ride again. It’s taken me this long to mentally prepare for it! The perfect (re)learning environment would have been the now-sleepy resorts around Lac du Der in France, but alas not only was there nobody around to watch me fall, but no hire shops to loan me a bike either. Instead, I unintentionally waited until I got to the busy, hilly, university city of Lausanne before my buttocks graced the vinyl arrow once again.

Yesterday I re-learnt how to ride that bicycle that I fell off all those years ago. The setting was not ideal — the bike hire place was in the the main square of the city; Leicester Square, relatively speaking. Not a good place to learn. I begged Squiffy to push her bike on the pavement to the nearest park with me, so that I wouldn’t look like an ass on my own and she begrudgingly complied. As we neared the sloping park, we discovered a quietish piece of flat tarmac for me to have a go. And so I did.

I can’t tell you how emotional the first breakthrough five feet on that bike were. To put it into your context, take one of your top limiting beliefs and age it twenty-three years or so (if indeed it’s not already). Now disprove it within five feet and ten seconds.

Five feet and ten seconds.

Today SQ & I took the funicular railway from Vevey to Mt. Pélerin, over 1000 metres steeply upwards. Then, we rode our bikes back down to the hire-shop, all the way at the bottom of the mountain. Whilst there wasn’t too much pedalling involved–it was all VERY downhill–and I took the wobbly zig-zag route rather than the direct straight line, today I nonetheless conquered steep descents, busy fast car roads and congested city roads. On a bike.

Five feet and ten seconds to heal twenty-three years of doubt. I highly recommend it.


Comment from Mark
Time: September 21, 2007, 8:23 pm

Dude, well done! Fantastic news you’ve got back on the bike! I’m well chuffed for you :-)

Comment from Sista
Time: September 27, 2007, 1:46 pm

Well done Wavey, I remember that biking ‘incident’ too, assuming it was the one where you flew oover the handlebars headfirst on to the pavement outside our house in Melbourne Way. Mind you, I still chuckle when I think about it. And don’t get me started on your sledge accident on Ridgeway…:-)

Just thought I’d drop you a line to say that you must have travelled through Paudex between Lausanne and Vevey – this is where I spent all that time when I was practically ‘commuting’ between London and Switzerland in my Nestle years. Beautiful scenery isn’t it. I had a nice view outside my office window onto Lake Geneva and the mountains beyond.

All well in the Middle East still. Happily we are emerging from our summer cocoons back into the air – the temperature has dropped to 40 degrees and it is GLORIOUS! Another 9 months to go before it edges back up to 50, ya-di-ya-ya.

I send all my love,

Comment from daveb
Time: September 28, 2007, 3:37 pm

Thanks for your support Sista. I’m drafting a blog entry about how I got over my tobogganing incident from the top of the Swiss alps.

(I’m also drafting an entry about the mental trauma caused by big sisters who laugh at your failures.)

Just kidding… ;-)

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