Saturday, 18 February 2017

52 Cycling Voices - 5: Hannah Bussey

This week's Cycling Voice comes from Hannah Bussey, previously a civil servant in the South-east, and now a journalist and mother in the North-west. Hannah talks about dealing with the lifestyle change, and how being in the cycling community really is like being in a supportive family.

Hannah Bussey, aged 37

Lives: Stockport

From: Catford, London

Cycling journalist and mother

Hannah in North Yorkshire on the Specialized Ruby  (Photo credit: Andy Jones)
"I've been cycling since forever, but I have been riding seriously for about 17 years. I got into cycling when I started working in an office in Guildford at the same time as a guy called Tim Morley, the then National Cyclocross Champion. He was very handy on a mountain bike too, so as we got on well, he helped me build a mountain bike from old parts of his bike. 

Then Tim left the company to join British Cycling, before moving to Australia. We stayed in touch for a bit and he encouraged me to ride more. Eventually, I got into triathlons, racing for Farnham Tri Club, and even qualifying for the World Age Groups Championships along with Emma Pooley [Olympic road time trial silver medallist]! 

My now partner realised I was better at bike riding than swimming or running, so I decided to stay with just cycling. They were great times and I met lots of cycle racers in the various events I did - criterium races and road races around the country as part of the women's team series and national series, and I raced abroad too. 

I stopped road racing five or six years ago when I broke my pelvis in a bad crash in China, during the Tour of Chongming Island, and seemed to lose my edge after that. I did try and make a comeback on zero training at the Tour Series, but quickly realised a) you can't blag a criterium race and b) I wasn't hungry enough for a win to go out and train!

Then I found cross-country mountain bike racing, which I totally loved. It was local, which is always handy, and every race was like going to a festival. It was so different from road racing. The atmosphere was laid back, there was music on a sound system, a compere, there was a vibrant, trendy feel about the events.

My favourite bike ride is going to Majorca in early spring. We usually go there every year, but for the first time in 13 years we won't be going this year. 

Since having my daughter, Kodi I have tried to race again, but it requires too much time with training and admin so have decided to let it take the back seat while she's still little.

Nowadays, I ride mainly for my job as a technical writer for 'Cycling Weekly' magazine. I get to test anything bike-related, and then write about them. This includes different bikes, so at the moment I am testing a Specialized Ruby. I also meet up with cycling clubs for a ride, and check out the routes for cyclosportives. It sounds like I do loads of riding, but I have to squeeze this all into one day a week!

The cycle journalism is something I totally fell in to! I was previously working as a policy advisor in a Government department, and this involved writing policy documents and speeches for ministers.

I got to know a few of the guys from 'Cycling Weekly' through racing. My mate James Millard, a recently retired professional cyclist who I knew through racing and training camps, invited me to join him on a photo shoot. This coincided with our whole office at the Government department being made redundant, so I said yes to more photo shoots and started doing a bit of writing for the magazine, then eventually I was offered a full-time job at 'Cycling Weekly'.

The transition was bloody hard though. It was a totally alien environment that tested me so much, and it still does! Basically, I went from rules, regulations, policy and procedures of government, to journalism - which was the total opposite! 

I've also got dyslexia, which means it takes me longer than most to write things. I have no idea how sub-editors do their job! They are like gods to me! I must say it was my days of suffering in tough cycle races in the gutter in Belgium that made me persevere with it!

In fact, although it doesn't seem like there is any connection between my work in the Civil Service and what I do at the magazine, the common thing is that both roles involve translating complex information into bite-size, easy-to-understand articles for the lay person. 

In those days I lived in the South of England, near Aldershot. Now I am based in Hazel Grove, near Stockport. The South-East and North-west are mega different!
I totally loved riding down South, but coming up here has made me fall in love with road cycling all over again. The hills and vistas are huge up here. It's more like cycling used to be, with proper club runs and mud guards etc.

Although I've got the best mountain biking on my doorstep, I do find it restrictive as I just don't know where to ride off-road and don't have anyone to ride with. Where I used to live, in Hampshire, there were trails from my back door for miles. I've lost confidence since having Kodi, and up here it seems to be a case of go big or do nothing! I need to find my off-road mojo again!

Kodi will be three in May, and has just started riding an Islabikes balance bike. She's going great guns, though we’re just letting her dictate the pace right now. We're really trying hard not to pressure her into bikes, but as cycling is such a big part of our lives, we hope she'll gravitate towards it! 

I've also just started cycling with Kodi in a trailer. I've always been apprehensive about being on the road with her, so we stay on traffic-free routes. Kodi's a spirited child, so has only just decided that she likes sitting down occasionally. I would never have got her into the trailer as a baby as she hated being put down - until she learned to walk! 

Kodi in her trailer
I didn't cycle much during my first four months of pregnancy as I'm prone to injury and didn't want to get into changing positions. Instead, stuck to running and doing a work-out until Kodi was born. A few months off the bike after over a decade of cycling wasn't a big deal for me.

Juggling cycling and motherhood is not easy at the moment. I'm an attachment parent, so don't like to leave Kodi for long. Not having childcare and working two days a week is a constant juggle. Some weeks I do six hours of cycling, but there are other weeks when I don't ride at all.  It's a far cry from when I was training 15 hours week. 

Motherhood has made me become acutely aware of my responsibility now, so I'm not willing to take risks. I get scared on the road occasionally, so stick to quiet lanes. 

Despite not riding much, cycling is still the backbone of our lives. It's how I met my partner so we’ll always have riding in our lives. I love cycling because of the freedom and head space it brings. It can give you space to think or space to forget. 

Cycling really is everything to me. I have a handful of friends I met when having Kodi, who don't ride. Also my best friend is a school friend who doesn't ride either. After them, I would consider my cycling friends as family. You go through so much together and even if you no longer race together now, you're still in contact, and grow old together. 

The cycling scene is so close that you really feel each other's joy and sadness. When Charlie Craig [2016 Under-16 cyclocross national trophy winner and son of Nick Craig, multiple national mountain bike and cyclocross champion] suddenly died recently we were more than heartbroken. It rocked the cycling community to the core. I can't describe the feeling of losing him. The whole Craig family have been a huge role model for us, even before we had Kodi. In fact, seeing their lifestyle of combining family with bikes was the catalyst for us to start our own family. Charlie will never be forgotten, he really is the golden thread that runs through us all. 

I suffered two miscarriages last year, the second one happening just before Christmas, and I struggled with starting to ride again. The Craig's words of celebrating life have really emotionally moved me to start riding again and be joyful for all the small things. I could go on and don't think I've really done it justice as to what cycling means, but without bike riding we wouldn't have that almost spiritual feeling for being."  

Twitter: @Hannah_Bussey       Instagram: hannah_bussey 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Dying for a bike ride in London??

Despite the different facilities that have been put in place in London for bike riders, the number of fatalities involving cyclists on the road is not decreasing significantly.

Anita Szucs died in a hit-and-run at Enfield
We are only two months into the year and already three cyclists have been killed on London's roads, with all these tragedies occurring in the space of four days, just over a week ago.

What really brought it home was when a colleague of mine told me that one of the victims was a colleague of her Hungarian partner. My colleague said that when her partner returned home from work last Monday week he was numbed and shocked at the news that he would never again see
his colleague and fellow compatriot, Anita Szucs. The 30-year-old newly-wed had been killed by a car in an apparent hit and run incident on 6th February in Edmonton as she cycled home after a completing a late shift.

Anita's death was shortly followed later that day by the death of a Brazilian architect, Karla Roman, aged 32, when she was hit by a coach on the Cycle Superhighway at Whitechapel.

Then in the same week Ben Wales, also aged 32 was crushed to death by a tipper truck at Silvertown, Woolwich on 9th February. It was reported that he was wearing a helmet and high visibility jacket at the time.

Karla Roman killed by a coach on the Cycle Superhighway at Whitechapel
The full details of these accidents are not yet known, but needless to say one death is too many, and with this many accidents it still begs questions about how safe cycling is being made for cyclists in London. It is even more concerning that one of the fatalities occurred on a supposedly segregated cycle lane. This is not a great advert for cycling in London.

Last Saturday a "die-in" and demonstration organised by the Stop Killing Cyclists campaign took place in Trafalgar Square. As well as remembering the three cyclists (and two pedestrians) that were killed last week, activists will demand that the Chancellor of the Exchequer increases its spending on cycling and pedestrian infrastructure  to 10% of the transport budget by 2020. The government's current plan is to spend around £500M on cycling and walking projects over the same period, which will represent less than 1% of the total UK transport budget.

Ben Wales crushed to death at Woolwich
While the new London mayor, Sadiq Khan has pledged to spend £770M on cycling initiatives in London over the next four years, Caspar Hughes, organiser of last Saturday's protest does feels there is still a lot more that can be done.

Hughes said, “The same problems have been repeated for years and although the mayor has increased spending it’s still nowhere near enough." 

British Cycling Policy Advisor (and Olympic Cycling gold medallist), Chris Boardman described the government's level of spending on cyclists of barely £1 per head as "shameful".

Provisional figures recently released by the Department for Transport have shown an increase in the number cycling accidents in Britain. The provisional figures for the number of people killed or seriously injured on bicycles increased by 2% for the period October 2015 to September 2016, compared with the same period the previous year. Furthermore, when the number of killed or seriously injured cyclists for the year to September 2016 was compared with the average figure between 2010 and 2014, this showed a 7% increase (though there was a drop of 4% when looking at all types of cycling accident).

Basically, the number of cycling fatalities and serious accidents in the UK does not seem to be falling. This may be reflected by the fact that more people are being inspired to get out on their bikes but yet the government has not made a proportional increase in investment in cycle safety measures for road users.

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling may well want to reconsider the invitation from Chris Boardman to accompany him on a bike ride, and see what it really is like to cycle on public roads in the UK. Perhaps that might (only might) make him think more about the safety of cyclists.

My thoughts are with the friends and families of the those killed while out riding their bikes.

Related post
Our dear anti-cycling Minister for Transport

Friday, 10 February 2017

52 Cycling Voices - 4: Carolyn Hewett-Maessen

This week's Cycling Voice comes from Carolyn Hewett-Maessen, who I got to know when she lived in London and was a keen triathlete. She's now living in Colorado (not jealous at all!). However, things haven't quite gone according to plan and she is currently on a determined road to rehabilitation following a nasty accident. I really look forward to seeing Carolyn doing the Maratona dles Dolomites this year.

Carolyn Hewett-Maessen, aged 39

Lives: Breckenridge, Colorado, USA

From: Parkes, New South Wales, Australia

Operations Director for BikePlusTours. Organises and leads bike trips to Europe and the USA 

"I started cycling 15 years ago, when I bought a bicycle from a friend at work who was selling his wife's bike.  I was living in London at the time and figured it would be a much better commute and start to the day than taking the tube.

I used to be a runner and spent seven years on Team Wiggle doing triathlon, but cycling is now my main activity. I do it to get from A to B, when touring with my husband, and of course to keep in shape.

Usually I ride three or four times a week, more if I'm preparing to lead a group trip, in which case I focus on climbing. All of our trips involve climbing! 
At the moment I am getting back into cycling after a serious accident so I just do 10-15 minutes at a time, depending on how I'm feeling that day. 

My accident happened last summer and I have been in rehabilitation since. Unfortunately, I was stepped on by a 2000lb (907kg) horse which broke my hip, my femur and damaged my anterior cruciate ligament. 

I had grown up with horses, so got a part-time job at Breckenbridge Stables. One day last August, while I was in a pen with around 20 horses something in the trees spooked them and they stampeded. I had to have emergency surgery that day and was in intensive care for a week. Now I have a titanium rod in my femur, a screw through my hip, and another one through my knee. I feel fortunate that my leg was my only serious injury, as it could have been a lot worse.

It was also helpful that the hospital I went to performs at least one emergency surgery on legs alone each night from skiing and snowboarding accidents, so they knew what they are doing!  

Rehabilitation has been really tough and frustrating.  You go from being fit and able, to not being capable of showering or going to the loo alone, and being in constant pain. 

Although I am getting better there is still a long list of things I can't do, but a friend gave me some good advice saying I needed to approach recovery like aid stations in a race. Just focus on getting to the next one, which is what I now do. From walking frame and wheel chair, to crutches, to a single crutch, to a walking cane, to only having to use the cane outside. 

I'm pleased to say that this is day five of not using my cane at all, but I am currently in Florida, so the risk of slipping and falling on ice is non-existent! We will see how it goes when I am back home in Breckenbridge at 3000m altitude in the snow! 

The various doctors, surgeons and physio's I work with estimate I could be back at full speed by August. I am lucky to have physiotherapists working with me that understand I'm an athlete who is committed to getting back to 100% and is doing the exercises they show me, so they have put me on an 'advanced' program to get me ready to ride the Maratona dles Dolomites cyclosportive in July.

My biggest problem right now is getting my femur to rotate in its hip socket. It's pretty jammed up and doesn't want to move, so I'm on a twice weekly programme where it is stretched, massaged and moved, on top of my daily exercises, to try and get that mobility back. I also do a lot of balance exercises as the nerves in my left leg, which was my injured leg, are all very slow to fire after such a horrific accident

From October last year I was using a recumbent stationary bike for 10-15 minutes at a time. Then I kicked off the new year by using my Verenti road bike on the turbo trainer. I was able to ride for 15-16 minutes with no resistance before I started getting pain, but after playing around with my saddle position I have now twice been able to cycle for 35 minutes. Another aid station to celebrate!

I still get frustrated sometimes. I would normally teach skiing part-time in the winter in Breckenridge, with around 100 days spent on the slopes. But this year I'm not allowed to ski at all. So now when my husband heads out to ski I head to the gym and swim, then do my physiotherapy exercises. 

But I remind myself of how hard it was in the early days. I keep a detailed log of what exercises I'm doing, how I feel and what improvements have been made. I'm very goal driven and competitive so it gives me a boost looking back when my exercise was literally bending my leg a few times, and I was living on a diet of pain killers. I have learnt to celebrate the small victories, which helps keep me positive. 

I love the social aspect of cycling, and have made so many great friends this way, and met some interesting people. I once got to ride with the 1960 cycling champion of Tuscany (Italy) just because he came across me cycling in his area. I really enjoy being able to take our guests on our trips to areas they wouldn't know existed, and experience with them these quiet back roads in the Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites, or the Rocky Mountains - roads that they wouldn't otherwise get to ride. 

As an Australian who has lived in London, Nice, and now Colorado, as well as doing cycling trips all around the world I have seen so many different landscapes. In my opinion, when it comes to road riding, nothing beats Nice. There are hundreds of beautiful tiny roads and the mountains start right there at the city. There is a reason why so many pros live around there! 

I got tired of the London traffic so I used to take the train out to Princes Risborough or Hitchin to ride from there. I love that cycling has exploded in London, but I found I had to ride earlier and earlier in Regents Park to escape the packs riding there. It stopped feeling safe and I hated that groups would ride three, four or five abreast, holding up traffic!

Colorado has invested a lot of money into its cycle path infrastructure, with another $11 million earmarked for this year. There are fewer roads but everyone cycles here so you rarely hear of road rage against cyclists like you do in other parts of the United States. 

We have added a Colorado tour to our portfolio of trips which takes into account the high altitude, so we slowly acclimatise people, with the queen stage of the trip being Mount Evans, North America's highest paved road. At 4307m it's breathtaking - literally! 

I've had so many great cycling experiences. Riding across Tibet was pretty special, and my solo trip around Italy really hooked me on touring. Three weeks in Tasmania touring from vineyard to vineyard combined my two biggest passions! Last year my husband and I did three weeks cycling across the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. My husband is Dutch so we went from friends and family catching up with everyone which was lovely. This year we have Arizona, Colorado, two trips in Italy, one in the Alps and one in the Dolomites scheduled. 

Not long after I got my first bike I set off on a three month journey cycling around Italy. I love to plan, but there is something so liberating about not knowing where I will be spending the night - car park, soccer field, back yard of a friendly local, abandoned house, a boat - these were some of the places where I bedded down when I couldn't get a camp site. These days our bike tours tend to be at a higher budget so we stay in hotels!

The company that my husband and I own and operate, BikePlusTours was selected to be an official partner of the Maratona dles Dolomites so we have put together a 10-day tour in the region with the race being the grand finale. Riding this will be a target for me. I doubt if I will be able to handle long climbs, particularly as I've never been one to spend much time out of the saddle, so perhaps I will adapt my riding style to give my hip a break (no pun intended!) 

My first road ride will be next month as we have a trip organised to Arizona in April for some early season training. (It's our equivalent of Majorca for the Brits!) There, I will see how I go with the lumps and bumps in the road, and how my balance is.  

I never cycle without my phone. I have been lucky enough to cycle in Tibet, Loas, Australia, Nepal, France, Italy, Austria, Spain, Slovenia, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, New Zealand and the USA and there have been so many times I saw things I wanted to capture. I love to look back through pictures taken on the road to relive a trip, especially when I am currently only able to cycle in the gym! 

With my phone I find it helpful to play music out of my back pocket if I'm alone and on a tough climb.  (I don't use earphones on the bike.) Lady Gaga has helped me bag a few Strava Queen of the Mountains that way, including climbing up Monte Zoncolan!

At the moment cycling is a goal. If I'm cycling on the road for a decent amount of time it means I'm well on my way to being 100% again. 

Overall, cycling means freedom. There is something special about getting on your bike and exploring the country side, experiencing new cultures, meeting people you wouldn't normally come across. I love it." 

Twitter: @ironcaro

Other Cycling Voices
Caroline Martinez

Niusha Doyom

Maria David

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Kit review: Stand out in style at night with Monkeysee!

Night-time may be getting slightly shorter, but for many of us it is still dark at going-home time.

So getting yourself seen at night while on the bike is just as important as before.

Monkeysee sent me these jazzy high visibility harnesses to test out. Personally, I find these really useful because it means you can still wear whatever clothing you want - civvies, your favourite jersey or jacket - without having to think about how bright your clothing is. With these type of harnesses you can be seen at night, without sacrificing style.

The harnesses are easy to clip on and clip off, and come in different sizes from small to large. Just carry one in your bag, and clip it on as needed. I chose a zany orange harness with high vis reflective dots on, which I found really stood out in the dark. If orange isn't your bag there are various other colours and designs in the range.

Here are some rough and ready pics taken of me standing on the balcony where I work, but there are some better photos here on the Monkeysee website.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

52 Cycling Voices - No.3 Caroline Martinez

This week's cycling voice comes from a Frenchwoman based in Ireland, who has had the cycling bug for the last 11 years and shows no sign of stopping. She just needs a cat-sitter so she can go on that dream trip!

Caroline Martinez, aged 37

Lives: Slane, (Capital of Rock & Roll Ireland), County Meath, Ireland

From: Bordeaux, France

Financial fraud analyst

"I have been cycling for 11 years. Back in 2005 I had just got back to Ireland, after living in Canada for a few years where I had packed on a bit too much weight. 

At that time my scene was live music, guitars and late nights. So I bought a crap bike and started commuting to work to get me moving. 

A few months later I bought a road bike and joined women's introductory rides with Orwell Wheelers, in Dublin. They wanted to get more women cycling and racing in the old Boot Inn local league. Since then I have tried everything in cycling from BMX to Downhill, and my guitar is still sitting in its box. 

In fact I now have a good collection of bikes - a Specialized Amira road bike, Giant Lust mountain bike, Ridley X Fire cyclocross bike, and my trusted fixie, which is still my favourite. I have had it for 10 years and plastered it with millions of stickers. I use it to ride to work, train on it, and I have even taken it with me travelling a few times. Unfortunately I was hit by a car while on it, but luckily it survived. 

I have always done a bit of cycling, particularly since being raised in France, where you cannot escape from the love the country has for the sport. 

When we were kids me, my brother and the neighbours' kids used to wear the red polka dot plastic bags that "Champion" supermarket [sponsors of that jersey] would print during the Tour de France! Or we would cut the bits off the bags and stick them to our T-shirts when riding our bikes.  

Before I started cycling seriously 11 years ago, I thought cycling was a sport of gods. It was almost too good for a little 5 foot nothing (150cm) girl like me. There was no way I could ever do what I saw those super-humans do on TV during the Tour de France! 

Wheel building

I have met so many characters through cycling. It's been such an amazing ride (excuse the pun) I think cycle sport draws certain types of individuals that you would not meet anywhere else. It's like their (or my brain) must be wired differently from ordinary people's!

When I was between jobs, as a way of keeping busy, I got my local bike shop to teach me wheel building, which was quite an experience.

Cycling always manages to suit any mood I'm in. I'm happy: I ride; I'm fed up: I ride; I’m sad: I ride. It’s my alcohol. I can cycle on my own, or with others when I feel like mingling a bit.

My ideal cycle trip would be to ride from my home in Ireland to my home town in the Basque region of France, where my mum lives. I have always wanted to do this and have thought about doing so many times, but I have never had the courage to do it. My excuse is "Who will look after my cat?"

The great thing about cycling is that you can ride at any time of the year, including winter. 

Six years ago when I was doing a lot of road and track racing I purchased a cyclocross bike, for the simple reason that I really hated riding indoors in winter on a turbo trainer. The funny thing is that it eventually drew me away from road and track racing, and now I do road riding just for fun, and I do cyclocross and mountain biking competitively.   

I actually love riding on my own (with Mr Garmin if that counts as someone!), exploring the beautiful Irish countryside around Meath and Louth, my backyard, or further afield in Wicklow ("The garden of Ireland"). I am also happy to go cycling with my partner in crime, David, who got me into mountain biking, or with my buddies Emma and Laura. 

I never ride without my helmet. I have witnessed and have been involved in a few bad crashes on the track, on-road, and off-road, so I am a true believer in helmets. 

Over the last nine years I have been sharing my love for cycling with the world by working as a press officer for two years at the now defunct Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Tour of Ireland, and writing about road, track and cyclocross for the national press in Ireland. 

In 2015 I landed my dream job working for the UCI (the World governing body of cycling, covering the UCI Women's World Cup for their website that season. It felt very special, knowing that what I wrote was being read worldwide! 

Unfortunately, writing about bikes doesn't pay the bills and I had to start focusing on other work commitments. So for the past year, I have not done much writing. But I'm coming back to writing soon, and look forward to being involved in an new exciting project."

Twitter: @Caroline_ie

More Cycling voices

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

A bitter-sweet moment in cycling

Last weekend saw the world's best mudplugger racers converge in Biele, Luxembourg for the World Cyclocross Championships.

In the women's race Sanne Cant won after an epic battle with a now in-form and injury free Marianne Vos. The men's race went as per the bets, with Wout van Aert taking the top of the podium well clear of Mathieu van der Poel, who fell victim to mechanical problems in the challenging conditions.

As with other cycling disciplines Team GB has spent a long time having modest success in major competitions and more so with cyclocross, given that it is not an Olympic sport, so less funding from British Cycling is available.

However, young riders in team GB have begun to make their mark, with Evie Richards who became the under-23 world champion last year, and this year finished in third place.

L-R: Daniel Tullett, Tom Pidcock, Ben Turner (photo:
The real story of this year's World Championships was the men's junior championships in which the podium went to all Team GB riders - Gold to Tom Pidcock, Silver for Daniel Tullett, and Ben Turner rounding out the podium in Bronze position.

This was a wonderful result to see, and real indictment of the hard work and effort put in by the teenagers and their coaches.

Sadly, their achievements proved a bitter-sweet moement as they were still reeling after the death of their fellow training partner and promising cyclocrosser, Charlie Craig. Barely a week before the championships the 15-year old passed away suddenly in his sleep.

Charlie was a well-liked rider who was very talented in mountainbiking as well as cyclocross, and was an apprentice on the Great Britain Cycling Team's Rider Route. He won the cyclocross Under-16 National Trophy Series this season, and took silver at the Under-16 National Cyclocross Championships. The youngster from the Peak District was tipped to follow in the footsteps of older brother, Tom, and father Nick, who has been a huge force in mountainbiking and cyclocross for around 25 years.

Interviewing Nick Craig at 2014 Cyclocross Champs
I interviewed Nick a couple of years ago in Derby at the National Cyclo cross championships when he won the male veterans race. He then went on to compete outside of category the following day in the senior men's (under 40s) championships and came third from a large field that included many men half his age!
Despite his success, Nick was very humble about his achievements.

He did speak very proudly of his two boys who also competed in the National Championships and I could see the proud parent coming out, encouraging them to do their best in their cycle racing.

At the Macc Supacross, held during the Christmas break, I was quite impressed at how Nick, with his sons, rode the 16-mile journey from their home in Hayfield (High Peak), over to Macclesfield and compete (and get a podium place) at the event.

It was such a shock to hear about what has happened to Nick and his family. I feel so sorry, and can only imagine what they must be going through. It must be every parent's nightmare.

Seeing the three teenagers pull off such an achievement of a Team GB 1-2-3 on the global stage at the World Cyclocross Championships was so exciting, but at the same time very emotional. The young lads rode for Charlie, and they couldn't have given a better tribute to their dearly departed training buddy.

I hope that the Craig family are able to take a little comfort from this, though I realise right now they must be swimming in a sea of grief.

Here are the details of Charlie Craig's funeral, taken from Nick Craig's Instagram account

Charlie Craig - Rest in Peace 

Charlie's Funeral will be held on Monday 6th February 2017 at St Mathews Church, Hayfield, High Peak at 2PM. All welcome. Family Flowers only please and donations to be made to Jeremy Unsworth Funeral Services, we are looking at various charities related to sudden death in the young. Dress code casual and colourful, cycling tops and bobble hats welcome for children and big kids X oh cow bells too.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

52 Cycling Voices - No.2: Niusha Doyom

This week's cycling voice comes from a newcomer to cycling, Niusha who is a colleague of mine. She bikes in from Canary Wharf to Central London and is pretty excited about doing more cycling in the future. If you have other routes to suggest to Niusha, feel free to comment.
Niusha Doyom, aged 24
From: Tehran, Iran (lives in London)
User Experience (UX) Designer
Niusha on her way to work
"I've been cycling for three months. Cycling was a big fear in my life after I crashed when I was nine-years old. It happened when I was in Tehran and I was out riding my bike. Back then whenever guys saw a girl out on a bike they used to make fun of her, so my parents didn't like me cycling. 

I went out on my bike anyway, but a boy threw a ball at me. I lost my balance, fell flat on my face and broke my nose. So overcoming this fear and cycling every day now is a big accomplishment for me.

I got back into cycling when a colleague of mine, Justina, told me she had started commuting by bike. As I saw her as similar to me in fitness and lifestyle I thought that I could try it too. 

At first I was absolutely terrified when I was out on the road, and I freaked out whenever a car passed me, but I persevered. Although it was scary I loved the excitement of cycling on the roads and it gave me an adrenaline rush. It was great to see the gorgeous places in London on my ride from Canary Wharf into the West End. 

Riding my bike means getting away from my little world. It gives me a positive fighting attitude that I love. For me, cycling is more than just riding a bike, it’s my lifestyle.
I also realised that when I get on my bike I seem to forget all my work and home-life stresses. It helps me to completely switch off – I love it! In addition, as my working life doesn’t leave me with much spare time for exercise, commuting by bike keeps me fit.
I started cycling in Fall (autumn) and have done so ever since. The weather doesn't matter much to me as I enjoy my ride come rain or shine, but I'm very much looking forward to experiencing rides in the summer.
I ride a B'Twin Elops 900 City bike. This was the bike that was recommended to me when I was looking for something to commute with. It's nice and sturdy, if a little heavy, but it's my bike and the first bike I've owned, so that's why I like it.

Last week I crashed and hurt my leg while going around a corner. I wasn't fully paying attention and was getting into the music on my headphones. In future I will be more cautious, though at the moment I just want to get back on the horse. In a funny way I feel like I am officially a cyclist now that I have had a crash! 

When riding I never go out without a water bottle. I always need to drink when cycling as I can work up a sweat during the 50 to 60-minute bike ride. Also I have been challenging myself to ride faster during my commutes, so it's impossible for me to jump on my bike without half a litre of water!

My ideal bike ride is going through Richmond Park. I love cycling there. It's absolutely gorgeous and it makes me feel like I’m cycling in a movie scene! I would love to cycle with my partner but he doesn’t have a bike and our timings usually don’t match so 99% of the time I cycle on my own. 

As I’m a newbie to the cycling world I have yet to find more fascinating cycle routes, but I look forward to exploring new places on two wheels." 

Instagram :nooshyboowoowho  Twitter:@NiushaDoyom

More Cycling Voices
Maria David