Monthly Archives: March 2014

Unexpected excitement (& boredom)

On Monday some research was announced linking Anger to Heart Attacks.  Given I wrote about a similar topic not so long ago (Anger Management), it was interesting to see some real research supporting my ramblings.

Don’t make me angry!

The story became a bit of a regular feature on BBC Radio throughout the day.  I wasn’t following closely, but suspect it was a bit of light relief from ongoing developments in Ukraine and the Pistorius trial.

Out of the blue, I was contacted by a lady called Liz, a Researcher from the PM Programme on BBC Radio 4: “Would I be interested in being interviewed as a case study?”.

After I’d convinced myself (1) it wasn’t a complete wind-up and (2) I wouldn’t have to provide any Bank Account Details, I responded… Yes, I was interested in participating but unfortunately I was travelling, so finding a convenient time to talk might be difficult.

To be honest, I was also slightly concerned about a live interview.  The last thing I wanted to do was feature as a case study on a “People who have Heart Attacks live on the Radio” feature in months to come!

So, I found myself talking to Eddie Mair about my Heart Attack and my feelings of Anger that preceded the event.  About an hour later I appeared on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.  All quite surreal!

Eddie Mair

You can hear the interview here:
(I’m on at approx. 41 minutes into the programme)

Prepared as ever, I had notified close family members that I might be on Radio 4 at 6 pm.  Unfortunately I was travelling at the time and got my time zones confused.  Amusingly this resulted in Daughter #2 listening to Radio 4 News for 30 rather tedious minutes.  She had a bit of a sense of humour failure at my mistake but, learning from her father, she took a deep breath and didn’t let it get her angry.  She is however much better informed on current affairs than ever before!

A brief mention of the Blog following the interview resulted in unprecedented “hits” for the following few hours.  It also resulted in many more Comments and Contacts than I’ve ever experienced before.  It was all very exciting!

Incidentally, a big thanks to everyone that has taken the time to get in touch!

It was a real, practical demonstration of the power of the media for me.  The exposure resulted in a daily traffic level over 5 times higher than I’ve had before.  It’s a level which is going to be tough to get close to again.  Tough, but I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve!

The Foul Mouthed Cyclist

Yesterday’s beautiful weather meant the countryside was a hive of activity.  As I headed home at the end of my ride I passed many cyclists going in the opposite direction.  Each time we passed, we repeated one of the accepted rituals of acknowledgement:  a nod, a subtle wave, the occasional word of greeting.

That was until I passed Mr X:

Me:  (Nodding head)  “Morning!”
Mr X:   (Waving fist in aggressive manner)  “You @#~%er!”
… and then he was gone.

It’s perhaps an understatement when I say our brief exchange took me by surprise.

Mr X

I understand that there’s tension between Car Drivers and Cyclists.  I am also led to believe that from time to time there’s no love lost between Mountain Bikers and Road Cyclists, however I was always under the impression that Road Cyclists were civil to each other… until now.

As I cycled on, I considered the potential reasons why Mr X might have behaved in this way.  To be honest, I couldn’t think of a huge number:

  1. I was flying at the time we passed each other.  I was on a long descent, averaging between 25-30 miles per hour.  I was on the final stretch of my ride and feeling pretty good about life.  Mr X, on the other hand, was at the start of a long, slow, tiring ascent.  Perhaps he was having a bad day and just couldn’t contain his frustration.   I have a small amount of sympathy if this was the case.
  2. Perhaps he had Tourette’s Syndrome and I was on the receiving end of a verbal tic.  The situation was completely irrelevant to his response.  If this was the case, I would not poke fun.  However I would encourage other cyclists to be ready for this eventuality so it doesn’t take them too much by surprise.
  3. The third option, of course, is that Mr X is an expert in body language and had watched me carefully as the distance closed between us.  Having performed a thorough assessment, he had a couple of seconds to deliver his considered opinion.  Perhaps he got it spot on!

Whatever the case, I would encourage you to be nice to each other, and if you can’t be nice, be honest!

A day of many firsts

1st March 2014.  The 1st day of Spring.

I beat the sun up (not physically!).  Not quite the crack of dawn, but early enough for a good morning ride.  Excited!

The clear, crisp morning promised an enjoyable outing on my bike.  The lack of wind was almost more than I could have hoped for!

I managed my longest ride to date; just under 40 miles.  I did more climbing than ever before, I even tackled what I would describe as a “proper” hill.  I also spent over 2.5 hours in the saddle for the first time.

The new route featured some beautiful countryside.  Spring was definitely in the air.  Scotland’s a fantastic place to be on days like today!

Today’s ride through the Aberdeenshire Countryside

Overall, I feel much better about the challenges I have in store for the Summer after today’s outing.  I even enjoyed the climbs.  I feel like I’m getting stronger all the time.  At no point did I feel like I was struggling or over-exerting myself.  Being able to get outside regularly should continue to make a huge difference.

There was one first from today that I don’t want to make a habit of though…

I was about 35km into my ride, in a world of my own, keeping up a nice cadence, not pushing too hard, when out of the blue, another cyclist appeared… from behind!  He just appeared.  No advance notice.  He was just there, and then he started to disappear down the road in front of me.  How rude!

He passed me with a friendly “Morning!”.  Once I had composed myself (I really was in a world of my own), I responded with a polite “Morning!” and followed up with “Of course, I would join you, but I recently had a Heart Attack.”  I may have spoken a little too quietly to bridge the (fast expanding) distance between us.  He continued on his merry way.  Humiliating.

To be honest, I was tempted to try and stick with him for a couple of seconds, but I managed to swallow my pride and let him go.  I suspect as I spend more time out and about it’s something I’m going to have to get used to, but don’t ever expect me to be happy about it!

OK, so there may be a few people that it’s acceptable to get overtaken by!