Friday, 7 December 2012


For the first ten minutes of this programme, I was shocked and wanted to turn it off. I mean the title in itself was antagonistic enough, but something made me watch the entire thing. I'm glad I did in the end.

Seeing the road from the camera of a cyclist is a view I see nearly every day, but not to that level. I cycle around London and I love to see the city from my bike. This programme did show drivers aggression at it's worst and it does concern me that if anyone was thinking about taking up cycling but was a little unsure - well, it's going to well and truly put them off. Can I say to those people - don't let it.

Cynthia, the woman who lost her daughter tragically in a cycling accident summed it up for me. Yes, all road users do ride/drive in a competitive space, but shouldn't it be a co-operative space?

We're all riding together, whether we like it or not and the number of cyclists is growing. It's cheaper, more economical and let's face it much more fun than being in an underground capsule smelling someone else's armpit or being sneezed on.

The London Cycle Campaign and The Times are pushing fantastic campaigns to improve the safety of cyclists - such as 'No More Lethal Lorries' and 'Love London, Go Dutch'. However, these changes aren't going to happen over night and in the meantime we all need to try and ride together and give each other respect when doing so. With so many different types of road users it's clear that we all need to understand the others road positions. Cyclists need to look out for other drivers and drivers need to look out for cyclists.

So was this programme irresponsible? On one level I thought this programme was sensationalising the issues on the roads. Of course it would, it makes good TV. It proved to me that having a camera on your helmet can help as evidence or show drivers how irresponsibly they're driving, but I feel so sad that it's come to that.

It also showed the devastating affect the death of a cyclist has on their family and the courage of a mother who made positive change for the safety of all cyclists in her daughter's memory. I hope this will make some drivers think twice before they do something dangerous.

For me though, you had to wait until near the end to pick up any real positive aspects of the programme. This is where I think the programme could have been much better. It needed to be clearer that there is the need to educate ALL road users. For example, for cyclists to sit in a cab of a HGV and see it from their angle and for ALL drivers to have cycle training. This includes bus drivers, cabbies, HGV drivers and cyclists themselves. Cycle training needs to be part of the driving test - either in a practical or theoretical way. We also need to do some creative campaigning and TV programming to make existing drivers aware of what is good and safe cycling practice so that we can start to eradicate these so called 'wars'.

As for the two idiotic courier racers, I abhor you. You're stupid and dangerous!
To people like Lewis, the traffic droid, I salute you. Here is a cyclist with respect.

So BBC – irresponsible in places with some good intentions that you had to dig deep for. Next time, can you make more positive programming about cycling? Make peace not war.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

‘LET ME WIN, BUT IF I CANNOT WIN, LET ME BE BRAVE IN THE ATTEMPT’ - Why I love being a Special Olympics Trainer

It’s official, the party’s over. The Olympics and Paralympics have ended and the flags are now on their way to Rio. 

Throughout the Olympics and Paralympics, not only have the stories and the triumphs engaged me completely, but the significance sport has had for all of the athletes has been obvious and electrifying.We’ve witnessed how it has changed people’s lives by giving them opportunities, goals and dreams. The power of sport is the same for everyone involved, and is especially the case for the athletes I train for the Special Olympics.

The Special Olympics is a year-round community sports programme for all children and adults who have learning disabilities. It also includes a few days of events and competition throughout the year. The ethos is to promote and encourage sport. It’s not all about the winning, but the taking part – being active, keeping fit, social interaction, learning new skills, pushing boundaries and most importantly enjoying the moment and having fun. 

I teach Joe. Joe rides on two wheels and so doesn’t need a specially adapted bike. When Joe first started training, cycling around the park was hard work. Now he’s like Forrest Gump. If I let him, he would just keep on going. We do warm ups, practice braking and gears, do mini sprints, time-trials and play games with other trainees.

Last week we were riding on a path in the park. For once it was clear – no people, no dogs, just a big open space and before I knew it, Joe put his foot down and whizzed off. I had to pedal really fast to catch him up and as I did so, I turned around and saw his face. He was smiling from ear to ear. Joe is non-verbal, but that smile said a thousand words. As a trainer, that smile is the highlight of my week.

So, the Olympics and Paralympics might be over, but here is a very Special Olympics that happens year round. Want to come and join the party?

For more information on how to get involved with the Special Olympics, go to:

For more information on taking part as a Special Olympics cycling trainee, go to:

Photo of me © James Perrin:

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Want to learn how to cycle but don't know where to start?

I've just taught a trainee to ride on the roads with confidence. Only thing is, two months ago she couldn't ride at all. If you're feeling inspired to learn how to ride, no matter the age, just do it.
Listen to my trainee's story here:

Barriers that stop people from learning how to ride often include being scared to go on the road, thinking they'll be too slow, image and perhaps that now they are an adult, they should know how to cycle and feel a bit embarrassed to learn. This really shouldn't be the case. I've taught people of all ages, sizes and backgrounds and they have all agreed that once they've learnt, they wish they'd done it sooner. It's never too late. Even if you can ride, but just want to gain confidence on the roads, then there are people like me out there willing to give you a hand.

Cycling is brilliant exercise, an economical form of transport, sociable and above all is fun. Some boroughs in the UK give cycling lessons for free, if you live or work in that borough. However, if you are unable to find free lessons, do go on to this website and find a cycling instructor near you who is accredited. 

I teach in north London. If you would like some advice about cycling, please email me on:

Happy cycling!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Paralympics 2012 - Great for disability sport and clubs

I have been suffering from Post-Olympic Depression Syndrome, so you can imagine how excited I am that on Wednesday the Paralympics begin. It’s not just because we’re going to have another 11 days of fantastic sport, but that we’re on the edge of something amazing.

The Paralympics seem to be selling out fast. I’m sure it’s not just because people want to experience the park and atmosphere, but because they want to witness sport they’ve never seen before, performed by people who have overcome physical and mental obstacles to realize their goals.

I’m a cycling instructor for Bikeworks All Ability Cycling Club. The club welcomes people of all ages, with either physical or learning disabilities to come and ride a bike. There are specially adapted bikes for all to experience and enjoy. Inclusive clubs like these are essential for both the mental and physical well-being of those who participate.

When I started as an instructor there 4 years ago, I admit that I had preconceptions about what someone with a disability was able to achieve. Since then, I’m glad to say, those preconceptions have been shattered. Each club I’m ‘wowed and proud’ of at least one club member who has learnt to ride a bike, or achieved something they thought they never could, no matter how small.

One girl with cerebral palsy is in a wheelchair and can’t walk independently. On club day she can sit in the recumbent, use her legs to pedal and control the brakes easily. For this moment she is in full control, the wind in her face. She is independent. She is free. A big smile comes on her face, not just because of the exhilaration of riding, but because she knows she’s achieved something she thought was not possible – she can ride a bike. Every club day there are more of these stories.

And during the Paralympics we will see this on a bigger scale. Every athlete has their story. How along their journey they’ve battled against the odds. How their disability is not only part of who they are, but has made them who they are. How they will show the world their strength, their courage and that they can achieve greatness.

We’re on the edge of something amazing because never before in Great Britain has paralympic and disability sport been given such a huge platform. I hope it will inspire those with any disability to take part in sport. There are clubs, organisations and charities out there at grass roots level waiting and we need more. We need help and funding to keep these clubs running and to start new ones, no matter how small. We need to give future generations of those with disabilities the tools to help them participate, enjoy and excel in sport.

Over the Paralympics 2012 and beyond, I hope Great Britain and the world will embrace disability.
Let the Games begin!

For more information:

To support year round community sport for people with learning disabilities: