Thursday, 15 April 2010
Cycling Was His Life
Reading my friend's copy of Tommy Simpson's autobiography Cycling Is My Life. I didn't realise that he'd inscribed in the front "Dear Paul, our bikes could be your life." Sort of means I can't loan it to anyone ever just in case I never get it back. It's pretty inspiring to read of the Yorkshire man struggling on through the uncharted culture of the amateur cycling world of mainland Europe in the mid 50's. A catalogue of misunderstanding, he shrugs his shoulders time again and exclaims "I felt like a right nit! Anyway, the next day I caught a train to Belgium..." Also a good insight into the birth of darkness in a shadowy sport; He died at 29 of drugging-related complications halfway up a mountain with his hands wrapped around his handlebars.