I have been riding properly i.e. more than the occasional ride since 2000. It was the year after Lance had won his first Tour de France, and I bought my Trek 1200 in anticipation of another victory in 2000. Little did I think that he would go on to win seven Tours, and then be stripped of the lot!
I still remember the first proper ride up Totnes hill (out of the Town). I was blowing like an old smoker, lost my balance more than once and my handlebars ended moving in a 90 degree arc by dint of my ineptitude in tightening (or not) the headset.
Since then I have done a lot in cycling: ridden a few races, met some wonderful people, been to some amazing places and had an enormous amount of fun.
I have done sport throughout my life - Karate, bodybuilding and all forms of racket sport - but cycling is the one thing that I feel most natural doing. It combines the solace that I seek, the exercise and the variety (even if you ride the same route every day, there is always something different to see, hear or smell).
I know this has been another massive year for British cycling but like all these things it goes in cycles, and I expect that in the years to come it will be hard to repeat the enormous success that we have had built around some legends like Sir Chris Hoy, Brad Wiggins and Vicky Pendleton. But, whatever happens, I will always be there for cycling and it for me.
PS. I think all those taking a driving test should spend a week cycling beforehand. In that way they would have much greater appreciation for cyclists who they seem to regard with disdain at the best of times.
PPS. Cyclists should also have to be tested. Some of their behaviour is stupid, irresponsible and dangerous - red lights are there for a reason!