Die Zeit Online: Die Macht der Pedale! Pedal Power!


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Deutsch : Mein voller Bericht in DER ZEIT http://www.zeit.de/reisen/2013-08/london-fahrradrennen

Für meine englischsprachigen Leser habe ich unten noch ein paar seperate Zeilen angefügt.

ENGLISH: The full text of my report on the London Prudential 100 can be read in Die Zeit here (in German).

Please use Googletranslate to get a reasonable English translation.

http://www.zeit.de/reisen/2013-08/london-fahrradrennen

Here some special comment for my English readers ( text not related to German version):

It was most certainly one of the longest most physical stories in the making, when I was asked by Die Zeit , if I, as journalist who worked during the London 2012 games, could partake in the cycle race London Prudential 100.

To be precise, it took nearly five months of every day preparation to gain the fitness level necessary for the endeavour.  I followed mostly a plan suggested by the organisers, but also another bag of skills of mine in Sports Coaching (I hold also a Master of Science in Sports Coaching / Sport Psychology) to prepare myself. But I also had to fix my old bike, about which I knew nothing, but was able to do through the help of London’s new award winning DIY bike fixing workshop “Bike Kitchen.”

As test distances I had travelled to Brighton twice and failed once due to a flat tyre.  On the second attempt I also had a flat tyre 3 km before the finish (which I was unable to fix, as the second tube burst) and walked the remainder to Brighton station.  Many more times I visited Epping Forest, Regents Park and Highgate, before I tried out the Surrey Hills, which represent the difficult part of  the race.  The first time on a 50 Miles trip I had a true shock due to their unexpected steepness, a few weeks later I tried 70 Miles and then, much nearer to the race time, a 91 Miles test-ride.

I bought jerseys, padded pants, bibs, gloves, cycle oil and more.  In doing so I discovered that cycling is big business and you need to watch your spend.  One of the difficult things was to find a fair-trade jersey, much of those come from sweat-shops.  Morvelo was one of the few exceptions.

In the end it was all  good enough, I finished most of the segments of the London Prudential 100 in good time, much of it in personal bests.

The most important thing though and I wrote about it in the article in Die Zeit was the empowerment of cycling the race provided.  The closed roads, such as the A12, just gave a unique and very different experience of what roads can be for and what they could be like without motor traffic.

No pollution, no dangerous driving, or huge lorries.

On the day after the race a cyclist died in Archway, very near to one of my weekly training grounds in Highgate.

There are questions left unanswered over many decades in London, as to why cycling was for so long not a priority.  It is now, and many streets need to be modified, some need to be reserved even solely for cycling.  The festival of cycling called the London Prudential is a directional outline to where London needs to head and it is good the mayor of London witnessed that in person.