My name is Stephen de Souza. I learnt to cycle at around the age of 8 on a Raleigh Chipper. I was never bad enough for a Chopper. Into my early teens I loved cycling with my friends, particularly for the freedom to go a bit further away from home than my parents would have been comfortable with. At the age of 18 I spent my own money on a metallic purple Coventry Eagle Elite. It had drops, 10 (that is 2×5) gears, a 531 frame and a B17 saddle. I still have the receipt. The bike, which I rode around London, Cambridge and Edinburgh was stolen 5 years later. The moral is not to lock your bike to a cast iron railing as they are easily kicked in.
In 2007 the Tour de France started in London and I was there amazed at the speed of the professionals warming up for the Prologue. A couple of months previously I had bought my first bike in two decades at the age of 42. Partly due to navigational difficulties my first ride to work took nearly 2 hours. I soon breached the hour, then 50 minutes, then 40 and I think my record for that route was about 33 minutes. Soon commuting wasn’t enough and I tried my first 100km which taught me the value of properly adjusted cleats and the false economy of cheap cycling shorts. Audaxes, Sportives, Strava and then joining Islington Cycling Club soon followed.
A few weeks ago, approaching my own half century later this year, I was possibly the fittest I’ve ever been. Then I blacked out while riding, broke my collarbone and decided to start this blog. I hope writing about cycling will be some substitute for not being able to do it. I want to start writing about what caused my crash, hopefully my experience will help others. If you read and comment you might help me. I also hope to be read by those who share my passion for cycling and maybe even contribute to inspiring, making it possible and safer for others.