Having spent most of my working life in the military, I have had access to various forms of adventurous training and dangerous sports. I tried plenty, including motorcycle racing, sky-diving, boxing and open sea windsurfing. Injuries? Over the decades, barely a scratch. Then I took early retirement and decided to go back to one of my early loves, something a bit more ‘genteel’: cycling.

In June, I was out with a mixed bunch of cyclists/triathletes. We began our 50 mile training ride from Amersham; and that, folks, was my very last memory for quite some time.

Apparently, five minutes into the ride, I hit a pothole and went over the handlebars and ended up in a very crumpled unconscious heap in the road. However, my bad luck was immediately about to change for the better. Members of my cycling group (which included a GP and a 3rd year medical student) called the emergency services; paramedics arrived in no time.

The police arrived too and closed the very busy ‘A’ road. The paramedics soon deduced that I didn’t particularly need a 1 hour ride in an ambulance, bouncing over hundreds more potholes as I was in a rather fragile a condition. Thankfully, Thames Valley Air Ambulance was available for the transfer to John Radcliffe. I suffered amnesia for pretty much the whole day and into the next, so all of the above is from other people’s memories.

Just for the record, I suffered 9 fractured ribs, a broken collarbone, fractured pelvis, double skull fracture and a collapsed lung. Clearly, that little lot needed the specialists at John Radcliffe to get hold of me as soon as possible, hence the helicopter transfer.

As an aside, for several years I used to help organise an annual motorcycle 'trackday' on the airfield at RAF Northolt. The profits from the trackday were dispersed among various charities and around £1,500 went to Thames Valley Air Ambulance, if I remember correctly. With the benefit of hindsight, that donation seemed like a “good investment” to me!

The surgeons and support team in the John Radcliffe had a field day (well days actually) with me. I’m held together by various applications of steel plates, screws and titanium.

I continue to make a steady recovery and two months on I started cycling again, albeit at a gentle pace initially. So many thanks to all involved with the Air Ambulance for getting me to A&E so quickly and comfortably.

Thank you.