In 2013 I was involved in a cycling accident while heading out to meet a friend for lunch on Kingsland road, East London. As I was cycling along, I was knocked from my bike when a car door swung open in front of me, and sustained a serious concussion. Over the next few weeks I was put on bed rest with strict orders not to read, watch tv, or look at any screen, while I recovered.
A few months earlier a friend had suggested that I sign up to British Cycling. He had mentioned the legal benefits of being a member, and as someone who cycled daily thought it seemed like a good idea to have that ‘insurance’. The day after the accident, British Cycling, put me in touch with Leigh Day. The lawyer who handled my case walked me through the whole process, told me what to document and was incredibly patient with all my questions. Leigh Day took care of everything and reassured me I would be reimbursed for the damage to my bike (which like many cyclists, was my main concern at first). They took away the stress of my accident, and let me focus on healing.
One of the most important things to me throughout the process though, was the way they talked to me. From the beginning I think they understood how much cycling meant to me, and always spoke of when I get cycling again. As anyone who has been through something similar will tell you, having that support at a time when you have been shaken up is so important. It meant I didn’t once think about walking away from cycling.
A few weeks before my accident, I had cycled from Paris to London with a group called Tech Bikers to raise money for a charity called Room to Read. The trip introduced me to the idea of cycling long distance and it was at this time that the seed was planted, and started dreaming about doing longer rides… across continents.
When I finally got back on my bike it took me a while to get my confidence back, but I was surrounded by amazing people who joined me for rides and encouraged me to start doing longer distances again. It was exciting to see how quickly I got my strength back, and started entering sportifs, as well as a 24 hour race called Revolve 24.
Last summer, and a few years on from my accident, I came back to that dream of riding across continents as I watched a few friends participate in the Transcontinental race. I was so inspired by their adventures and also wanted take on a challenge where I could really test what I am capable of. There were a number of things that ultimately impacted my decision to take on the Trans America Bike Race, but essentially it was the idea that if there is something you dream of doing, you just have to do it.
Laura will be sharing her training and preparation for the race, and reporting on her progress across America with us, and you can follow her on @Laura_Scott.