Well, it’s been an odd couple of years hasn’t it? Both 2020 and 2021 were spectacularly bad in terms of getting out there and meeting friends for wild rides in the woods.
I look back at this social media post I wrote at the start of 2020 with a feeling of embarrassment that I could have been so optimistic in my predictions:
“Hindsight is 20/20, so they say. Well, I hope that at the end of this year we’ll all look back and see clearly that we’ve ridden our bikes to some beautiful places with some beautiful people. Happy New Year folks!”
2020 turned out even worse than I could have hoped for…
“No gnar, no car, not far” they said. Essentially, don’t be stupid on your bike, try not to crash, and help save the NHS. Well, I tried that and it turns out you’re just as likely to help overwhelm the NHS by crashing a road bike on a cycle path as you are hurtling down a mountain on your MTB.
I ended up with a broken hip and collarbone only 3 weeks into lockdown. Whilst all my friends were out enjoying the peace and quiet in the now deserted mountains I was laid up in bed in much pain with 3 large titanium pins in my femur.
Apparently (according to my doctor) about 40% of all hip repairs fail and mine was destined to be in the too large fraction of those that do. 10 months after the repair (and after a few nice easy rides on the bike) I was suddenly back in pain and unable to walk again.
I was lucky in one respect – my case with the hospital remained open for a year and so I was able to return fairly quickly (only 7 months later) for a full hip replacement.
3 months on from that and I’m back walking again and have even ventured back out on the bike. My fitness, as you can imagine, is pretty diabolical. But, well, onwards and upwards – I’ll be back out there soon enough doing both coaching and guiding, as long as I don’t crash and break myself again.
I can’t express my thanks and praise for the NHS enough. The care I received throughout was beyond excellent. I’m still busy with physio and the awesome post-operative care continues.
So… why am I relating all this?
Well, I’ve been very lucky really. I broke myself and then the NHS repaired me. Twice. At no cost.
I can’t really explain how important this is except to say that if I’d had to pay for private health care then I’d be in real trouble. Being self employed means I don’t get any sick pay. I don’t have any savings as such either and so if I had to pay for medical services that would mean re-mortgaging the house. If I didn’t have a house then I’d be in more trouble – potentially homeless.
This is important because at this very moment the government is working to privatise the NHS, despite the fact the NHS is coping with a pandemic and running a vaccination campaign like no other. Boris and his cronies are busy selling bits of the NHS off to US corporations and are aiming to emulate the American model where you need to have insurance to pay for medical bills. The insurers can decide if you qualify and if they say you don’t then you don’t get fixed.
So, please, take a look at your situation and imagine what would happen if you crashed your bike and broke yourself. Would you be able to afford healthcare?
My resolution for this year is to do all I can to support those organisations trying to prevent the privatisation of the NHS. I hope you’ll make it one of your resolutions too.
Here is a list of some of those organisations doing just that:
And on Twitter there’s…
NHS Nurses : @SocialistNurses
NHS Million : @NHSMillion
Keep Our NHS Public : @keepnhspublic
I’ll end by wishing you all a very happy and safe new year! I hope to see you upright on the trails.