'I SHOULDN'T BE ALIVE' - HAWKRIDGE

One of the South East's top cycling officials, John Hawkridge is back working part time after making a remarkable recovery from injuries his doctor said should have killed him.

Hawkridge crashed into the back of a parked lorry during an evening time trial on June 8 this year. The collision ruptured his aorta, the main artery which carries blood from the heart. He spent three weeks in intensive care, and eight weeks in total in hospital. "There were no witnesses and I couldn't remember a thing about what happened," said Hawkridge.

"The only evidence was the lorry and my smashed bike. The saddle was broken and found in the road. The police said that I either rode into the back of the lorry or the saddle broke and a I veered into the lorry, which I think is more likely."

He said it seemed he had hit the lorry's rear lights with his shoulder, and the impact ripped his aorta.

Earlier this month, the local district Cycling Time Trials disciplinary hearing cleared Hawkridge of being guilty of dangerous riding. British Cycling South East Region re-elected Hawkridge as chairman.

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Keith Bingham joined the Cycling Weekly team in the summer of 1971, and retired in 2011. During his time, he covered numerous Tours de France, Milk Races and everything in-between. He was well known for his long-running 'Bikewatch' column, and played a pivotal role in fighting for the future of once at-threat cycling venues such as Hog Hill and Herne Hill Velodrome.