South West London DA: Sou' Wester Archive
Profile of Daphne Skingle

Profile: Daphne Skingle - (Mar/Apr 2005)

Cycling started early in my life at my home in Willow Walk, Sutton. My father had, in addition to his motorbike and sidecar, a pedal cycle with a little seat on its crossbar upon which he would place me. He says that I was a difficult passenger as I used to try to steer the bike.

The bike I was most proud of in my childhood was a three wheeler, a cast-off from my brother. It had a boot so I used to cycle up to the shops at The Gander with my mum and proudly cycle back with some of her shopping in the boot.

The family moved to Bombay, India, where cycling is too dangerous in the city. However, when on holiday in the hills my parents hired bikes. I do not recommend leather brake blocks for long descents down the ghats and the herds of water buffaloes were scary. Back in England on furloughs (long holidays), I usually borrowed my Aunt's black bike, with a basket in front and three gears that I held in place with a matchstick. As we explored East Anglia, with food and lemonade in the basket, we felt like the Famous Five.

In the early days when, I had my own family, I did some fixed base touring with two young children. Vanessa, aged 9 months, would fall asleep on the bike and then stay awake at night when I wanted to sleep. Torture! Both the children have owned bikes and this year, my son (25 years old) took delivery of a Raleigh Chopper!

Neither of the children has taken up cycling. preferring other sports. However because of them I joined the CTC in 1992 for the family insurance. On going to University in 1993 I decided to cycle from Cheam to Isleworth for the three years. To keep my fitness up I started riding with the Midweekers in between semesters. At the end of the three years I was leaner, fitter and an Occupational Therapist B.Sc. (Hons).

I continued to commute to work at Headley Court (armed services rehabilitation), to Kingston Hospital and now to the Queen Elizabeth's Foundation Brain Injury Centre in Banstead. My career pathway has resulted in me becoming a clinical specialist in Brain Injury.

I now cycle with the Cheam and Morden. In the years that I have cycled with the C&M I have enjoyed the social side, the diversity of people you meet, the laughter and the refreshment stops. My most memorable tour was the Easter Tour to Wells where Peter Clarke and I became an 'item'.

My mandatory First Aid training for work has been most helpful when out cycling. I would recommend that everyone goes on a first aid course, there's nothing worse than not knowing what to do at the scene of an accident so please consider applying for the course mentioned below.

My cycling activities have included the odd Duathalong (sic) and Triathlon (no amazing times) and I have managed not to join the KPRC! I am also a member of the Epsom Allsorts Running Club.

I plan to keep cycling for as long as possible for the exercise and the freedom from cars that it gives. Who knows, I might still be cycling at 80!

(I personally benefited from Daphne's specialist knowledge which probably saved me from permanent brain damage following a violent impact to my head in a fall during a C&M ride two years ago. Give me a call if you want to follow Daphne's advice to join a first aid course designed for cyclists who want to know what to do at the scene of an accident. Clive Oxx)