1. 15 months beforehand, casually respond to a tweet asking if anyone wants to help organise a mass bike ride on the Scottish Parliament to coincide with the the London Big Ride
2. three months later, somehow manage to help assemble 3000 people and their bikes in one of the biggest protests ever outside the new Scottish Parliament
3. some months later, realise that while the government has told you you’re ‘pushing on an open door’ in asking for safer cycling, they have neglected to mention that the door is in fact marked ‘pull’ and they’re actually going to do the square root of bugger all to achieve their own target for 10% of journeys by bike and that you’re going to have to do it all again.
4. Spend the next weeks and months sending and receiving many thousands of emails and tweets and living, breathing and sleeping the planning of the protest
5. with just a few days to go, unwisely put your mobile phone number on the press release announcing the support of one of Britain’s greatest Olympians, briefly propelling your protest to the top of the news agenda.
6. field a call from a charming sounding and very persuasive BBC radio producer and rashly agree to appear live on Good Morning Scotland the next morning, which will entail getting up at 6am
7. come back from a rare evening out to the usual dozens of emails and stay up far too late reading them despite an early start the next day.
8. finally get to bed and fall into a fitful dream in which for some reason you are debating cycling policy with Nigel Farage
9. Wake up at 3am and spend the next hour lying awake furiously arguing in your head with an imagined Nigel Farage until you have comprehensively and completely rebutted all of his (imagined) points with statistics. And footnotes.
10. For variety, spend the next hour worrying about not getting back to sleep interspersed with thinking up several more telling rebuttals for Mr. Imaginary Farage. Finally fall asleep with the daylight creeping through the curtains and the wakey-wakey bird in full flow.
11. Half an hour later, get up.
Needless to say I didn’t have to debate cycling policy with Nigel Farage (if only because he’d already hung up in a strop), I got two easy questions which I could answer with ease (and statistics), and the whole interview lasted mere seconds. By 8:45 I was free to cycle home in the (finally) spring sunshine, incredibly relieved.
Of course, it’s not over yet and there’s still an enormous amount to do, but at least I don’t have to do it live on radio (and thank God I wasn’t the one who ended up doing the call-in show). I hope that any of you who can will be joining us and many many many other cyclists in Edinburgh on Sunday – everybody welcome, even Mr Farage (although I suggest he come dressed as a panda by way of disguise). And then I’ll be coming home and filling you in with an exciting update about the ford and news of the safety chickens in action.