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Double Olympic champion admits he's too scared to ride bike on road

Ryan Bayley. keirin and sprint champion at Athens 2004 says he's had too many near-misses and lost too many friends ...

An Australian cyclist who has won two Olympic gold medals on the track has admitted that he is too scared to ride his bike on the road ever again.

Ryan Bayley won the Keirin and individual sprint at the Athens Olympics in 2004, and also has four Commonwealth titles and one world championship to his name.

But he says that too many near misses on the bike and the deaths while cycling of a number of friends, plus the fact he has two children aged under five, have put him off taking to the highway on two wheels.

Speaking to The West Australian, he said: "I've ridden for a lot of years on the road and there's probably been 20 or 30 too many near misses.

"Mirrors hitting me in the back, people cutting you off – I've been hit by a lot of cars and I've been lucky.

"I know too many people who have passed away in the last few years after being hit by cars for stupid reasons. In one month I went to four funerals and three of them were bike riders hit by cars and none was in the wrong.

"I'll go riding on my mountain bike or ride BMX, but I'm just too scared to get on the road,” he added.

"I was never scared of crashing on the track but I've got a young family and I don't want to leave them just because I got on my bike.

“In Australia, you fear people who are actually looking to run you over and don't see their car as a weapon."

He admitted he had not been on his racing bikes since his retirement following the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Bayley, who also won four Commonwealth Games gold medals, said he had not touched his racing bikes since retiring after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"I put everything into it,” he said. “I got more out of the sport than most people, had a bloody good time doing it and I gave up at the right time."

The 32-year-old will be inducted into the Western Australian Hall of Champions this weekend, where he will join the likes of cricket legends Dennis Lillee and Rodney Marsh.

He reflected: "It's pretty mega. You're never sure whether people are going to remember you for what you've done and because I finished so suddenly, there was never really any closure."

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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