I woke up the other night and could not get to sleep, so I came down and put the TV on.

What should I find but a nostalgic piece on Tommy Simpson - the first great British cyclist, who collapsed and died on the wastes of Mount Ventoux in the Tour de France.

No doubt we were more aware of him than most families as my brother was a racing cyclist at a much lower level.

Even I had been out with his cycling club - pushed most of the way, and out on the banked track at Herne Hill, when his friend Lawrie scoffed at wearing a helmet and then slid all the way down the steepest part of the banked track on his ear.

So ingrained was the Simpson story with me that with my partner from Sussex I wrote a song about it:

‘And the last words that Tom Simpson said

Were “Put me back upon the bike'

Cycling was changed a lot in the 21st century - Wiggins,O’Bree and Froome et al.

In Simpson’s day British cyclists were unknown on the professional circuit on the Continent until his arrival.

Not that we understood it over here - I once interviewed a local chap in his 50s about a tour he and some pedal-pushing friends had been on, and wrote it up in the style of Cycling magazine.

Sadly my editor decided it would best go in my teenager's column, so our most experienced cyclist never wanted to talk to me again.

These days, they say, editors are more with it. Watch where this turns up.