The header picture of my blog displays me on my recumbent trike in which I purchased less than 6 months after my stroke. It is & has been great, being a real head-turner and quite the machine. It’s also the number one exercise my PT recommends. With the exception of those few times I go up snow skiing in the winter months, I must get many times the desperately needed exercise in the summer months with all the riding I get in. It’s far better to find an activity one enjoys rather than stuck down in your basement trying to make your exercise ‘fun’. My periodic blood tests prove this as well (cholesterol & HA1C levels)!
I was so into riding race-style upright 2-wheel bikes pre-stroke. Not that I really care too much about what others think, but it’s more the image of whom I’ve become to myself at times I don’t like to see much of. Riding around my favorite local Seward Park the other day, passing a group of youngsters (did I just say that word?) riding tricycles, I couldn’t get the thought out of my head that I went back to a child riding a tricycle again.
As of late, I’m thinking it’s time to try something different, riding a 2-wheel recumbent as I set for one of my more long-term goals. Strength, balance, alignment, & endurance has improved leading me to want to give it a go. After some correspondence with my cousin Steve, a rather obsessed bent rider down in LA, he provided me with a few good pointers. Off to CraigsList I went where I found a model, the RANS Tailwind Steve owns that might be a good fit just starting out.
Friday evening I lied awake being the director of my own movie, as I often do visualizing in great detail of my test ride the next day. I visualized swinging my leg over balancing on my (affected) left leg, putting my feet on the pedals, engaging my core muscles, and cruising down the street, even attempting a hill or two. This sort of visualization helped me a lot when trying to snow ski again. I felt so confident. Well, confidence with a brain injury can deceive one!
Well, it didn’t go that way. I didn’t just power out and ride away, but rather clumsily ‘walked’ the bike along trying to get enough speed to pop my foot up on the pedals to go, but it just didn’t happen. One sure would figure, you just sit down & pedal, being not that much different from my trike or stationary exercise model, but not so! Reminded me of the first time I went up skiing, looking down on a Green run that looked steep to me that would have seemed totally flat back in the day. I got off and walked the bike back to the owner rather dejected.
My day did take a turn for the better as the sellers turned out to be a wonderfully warm & welcoming couple inviting me to join them on their back deck for a lunch & soda. We chatted it up for three to four hours where we had loads in common from shared experiences, politics to life in general. I fell like I made some new friends out of the deal. Plus I suppose I better give myself some credit for the longest solo drive so far, all the way up to the town of Edmunds via I-5 and in our truck, being considerably more difficult for me to drive.
Desire is strong still to see it through to meet the goal. I came right home to again email my cousin Steve & wife, Robby to propose the idea to go down to LA for a visit over the long weekend of the 4th of July in hopes of help in conquering my fear with their great patience and hat-full of tricks that come from riding them for years. I’m so looking forward to hanging out, as its been a while! I plan to take a fresh stab at learning to ride with their big assortment of bikes, ‘herd of playthings’ as Steve calls it. Not giving up yet 🙂