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Got myself a bike!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ok, I am already back from my first ride. Having visited several shops this week, many hours of internet research and asking everyone for advise, I ended up purchasing a bike today.

Hubby and I already went out for a little ride.

I bought a full suspension mountain bike. We sawed off the handle bars to narrow them up for my shoulders and helps my wrists. We added height for the handle bars. Disk breaks like Kayotic recommended...(They are GREAT!)

We opted for full suspension due t my back hardware. I plan on riding on road and trail, so the full suspension will really reduce the impact of all those bumps.

Its not a carbon light bike, but aluminum and light enough. (About 27 lbs)
The shocks are heavy and my wheels are too. I figure later maybe I can purchase a light set of wheels if I really start riding super long rides.

First I will have to see if the seat I bought will work. as I expected, the seat is the trickiest part. So, I will log my miles and build up slowly.

Back and knees felt perfect.
Needless to say, I am pretty stoked.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYOTIC 11/11/2012 12:23PM

    Yeah! I got my bike yesterday too...sounds much like yours, but I didn't need to saw off the handlebars...I did though, sit on a bike they had with grips that had extra support at the heel of the palm, I wonder if those would help with your wrist issue? They were very comfy, I may have to pick up a pair myself!

I think building up on the mileage will help you adjust to the seat, I've heard that's the best way to go, so I'll probably have to do that myself!

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CHOCLAHOLIC 11/11/2012 7:52AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Maui... You ROCK!!!!! Have fun on your new bike ! emoticon

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KELPIE57 11/11/2012 4:12AM

    And with every reason to be stoked up!

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BEBOP4ME 11/10/2012 9:37PM

    I am curious about sawing off the handle bars. How does that help tour wrists?

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GARDEMON 11/10/2012 9:09PM

  Sure you will have fun riding your bike. Living in Amsterdam biking is the way to travel around. I love it. I use it almost everyday. Enjoy

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DLDROST 11/10/2012 8:48PM


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Stepped up Research

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Ok, so today I continued my internet research regarding bikes. Thoroghly overwhelemd, I took the advise of my friend Cassie and headed out to a real bike store.
The sales guy was actually very helpful. Small steps were taken.
I have decided that the low rode bike handle bars are probably not an option.
Due to my long legs, shorter torso, a women's frame is a must.

Options I am really interested in and trouble by how to balance or choose are the shocks vs road efficiency. Considering all my joint issues, it seems the shocks for both teh front fork and seat post might be important over the long haul.
I need the ability to ride independently and on my own schedule (meaning, if I were to rise in teh hills, I am not going alone, I'll take a buddy) But most of the time, a buddy is not a practice option, so much of my riding will be road or very public trails. Some of he best road bike options have no shocks options.

My hubby and son, prefer dirt bike trails, and I cannot see myself doing any aggressive trail riding. But some dirt trails might be fun.

And...I would Really prefer not to have 2 bikes...1 bike.
So maybe a hybrid that will suit both needs with changeable tires.

The saddle issue is a whole other story. But butt blister is surface healed, but not gone. My sits bone is still sore.
Learned more about how this happened on the stupid gym seats...
education is a good thing. emoticon

So, I will research and go to another store tomorrow and see what I learn.

Step by step. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYOTIC 11/10/2012 12:34PM

    I have to admit I loved the gel seat I had on my mountain bike (and even if they aren't as efficient on the road as a road bike, they still work there!) If you aren't going to do aggressive mountain trails, a hybrid should probably do the trick, not sure if you even need to change out the tires. I went for dual shocks on mine, and you might look at the brake options too, disc are better than the wheel/clamp brakes, but are also more expensive...but they have increased my confidence on the hills.

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KELPIE57 11/9/2012 2:37AM

    Let us know how you get on.

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CASSIOEPIA 11/8/2012 10:52PM

    I have a hybrid (Ariel Sport), and it works equally well on the highway or the gravel. I'm glad you took the step today to ask some questions and get some answers. Keep moving forward.

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Frustraion has revelaed itself, uh oh.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Well, now I am very confused what the next step should be. So I will blog until I find a path.

OK, for 30+ years, I could not ride a bike, due to an un-repaired fractured back. I walked, hiked, gardened etc to maintain my back for the duration.
Jan 2012 I had no option and had VERY successful back surgery.
After 5 months of PT, a knee injury was revealed as well requiring a surgical repair.
OK...Here it is early Nov.
I have completed all PT.
I have ridden a stationary bike 3-5 days a week the first many months, and increased after knee surgery to 5-7 days.
I also increased from 5 miles/ride, to 10 miles 2x/week, then by Mid sept 10 miles 5 days/week.
October I tried my first 20 mile ride.
Last week I rode 20 miles 5 days out of 7. these rides were on a neighbors, stationary recumbent bike. At PT, I rode upright 2-3 x/week. neighbors came home, (No more house sitting and borrowing their bike) and I promised I'd move off to the gym for my rides, which I did.

The gym bikes are gross.
Wet as one rider hops off and folks 'fight' for a bike.
I have wiped off seats, handles etc.
I have been wearing my clean gym pants and shower and wash pants every day, right after.

I got a blister on my bum last Friday. (After riding my 5th 20 mile ride) Teensy
blister, but a blister.

OK, I have a gel seat that fits the spinning bike seats.
(Impossible to get in spin class during day apparently)
This gel seat does not fit these other stationary bike seats.

So, now I am nursing my bottom and its healing just fine.
I am obsessively trying to uncover a plan for what to do next.

I am trying to ride the bike, as a main exercise to save my knee. (I used to walk like crazy, not sure if I can do that now, just some times)
Options seem to be the obvious,
1.Ride upright or recumbent bike at gym. (Germ issue)
2. Purchase new bike and move outside (No evidence my wrists can hold up to much of this)
3. Modify my old bike, add new seat and/gel seat , on trainer (we have this almost ready to use already, but my neighbor burns horrible wood all winter and I cannot breathe safely outside on my deck)
4. Move trainer bike, inside my house and use it there...WHERE? I have a very tiny home, seriously.
5. Change gyms, where they have cleaner bikes, more spin class options.

I LOVE being outside. This would be preferable. I hate the idea of spending all the money for a new bike and finding my wrists cannot hold up. Hmmm.

Lots of questions.
And my frustration has revealed itself.
Guess I will have to keep working through this until a solution, or many solutions are more apparent.

But persist I will, not to worry.
I am at the same time that I write this very excited I have no fitness issue with riding many miles. Just gotta get the bum figured emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYOTIC 11/10/2012 9:08AM

    Yeah, you're gym sounds a bit crazy...there is never waiting for bikes at my gym, only the nicer ellipticals!

The wrist issue is tricky, I has lots of wrist issues, and even had that EMG study, which turned out OK, but I did find that I was putting too much pressure on my hands/wrists, especially on the downhill, and the bumping from the mountain bike didn't help either, but you may not have that problem if you are on the road. Not sure how hilly your outdoor rides would be, but like Cassie said, the gloves help, and positioning of the bar, and keeping elbows and shoulders loose helps too. (I tend to tighten up and lock out my joints, not good! but can be unlearned...) Also the fit of the bike would be critical, and the bike shop would be able to help with that too.

Hope you find a good solution that works for all your issues!

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CHOCLAHOLIC 11/9/2012 2:10PM

    My first choice, like you and Wood is any activity outside, but I'd also maybe check out a new gym if you have others in your area? The gym (actually village rec center) that I occasionally use (and will be using more often as our winter weather "gets going" ) is actually pretty strict about people wiping off the equipment when they are done with each machine .... Maybe because its a newer facility, or not one of the big nation-wide chains of fitness centers, but it is actually pretty clean! (My only problem is its a 20 min drive one way for me to get there, so I have to kind of "be strict with myself" and make the trip)...

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WOODHEAT 11/8/2012 8:10AM

    You know me, I'd have to go with the outdoor option when possible, but I'm not sure how to handle the wrist thing. Is that something that can improve with PT as well?
I even sold my stationary bike. Simply could not get into riding in my basement.

Keep looking the solution is out there.

Life is good!

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ORANGE81 11/7/2012 7:22PM

    I understand the sore on your bottom and the gym problems. My husband got me a bike at a yard sale and it is good because like you I have a knee problem. So I use the recumbent bike. I know the wires that work the resistance are slowly going and it costs money to get a new one which I am lacking. So can or do you have craig's list maybe you can get one cheap. I had back surgery so my knee isnt having any more done than the mri. I had 2 surgeries this year and refuse another so I either walk or ride my ole bike. Good luck and that's great how far you ride you must be really happy with that mileage and for you to keep it up I say outstanding!!!!!!! emoticon

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CASSIOEPIA 11/7/2012 7:21PM

    Ooooh, I hate frustration. It's so ..... FRUSTRATING!

I love the outdoor option myself, and begrudgingly head into the basement each fall. I would suggest a trip in to a real bike store. They may have some ideas for your wrists. I know they helped me with my problem of my arms and hands falling asleep. It turns out that I was putting pressure on the ulnar nerve, so they changed the angle of the handle bars and gave me some padded bike gloves (the padding spreads the pressure over a larger area. I would never have known that without their help, so don't be afraid to ask.

I'm sorry I don't have any good ideas for you.

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2 Lessons re-learned...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

OK...I know one of my best knacks (due to Lupus, Sjogrens and Hashimotos- 3 different autoimmune diseases), is Inflammation, at every new phase or experience in my life, I have to relearn how this will affect me now.
Over and over...

Last January as many of you know I had back fusion surgery. All has gone remarkably well. Doc says I am somewhat of a poster child. I AM grateful for this aspect of my recovery.

For 30-sih years there were certain exercises for core development I could not due. This was because it put my vertebrae shifted and touching my spinal cord, causing excruciating pain and numbness. So, I and my body learned how to avoid risky movements.

Good my spine is stable , spinal cord protected. My program now, is to strengthen and balance my core development. All seems simple...just work.

So every day I do my walking and exercises and stretches.
When I keep my program within all teh movements I have been ab;e to do for years (like walking), I am fine. when I 'step it up' and add new movements to improve me strength, inflammation is produced. This is a normal step for everyone...I just exaggerate the affect due to Lupus...I add big time inflammation. So, Seldom do I work hard enough exercise wise to make my muscles sore, therefore strengthen. But I do aggravate my joints and create inflammation and have to back off. guessed it...frustrating. All of this is with the supervision of a highly trained /educated PT. The first time it happened, he made a teensy change in my ab work to a real-ish baby crunch. My back went into horrible spasm and we have been able to reproduced it several times over 12 weeks. Next was my knee... he wanted to begin my balance. He had me doing 'standing on one foot' baby exercises and it stressed my knees. Sheesh...resulting in backing off from teh exercises and icing therapy.

Now this week, he had me using a Pilates machine , pushing with my feet, one at a time, in a new way to better target abductor and adductor muscles. Day 3...Inflammation Set in big time. Kept me up most of the night...part discomfort...part mental frustration.

So, I am the master of icing...icing...icing. 'sigh'

The obvious might seem, "Well, take an NSAID !!!"
I cannot due to the fusion bone growth I am trying to accomplish. Cannot even apply localized NSAID creme.

So...this morning I am remembering again...seriously...again...
with Autoimmune disease, I must work at steps forward with stealthly finesse. Sneak it by my body, so it doesn't notice and then react. (Lesson#1)

In years past when I was in serious training programs, I would systematically step up my steps and pre-load with NSAIDS to I didn't over-react and production huge inflammation. This way I could keep building muscle and moving forward...methodically.'s my 'revelation' of sorts...

If this sneaky way of baby steps and pre-loading with NSAIDS is the only successful way I have progressed my training in the past, why do I think I can do this now and ignore what I have learned before?


If I am supposed to avoid all NSAIDS for 1-2 years, till my fusion is complete and secure, how do I work on my core and therefore develop new muscles to support my back with new exercises?

I know...this sounds like a 'rant'. Sorry.
Lessons are hard.

(Oh, ya...and I am icing my feet for the second time today. ) So, I had to do something. LOL. emoticon

YA...I am be a poster child cause I got up and walked the same day as I have a 7.5 hour surgery. I may be a poster child cause I was walking 6 miles per day by day 12 after surgery. But this my body knew how to do...walk, walk, walk.

Now moving forward from 'here' is apparently where the real work lies.

And I am not clear yet how to make this real work happen.

This I 'know'... (Lesson #2)
I won't give up. I see the patterns ... take too big a step, (even if they seem small), and it causes inflammation, stop, ice...wait...then re-boot.
Just the way it is.

My strength , is in not giving up. So, I must keep my eye on the 'glass half full'.

Taking a deep breath.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOBBYD31 6/16/2012 9:24PM

    biking really works core muscles as does swimming if you can do those. my wife has autoimmune issues also (Sjogrens, POTS) so i understand what you are going thru.

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CASSIOEPIA 6/16/2012 4:42PM

    I'm so sorry for the frustration, and I know in your heart you want to soar. I often think of how great it will be in the next world, when we won't have these eartly limitations and pains to deal with. But until then....

Hey, a sneaky way to build muscle while still walking, might be to do more hill work. This is still walking, but at a more intense level. Is that possible, or does it also produce more inflamation?

You really are doing fantastic. January isn't that very long ago.


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WOODHEAT 6/15/2012 7:34AM

    You have many strenghs and yes a big one is not giving up and I know you won't. Giving up just isn't something you can do. You know that I understand totally your frustration of not being able to do the things you want to do because, at the moment, your body just won't do them. But it will. That time period of not taking any NSAIDS will pass and you'll be able to really start that program of restoring your body like you want to. After my surgery, I wasn't sure that I would ever again be painfree and able to do the things that I've so loved doing - heavy physical work, water-skiing, getting down on the floor and playing with my grandkids. Then suddenly, I could. Now today is my 63rd birthday and I just got back the results from a complete physical. I am in the best shape that I've been in in many years. Blood pressure is good, blood sugar is excellent, cholesterol is outstanding, my weight is down considerably and I'm stronger than I've been in at least 7 years! All of this is coming your way as well. Until then, walk, talk, and do the things you can do to make yourself feel good. It'll all happen.

Life is good!

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KAYOTIC 6/14/2012 11:30PM

    emoticonI think Choc has a quote on her signature line "just keep swimming" (from Finding Nemo?) emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/14/2012 11:31:29 PM

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Greg, knowing you mattered.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

This weekend has been hard.
I know , life will always have its moments when I ask why , or think yet again...'its not fair'. The thoughts raise the regular questions, of course.

Friday I received the news of the death of one of 'my 4H youth. His death has really impacted me, not more than expected, but comes a little too close to home for me.

This young man turned 30 this week (yes...I know, not a kid...but I met him when he was) Greg was a brilliant yet very different person. He reminded me of my older son, so of course I gravitated to him.
He , this week was in his last year working toward his PhD at UC Berkeley . Oher 4H youth, noticed he had gone 'off grid', and for him this was VERY unusual. So a few of our CA State folks , all about his age, drove to his paratment from other cities, called teh police and their worst fears realized.

Greg worked for our Statewide program for many years, supporting the tech development of 4H, here and then teh entire nation followed. He is the 'father ' of our state 4H web site and most other state used our model.

But, Greg was different. And a loner...brilliant, but alone. Our society sort of has expectations that everyone will grow up, marry, have kids, fit into a model of society where he could see a way he'd ever fit. Sad.

Guess, after having had my own life experiences with a loved one loose hope, this has really 'hit' me.

I spent some time yesterday AM chatting with the Mom of a young man who drove to Greg's home. Steven has been very affected by this and will continue. So many questions, guilt, know...all the expected 'stuff'.
But, having gone through what I have with my own son...I think...we still have much to learn as a society.

Many already say..."why" , "He shouldn't have", "He had no right", you know what folks say.
But my son taught me to view this differently. I am not saying I know what is right or wrong...I am just saying I feel different;y than I used to.
First off, we don't know how Greg died yet...its just very likely suicide.

And, if Greg had had cancer, and had made the decision to refuse chemo or radiation, most people today would 'understand' if he decided the pain was just too much. With mental illness and suicide, there seems to be much more judgement.

Greg had no known 'mental illness', but he was very 'different' and obviously was experiencing pain. He made a decision.

This past week in the news was yet another story about a gay young man who took his life and there will be judgement in his situation.

When I walked my journey with my son, after he attempted suicide, but survived, I came to places never expected.
Almost impossible, but one day I was able to tell my son, "If ever I learn you have again attempted suicide, and are even successful, please know, I will not judge. It is impossible for me to know your pain. I want you to live a long and fulfilling life. But it is your life, not mine. I love you and always will."
This is the hardest thing I have ever done. But it also seems to have given him more life. Seriously. To know, I love him enough, to let go. To love him enough to trust him with his own life. To love him so much I won't judge. Hard.

It seems there are so many people, who feel there is no natural place for them to reside in society.

My son, will never be like me or anything close. But his differences don't invalidate him or reduce his value. Exactly the opposite. He too is one of the most brilliant people who have graced this earth. His mind works differently. I think how his mind is different, contributes to his brilliance.

I am sad. I know, I will move on...but today I have spent time in my garden alone, thinking about all these people who feel different, like they don't belong and loose hope, or get tired trying to be more like 'us'.

Thank you for reading this blog. I am sorry it was so serious.

Please, if you know someone who is 'different', take the extra moment to let them know they matter.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KELPIE57 9/26/2011 2:52AM

    I can't add much to the what the others have said. Pain is pain, whether it be physical or mental, it is real. That society doesn't recognise that doesn't change it. Also, we do not in general give ourselves enough time to grieve. Take the time that you need. You are not alone. I wish I could give you some more comfort, you know that I feel for you. emoticon

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SNOWSNAKE 9/25/2011 11:58PM

    Dearest Maui, My heart is hurting for you my know,I read my goodie message from you and went right to your page , figuring my gosh...something is up! I am so sorry for your having lost this young man from your life. This is so close to home for you, I know you have spent some time going places you havent visited in your own mind for a while.When I think of "LOVE" I think of you too, for you have so much that you give to so many...and your level of understanding is incredible. The garden is a place where I take my feelings as well, there I can cry, figure things out, remember and reminisce--all in the safety of our blessed home. Having a son who is also wired differently, you already know that I feel what you feel in the broad sence that so many people do not understand those who are "different"- not carbon copies of the norm. And as blessed as they are often times with incredible intelligence or gifted in some unusual way, society just gives them a weird glance. Cross the street, don't look or laugh, dont worry, this wont happen to someone you love....but then it might! My heart is out there with you, I want to comfort you at this time my friend, the gorgeous sunset surely was in Greg's honor tonite. Love you too, ***SNOW*** emoticon

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KAYOTIC 9/25/2011 11:23PM

    Oh, my heart goes out to you, you have so much compassion, and empathy, and I'm sure all those you have touched can feel that too.....this young man was lucky to have had you in his life, and while it was much too short, it sounds like he touched many others too, despite his difficulties, he did leave his mark. While that really can't touch the pain you feel, I'm sure your being there as a 4H leader had an affect that has touched so many.... including Greg. emoticon

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CASSIOEPIA 9/25/2011 11:09PM

    So sorry that you had this to deal with this weekend Maui. It is never an easy thing to hear, or in the days following.

You matter to me, because you have made me feel like I matter to you. I'm sure that Greg knew he was lucky to have had you in his life, and was grateful for all that you did for him.

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WOODHEAT 9/25/2011 7:56PM

    Why would you ever apologize for being serious? Sometimes the things we encounter in life is indeed very serious. You know this - I know this.

I'm not sure there's anything more devastating than loneliness! This seems like something that should be so obvious to everyone, yet how often do we see people that are different get mistreated or ridiculed by so very many people. The amount cruelty always amazes me. Everyone needs to feel good about themselves, but the "do onto other" thing seems not to apply anymore. I don't understand.

Maui, he was at least lucky to have had you in his life.

BTW - we here on the deck are lucky also to have you in our lives as well.

Hold onto that compassion.
Your buddy,

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CHOCLAHOLIC 9/25/2011 7:45PM

    Oh Maui.... I'm so sorry! I know how you feel (my nephew committed suicide when he was just a teenager... so I can relate to the shock and the grief you are going through) Hugs to you my friend, and when you're ready, know that all your friends and family (both real and "virtual") are here for you!

Luv & hugs..... Choc

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