Sunday, June 27, 2010
I'm fortunate to have some good friends who are avid bicyclists and I mentioned my dilemma to one of them. She was quite concerned and spoke with her husband, also a big-time cyclist. They arranged to have the owner of the bicycle shop meet with the three of us and check out the situation to see what could be done to make my new hobby less painful. We loaded up my bike and headed to the store where I demonstrated how I started, stopped, etc.; the owner asked questions about how different things felt, and then we waited while he went into the store. A few minutes later he came out with a different bike, which he called "semi-recumbent". The pedals, instead of being directly under the seat, were moved forward several inches, and the seat was a bit lower than on my bike. "Try this one", he said. I found that the lower seat made getting on - and off - the bike much easier! And the pedals, being moved forward just a bit, gave me the leg extension that I needed -- my knees were no longer crunched up; riding was now much easier and pain-free!! Whoo-hoo!!! I cruised around the parking lot with a big smile on my face. Now I could start flying again like I had when I was growing up. Now, even at age 55 and with way to many excess pounds, I could re-capture that feeling of freedom with the wind in my hair!!
I was amazed that just the slight changes in pedal placement and seat height could make such a difference. I had always thought of a 'recumbent' bike as being one where the rider was 'laying down', but this semi-recumbent kept me in an upright position much the same as the regular bike had, just pain-free. My friends and the owner made me promise to wear a helmet when I rode, which I hadn't been doing before, even though I was falling regularly. So now, I cruise my neighborhood, various parks, and the 'greenway bike path' down by the river. When my grandkids come to visit, we all go bike riding (they have helmets now too!). I'm building my way up to riding to work this Fall, and hopefully next year will ride in some of the biking events in our area.
With the help of SparkPeople, I'm tracking my food and exercise, and I'm losing the excess weight, slowly but surely. I love the way I feel when I'm riding. I realize that I'm still overweight, but even just putting out the effort of getting on the bike and riding makes me feel more fit; I'm doing something to be kind to my body and it's thanking me with less pain and more energy. I know that I'll be able to reach my goal and I plan on enjoying the adventures that come along the way. And my inner child is rejoicing at the freedom of flying with the wind in her hair!!!