Overheard at a bikecoholic’s meeting once, “Hi my name is Dave, and I am a bikeoholic.”
I guess that must be me, it seems I spend a lot of my time, thoughts, and plans riding or thinking about riding a bicycle. My day job supports my habit. When my doctor told me I needed shoulder surgery and that I would be off the bike for at least 4 weeks, probably more, my immediate fears were not about the risk, the pain, or what would it cost me. My first thoughts were how do I survive not bicycling for all that time. What the heck was I going to do with myself for all that time.
But 4 weeks did come and go. I did survive. The time did pass, in spite of my fears of not knowing what I was going to do and thinking I would be going terminally insane.
So after 4 weeks I went and visited with my surgeon. I asked for a release to go back to work, because I knew I needed that so I could get back out and ride. He agreed, and told me to expect pain, and to be careful, that I would still be healing for several months.
That was Thursday, Friday morning I rolled my bicycle out the front door, down the front steps, into the street, threw my leg over the cross bar, clipped my feet into the pedals and headed down the street to the trails and gravel roads, like I've done over 1000 times before.
Much like a pilot's initial checks of the cock pit, we cyclists often make multiple physical and mental checks the first minutes on the bike especially when the bike and rider haven’t been ridden for some time. My feet felt right in the clips, seat is adjusted just right, tires pressure feels good, and there are no unusual noises. I take note of what clothing I am wearing and how it feels with the outdoor temps, and wind speed. I go through my mental check list, food, fluids, multi tool, spare tube, patch kit, air pump, lights, and so on and so forth are all on board.
That’s enough of that, as I settle into the ride. My cadence becomes rhythmic, hypnotic, it feels just like how I remembered it did, as I head down the road, over the bicycle paved path, onto the single path trail, and out past the city limits and I’m loving it.
Ice kept me on my toes, eyes watching for every detail in front of me. Sometimes holding my breath afraid my heart beat alone would be enough to start my tire sliding sideways and me slamming down on the frozen hard ground. Then I would find patch of gravel, and then snow and the riding tenseness would let up. Then another patch of ice and all senses alerted, on guard again. For reasons most wouldn’t understand I enjoyed that challenge, I felt alive again, I pedaled on.
Saturday, more of the same, and planning Sunday for the same.
Seems like life as I know it has settled quickly back to ‘normal’ and those 4 weeks of not riding already seem like a long long time ago.