Saturday, March 1, 2014

Biking to nowhere

I don't want to complain about winter.  OK, I will.  This winter has seemed exceptionally long and cold, and it's not over yet.  We have had days of blizzards, -30 wind chill, and freezing rain this year.  The road I have to drive to go anywhere sometimes drifts shut.  Work has been busy, with sometimes contentious conference calls and meetings.  I haven't been getting outside to exercise as much as I normally do.

Many times, I have been defaulting to this:

My exercise bike.  Photobomb by Zoey.
I bought this bike in 1998 when I tore the ACL in my left knee.  After surgery, running, my main form of exercise back then, was impossible.  I couldn't even do my job as a firefighter.  I brought the bike home and somehow squeezed it into a 400 square foot apartment.  The first day I climbed on it, I couldn't turn the pedals in a full revolution.  It hurt.  I was frustrated.  But I kept trying and eventually I was biking.  The bike saw me through the long recovery.

It has traveled with me ever since, moving to houses in Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, and Montana.  It once spent a stint on consignment in a used sports equipment store, but nobody bought it and I missed it, so I took it back home.  On days where it gets dark before I can exercise, or it's too snowy or icy or cold, I still ride it.

Riding my bike, I watch TV shows I usually don't see (something about people looking for gold in Greenland, and people who weigh 600 pounds) and I get caught up on magazines.  I can look outside and see snow falling on the trees and deer walking through the forest. 

It's kind of boring.  It's not like running in the woods, or hiking up a mountain.  It's not even like riding a real bike.  I'm not going anywhere.  But it makes my legs stronger, and builds different muscles than running or the elliptical.  And I'll never forget how this bike saved me when I was a broken runner who didn't know if I'd be able to hike or climb or run again.  Riding it, I felt some sense of control, and eventually the hope that I would have a full recovery.  If I move again, it's coming with me. 


  1. It's good to have another activity for cross training purposes. Looks like this bike has earned its keep!

  2. Aw, what a faithful bike. It has been a long, cold winter...and I think the whole nation is over it. Hang in there, spring has to be around the calendar says so!!!

  3. Photobomb by Zoey--hilarious. Yes, I'd definitely keep an "old faithful" like this as long as you can--for the memories of how it helped you heal, if for nothing else. I enjoy your posts!


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