Back in the Bike Lane

Life in the Bike Lane

Tom Frady


For those of you who just picked up a copy of this newspaper left on a chair at your local coffee hangout and accidently began reading “Life in the Bike Lane” thinking it was “Life Hacks for Millennials”, let me bring you up to date.


On June 2nd I had a serious bicycle accident. I had surgery to repair my pelvis and while the surgeons were in there, my hip was replaced.


I was told I could get back on my bike at twelve weeks. I cheated by two days. The accompanying photo is me waiting for my ride group in the shade of Sheridan Community Park, on the third ride of the rest of my life.


Crashing your bike when you’re a kid is different from having an accident when you’re old.


The ER is seldom involved when you’re ten.


Heck, we used to ride down the street at a high speed, jump off our bikes, landing on a pile of inner tubes, sending the bike into a wall of card board boxes. We probably had a sucker in our mouths and scissors in our hands, too.


Compare this to June when I was going 3 mph, hit the ground and couldn’t get up without the help of three EMTs and a gurney. I’m now (temporarily) a disabled senior citizen and have the placard to prove it.


I was released by the surgeons to get on a stationary bike six weeks after the surgery. I started on a stationary bike, sitting upright on a wide, over-padded seat. I was sore after just 10 minutes. I moved to a spin bike that was adjustable, which I set up as close to my road bike as possible. I was able to last 25 minutes.


Finally, I put my old road bike on a trainer in the garage, where it was usually over 95 degrees. Even in the morning. Even with a fan in my face. It felt good to be in my usual riding position. I watched old episodes of “Gunsmoke” on an iPad to help pass the time. A one hour episode without commercials is 48 minutes. Marshall Dillon shoots at least one hapless cowboy in every show.


Two years ago, I was diagnosed as being 70 years old, but before the accident, I was in pretty good shape, even though I hadn’t gotten any younger in the interim. I had ridden for 31 consecutive days in May and my accident happened 31 miles into a 545 mile ride I do every year. One loses ALL fitness after 2 – 3 months, but I did some sort of exercise three quarters of the days after leaving the hospital, so I wasn’t at ground zero.


The first ride was a bit scary. I was hyper-vigilant and uber-sensitive. I had to think about simple actions, like grabbing my water bottle and how to shift. But muscle memory soon kicked in and it was like, well, riding a bike.


I felt just fine after that first, short ride. I rode a little farther the next day and felt it in my legs that afternoon, but my surgically repaired hip didn’t hurt.


By the time you five loyal readers read this, I will have been back on my bike for a little less than three weeks. The pelvis/hip repair seems just fine, but boy howdy, my legs and knees need work. But, I am thankful to be back riding and writing.

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