Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Happy Cheyenne Bike Week

Me and my Peugeot, back in the day. Bob Page photo.
Happy Cheyenne Bike Week.

That's "bike" as in bicycle. Bike Week as in Harley Vroom Vroom is a totally different animal (see Sturgis or Daytona).

Bicycle Week celebrates two-wheeled people-powered transportation. Sometimes it can involve three wheels, as you see in recumbent bikes for us oldsters with bad and/or replaced knees. Kids sometimes navigate the greenway on their trikes or on training-wheel-assisted bikes. That actually makes four wheels. But you get my point.

I once was a knowledgeable cyclist, riding all the time and aware of all of the makes and models and gadgets.

No more. Arthritic knees did me in. Waited too long to get them replaced and the orthopedic doc had one heck of a time making me new again. My first new knee is not so new now, replaced in April of 2015. The second knee was replaced in February of this year. For that knee, I just finished rehab. I was supposed to be finished a monthly ago but my doc decided I needed more time with the good and caring people at rehab. Their motto: "It's supposed to hurt."

Enjoyed listening to NPR's "Here and Now" report on Monday on knee replacements. One thing brought up several times was the crucial nature of rehab. You are moving that knee before the anesthesia wears off. Actually, a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine is doing the bending for you. Up, down, up, down, up, down. Mesmerizing to watch. Teaming up with the machine are strolls around the hospital and then around your house, usually with the help of a walker or cane. A week after surgery, you are off to rehab. Someone else drives, as you can't use your right leg and your brain is scrambled with Percocet. Once there, the dedicated therapists get you to bend your knee in uncomfortable ways. You occasionally hear blood-curdling screams. Some of them are yours.

Back to bikes. Thee only bike you rise during your recovery is the recumbent bike in rehab. You may want to get back on the ten-speed or mountain bike and ride to Chugwater. But that would hurt too much. And you are still on drugs, which they don't cotton to in Chug.

I may never ride a bike to work again. First of all, I'm retired. Second, my bike needs some serious work, or I need to replace it with a 21st century super-bike that costs more than my monthly mortgage payment. One bike I looked at online today has the following attributes:

  • New frame with updated commuter friendly geometry
  • Carbon fork makes the bike lighter & reduces some of the vibrations for a smoother ride
  • Shimano Alfine i8 internal gear hub
  • Shimano hydraulic disc brakes
  • Gates belt drive

  • It is beginning to sound a bit like a $20,000 Harley, although the list of goodies would be much longer. Suffice to say, this $1,100 "Raleigh i8 Flat Bar Road Bike is the apex of the Cadent line of bikes." The apex of the Cadent? It must be good. And pretty typical of the type of bike I want.

    But there's a third thing that may prevent my return to cycling. Fear. Ever had a bike wreck? I've had several. No broken bones but plenty of lacerations. In my later years, I wore a helmet now and ride mainly on the greenway. My new bike undoubtedly will be street legal and I will obey all laws, which is what retirees pledge to do when presented with their Medicare card. But a spill may wreck my knees and I am not ready to face that pain again. NPR's report said it straight -- the pain is substantial and takes time to heal. Interviewees said they knew people who took their new knees back to the jogging trail and tennis court. The producer they interviewed said it took him a year to get to the almost-pain-free stage. I am not there yet. When I reach that apex, I expect it to be all downhill from there. That used to be my favorite part, flying down hills and mountain passses. But dangers awaited around every bend. Gravel. Slick spots. Animals. Human motorists. 

    My bike adventures from now on will take place on stationary conveyances. I can still manage a great workout and, unless I get the vapors, probably will stay aboard until the timer goes off and I can move on to the weight machines. And then to the showers. And then to the brewpub. Ever tried an Apex IPA? Me neither, but I keep searching. 


    RobertP said...

    Mike, don't know what is more stylish, the hair or the rolled up cuff on your right leg to keep it from getting caught in the bike chain. Millennials got nothing on us!

    I still have my Schwinn that got me around Gainesville for 4 years. Got it fixed up once and rode it and need to do so again. Should be a classic by now. Only had 2 accidents in Gainesville-once when I was riding to an early morning class (i.e before 10 a.m.) in the street and looked up just in time to see that this part of the street now had cars parked on it, but not in time to avoid the first parked car. The other one was due to my state of the art flexible hand brake; it had come off the handlebars so I just held it in my hand. Usually. Except the time I let it hang loose and saw it bouncing off the front tire. In a haze (early morning class again) and in slow motion, as it bounced off the tire, I thought if that hit the tire right it might be a problem. And concurrent with that thought, it hit inside the spokes and the bike came to an immediate stop, but I kept going.

    Good luck with the knees, no pain, no gain, and all that. Trying to keep my intact as long as possible. Off to find an Apex IPA.


    Michael Shay said...

    Still have your Schwinn? I see online that there is a market for classic bikes. Wish I still had my Peugeot that I bought in Gainesville. Gave it to my brother before moving to Denver in '78. Sea air and sand not good for bikes. Skinny tires not real functional either. Those fat tire bikes should be good for beach cruising. Take care of those knees. And good luck with the IPA search. Been to the Firehouse Brewpub in Rapid City? Great beers and pretty good food. Might have to go there in September.