It’s just like riding a bike

The bicycle of my dreams was lime green with the banana seat.  And requisite floral plastic basket.  I spotted it around dawn, sitting upright thanks to a handy kickstand, sparkling under the lights of the tree in our living room, on a cold winter morning in 1968.

I logged millions of miles on that bike.  And acquired more than a few scars from the biking mishaps that befall someone who would, for example, attempt to stand on the banana seat while flying down the treacherous hill by her house.

At the age of 12, I scored a green 10 speed bike, which carried me well into my teenage years.  At some angst ridden point in my life, I began to prefer friends who had access to motorcycles and cars, and my bike sat unused, rusting, until finally the garbage men carted it off to a landfill.

The next time I climbed aboard a bicycle was shortly after we moved to Florida.  I was pushing 40, and my mother-in-law (who was 70 at the time) boasted about what good exercise she was getting riding her bike around the neighborhood.

My childhood flashed before me as I remembered beautiful summer days spent speeding down the road, wind in my hair, and sense of freedom that comes from being 10 and riding a bike at breakneck speed in an attempt to make it home by curfew.

Never to be outdone by my spry and fit MIL, I threw my leg over her bike, and took off down the cul de sac.  I made it about 20 feet before a pesky mailbox put an end to my fun.

Again, my childhood flashed before me.  But this time not in a good and youthful way.

I swore off bicycles after that.

And never thought seriously about getting on one ever again.

Imagine my excitement when I learned that a large portion of my knee rehab would be spent on a bicycle.  Although happily, this is of a stationary variety.  No mailboxes are likely to jump in front of me.  Or so they say.

I have up until now, not been able to get my legs to complete a full revolution.  And it’s embarrassing, really.  I just go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.  Even the 112 year old woman sitting next to me is able to get the pedals all the way around.

Competitive as I am, I was completely determined to make it all the way around. So this became my prime directive in Physical Therapy.  As I had mentioned last week, my goal this week was to reach a 96 degree bend in my left knee.  Well. ON WEDNESDAY, I ACHIEVED 98 DEGREES.  I also was able to make a complete revolution on the P.T. bike going backwards AND FORWARDS.  CHAKALA-KA!!!

Today at the gym, I arrived determine to show off my new found skill to those other gym-goers who stare as I clomp by on one crutch.  After a good 30 minute warm-up, in which I worked up a sweat thanks only to a hot flash, I achieved only the backward pedal revolution.  Disappointing, yes.

And truth be told, I may have overdone it, as I am hobbling around now with an ice pack duct taped to my knee.

DARN MY COMPETITIVE SPIRIT.

Undaunted, next week, I will not only achieve a 100 degree bend, BUT I’M GOING TO STAND UP ON THE SEAT OF THE BICYCLE.  The wind in my hair will be courtesy of the industrial fan provided by the gym.

And traction will be thoughtfully guaranteed through our insurance company.

July 16, 2010

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