It has been a long road of recovery and it isn't over yet, but Annie got up on her bike today and rode for about 10 minutes around an empty parking lot. she didn't feel like she could come with me on a morning ride just yet. So far, stopping is the biggest problem, but she is definitely getting there. Go Annie!
What a beautiful day for a ride. Once again I forgot my camera, but Bike Freedom Valley was my first re-entry to riding beyond the loop and after only a week plus back on the bike after Annie's surgery I expected to ride maybe 15 miles out to around Conshohocken and back. But I felt good and made it to Valley forge for a 48 mile round trip. Perfect way to spend Father's Day except that in past year's Annie was with me. Not this year. I came home to be taken out to lunch by my son, and pick out an Utley Phillies jersey as a gift. Great day. Despite riding alone I met enough people I know during the course of the day to keep me from feeling bad.
Yes, it has been over seven weeks since Annie had her knees replaced and I would say she is half-way back to normal. She is more and more independent, still in moderate pain, still using a cane, still bedeviled most by the arrangement of our four story house. It has not been more difficult than the doctors predicted, but I don't think we ever internalized how difficult what they were telling her was going to be. On top of that the nerve problem that developed in her left foot resulting in foot drop for which she must wear a brace has complicated things. On that front, she has been getting improved control and some sensation and movement in the foot so the doctors predictions that it would also return to normal appear to be on target. However, they caution that that could take up to a year, as nerve damage heals slowly.
So for six of the last seven weeks I have been off the bike. I was needed to care for her, especially in the morning before I went to work. Again, the stairs in our house were the main issue. But I started back on the bike last Friday and have not missed a day since. I felt better than I expected, though didn't dare try a double loop even over the weekend with the Drives closed to traffic. My stamina was definitely down and I'm carrying more weight to boot.But that's been coming back and on Monday morning I managed a double without too much problem. In general my speed is still slow, but I'm getting there. I signed up for Bike Freedom Valley on Sunday with the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia. Two years ago Annie and I did this ride all the way to Valley Forge, a first for her...a ride I used to do almost weekly, but now I don't think I'm ready for. I'll see. I may take a chance and go all the way, but more likely I will do a shorter ride. Either way it will be great to be out there and with a crowd.
I haven't had time to focus on taking any new pictures lately. Might try to take my camera with me on Sunday. Should get a shot of the new South Street Bridge whose progress I haven't been following since I haven't been out there. But now I can see that the span is up and it is excitedly looking like it will be back in good time.
It has been a good week of riding. I started out feeling pretty slow. I felt like one of the old men riding around the loop. Actually I am one of the old men riding around the loop, but when I can ride mostly at 14 mph and dance up the hills and inclines I don't feel like one of the old men. This week I couldn't do that after not riding for most of the last four months. Because of holiday scheduling my first five rides could be started in the morning light,which really helped. By yesterday, back on regular schedule actually felt good. I was up at 4:45 and out at 5:40 and finally, near the end of the ride felt closer to normal. Starting out on the weekend with the drives closed to traffic also helped.I thought that it wouldn't be a bad idea to take a break day soon and this morning the weather accommodated. It is raining and instead of riding I'm blogging. All told I've put on about 85 miles this week and took off about 2 pounds. Not bad for the first week of the season. Since I've missed three months of the new year I'm not making any predictions about my total mileage this year, but I will try to track it anyway.
I still haven't had time to stop and take any pictures, but when I can I will snap one of the new span of the South Street Bridge. Yes, the span is up, which was a pleasant sight my first day out.
The winter just ended was a killer. It was the first winter that stopped me cycling since I began some four years ago. I was already slowing down in November and December, finding myself unable to battle the cold as I'd done in previous years. then the first of three substantial snow falls fell in late December and I didn't get out on the road from then until about two weeks ago when we had a sudden warm-up that didn't last. But the last few days have been real spring and while there may still be some temperature fluctuation it feels like we're back in business.
Despite putting on a bit of weight and losing some stamina, the break wasn't so bad. My enthusiasm needed a rest. And not blogging also gave me a chance to escape the feeling of deadline pressure that I'd created for myself. It feels good to be back.
I wish I had a good photo to illustrate this weekend's riding. It was the first weekend that the West River Drive was closed to cars and it was really great being out, though after Friday's weather I had expected it to be a little warmer.
And I wish that I could report that Annie and I rode the loop (not ready for a double loop yet) together.. But alas in the intervening months since winter sidelined us Annie's knees have deteriorated to the point that see requires replacements. She will be having both knees replaced a week from tomorrow and will, obviously not be riding with me for some months. We are hoping she will be back on the bike, better than ever, by July. In fact, we may register for the New York Bike Clubs Hudson Valley ride on August 22 and make it our goal to get her back by then.
We rode in the third annual BikePhilly for the third year and had a great time. We met up with Denine early on but she rode with the fast riders and we stuck with the "leisurely" riders. We met Terry in that group but separated from her almost at the chaotic beginning of the ride. It seems like everything conspired to make sure Annie and I rode by ourselves, as usual. We were slowed a bit going through the city by a fire truck that interrupted the otherwise car-free ride. there seemed to be more of the city blocked off to cars and the ride through town was really nice, though I find it nerve wracking because of the crowds and the novice riders,not to mention the obviously not novice riders speeding by as if they were in the Tour de France. Once we exited the city streets and entered the Fairmount Park area I relaxed and we had a great ride.
This year, for the first time, we rode the 35 mile ride. After the rest stop in Fairmount Park we exited into traffic. The ride took us the Oak Park, Merion, and other places in the near Main Line. Lovely riding and not too much traffic. We were certainly not among the first, but not among the last either...yet. When we arrived at the next rest stop past Merion we had a nice break for food, water, facilities and conversation. As we turned to leave we found our bikes had fallen and The front wheel of Annie's bike had become wedged so that the handle bars were stuck facing the wrong way!I actually can't quite explain what happened. But there was a repair tent set up so we just walked it over there. Unfortunately we were fourth in line and the mechanic, a lovely guy, really took his time with each person, explaining what the problem was and how they could avoid it next time etc. He was actually very nice but by the time he got to me I must have waited some 20 minutes. The "repair" took about 2 seconds and we were on our way but I'm sure we were now among the very last on the ride. We negotiated the cue sheet ourselves successfully, there was no one in sight to follow, and we made it back to the start safely and happy. We spent a little time at the finish line festival, picked up our T shirts from Sarah of the Bicycle Coalition and headed home. All in all a great morning! thank you Bicycle Coalition.
The first week of September is gone and our mileage continues to build. We rode a good deal this weekend but the long shadow of autumn is upon us and the time for riding more than a loop, and even that, is dwindling. With the Fall holidays all falling on weekends and with my weekday schedule hitting full steam ahead this week, riding will diminish and blogging even more so. In fact, since I can't seem to find much of interest to say these days, I am planning a blog hiatus. I will leave the blog page up because of what I think are the many interesting links it may provide some people, especially novices. And I may write from time to time. I will try to keep the mileage chart updated, but that's about it for regular posts for now. I will write next after BikePhilly and then take an indefinite break. I will thank you all for your interest then.
I am a 64 year old Conservative Rabbi, published theologian and professor of Jewish Philosophy. I have also published two books of poetry and have recently become an avid cyclist along with my wife of 40 years.
I write two blogs, Bicycle-Musings and Pipe Pulpit.
In the news section of one of his early Fredcasts David told the story of one Ludwig from Znnin Poland who at 84 years of age went out for a ride on his bike. To make a longer story short (and you really should listen to the podcast to get all the details) Ludwig ended up in London, England! So I figure if (again, according to the explanation on The Fredcast #1) a Fred is someone who not only rides a bike but is severely attracted to the gadgets and accessories of a certain bike-cultural look (and I guess I'm a Fred without the financial resources to really express my Fredness) then a Ludwig could be anyone over the age of 55 who is not only a Fred, but also loves to just keep riding eating up the miles pretty much unconcerned with speed. Go Ludwig! I'm a Ludwig. Maybe someday I'll figure out podcasting and do a Ludwigcast.