Well, I got my arm out of the cast Tuesday, had a couple of physical therapy sessions this week (which I get to repeat for the next few weeks), and started riding my new bike. Technically, the doctor said "in a week" so I really shouldn't have started until tomorrow. But I adjusted the seat to the right height Saturday and couldn't resist a few short rides up and down the street where I live. Sunday afternoon I adjusted the angle on the bars to put less weight on my arms in the drops, and that made it much more comfortable for my injured elbow, so I rode a few more laps up and down my street.
This evening I decided to take a short tour of the neighborhood streets. Finally, for the first time in a couple of decades, I was really riding! Zipping downhill, downshifting at the bottom and pedaling up the next hill, making sweeping turns in the culs-de-sac and heading out again; it felt wonderful! Sure, I'm way out of condition and was huffing and puffing like a steam locomotive by the time I came home, and I had to stop and walk the bike up a couple of the steepest hills, but that's part of the reason I'm doing this. If anything will build up my endurance again, this will, and it's so much fun in the meantime. I'd forgotten how good being tired can feel when it comes at the end of an energetic ride. Plus, I think it's better therapy for my arm than any of the exercises I've been given to do. My elbow has much better range of motion after each ride than at any time since my accident.
Now, I'd appreciate a bit of advice. This bike came with toe clips exactly like the ones I had on my old bike. I expected to have no trouble with them, but sometimes I seem to have a lot of difficulty getting both feet into them. I always start off with my right foot in the clip and try to slip my left foot in after a pedal stroke or two. Years ago it was very easy to do, but now I find myself spinning the pedal around and around before finally catching it just right. Sometimes it takes me a block or more to do it, and on the way home tonight I gave up and rode the last few blocks home with the left clip dangling uselessly from the bottom of the pedal.
I think the problem is that the pedals are different from my old bike's pedals. The old pedals had saw-tooth edges that protruded significantly beyond the reflector strips and made it easy for my shoe sole to grip and control the pedal's movement when flipping it over. These pedals have only a single "tooth" and the much thicker reflectors stick out farther than the tooth. My shoes tend to slip off the edge of the reflector and either spin the pedal completely around or else end up on top of the clip rather than inside it.
Is there some different technique that's needed for using clips on pedals like these, or am I just that much out of practice? I don't remember having anywhere near this much trouble when I first started using toe clips. Yes, I know some of you will say, "Get clipless pedals" but I'd really rather not as I like clips so much (when I can get my feet in them, at least).