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Old 10-05-04, 07:01 AM   #1
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Return to bike after bypass

Having had a double bypass 3 weeks ago I am wondering how soon anyone has jumped back on their bike after their surgery. My doc suggested that I wait for a couple of months not because of my inability to push myself, but his concern is any crash. He's worried that the chest needs at least that amount of time to heal. I am inclined to go with his judgement but really think that the excerise value could equal or be greater then the risk. (of course that means riding in an area that minimizes the risk of a crash) Any thoughts?
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Old 10-05-04, 07:15 AM   #2
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I'd agree with your doctor, risk of injury due to a crash
is enough that I would avoid riding.
however, you might want to discuss riding on a trainer/stationary.
Although I'm a big proponent of rollers I would not suggest them in
this case.

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Old 10-05-04, 08:18 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by wyobiker
Having had a double bypass 3 weeks ago I am wondering how soon anyone has jumped back on their bike after their surgery. My doc suggested that I wait for a couple of months not because of my inability to push myself, but his concern is any crash. He's worried that the chest needs at least that amount of time to heal. I am inclined to go with his judgement but really think that the excerise value could equal or be greater then the risk. (of course that means riding in an area that minimizes the risk of a crash) Any thoughts?
After I had both my knees replaced a big part of my rehab was
a Schwinn AirDyne stationry bike. I found one <like new> used
and use it regulally when I can't ride outside. This might be
a solution for you as well. AirDynes go fairly cheap used and
are so well built they last forever. I ride mine in the
winter months everyday to keep my cardio & legs in shape for
summer rides.
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Old 10-05-04, 01:56 PM   #4
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Take it easy. Better to ride on a trainer in the controlled environment of the home or the gym where you can be quickly helped, than to be on the road (or off) and a long way from home or hospital if you need it. You will surely need to do some cardio rehab training. Listen to what they say, and listen to your body!
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Old 10-07-04, 09:19 PM   #5
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I had the surgery 4 years ago. I tried to do too much rehab and went back to work too soon and actually separated the rib cage to where I had a rubbing noise in my chest when with certain moves. Went back to the surgeon and he scared the living bejeebers out of me - He said that I had to do virtualy noting but eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom for 2 weeks and let the wound heal back up or he would have to go back in and rewire the rib cage back together. I did exactly like he said.
I waited a few weeks after that to start rehabing and now everything is fine.
I have a friend that had this surgery and 7 weeks later rode in a 150 mile MS ride. I was pretty amazed and jealous.
Take it easy, your body has been through a lot. You don't want to chance a fall and prolong your healing time. You'll have lots of time to enjoy riding later.
Best of luck.
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Old 10-08-04, 05:52 AM   #6
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Thanks all! I appreciate the wisdom and kind words. I have decided to do the stationary thing for the present and maybe in a month (after seeing my progress) hit the actual road. I seen my heart specialists this week and both agreed that I was doing amazing well but they cautioned me on trying to overachieve.
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Old 10-08-04, 03:42 PM   #7
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I was riding some within 6 weeks of bypass but looking back it didn't seem too smart. The chest is what I would be afraid of hurting too. At 6 weeks though you feel like being very careful and very slow. Dosen't seem like I got much exercise but it sure was nice to do it!!!
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Old 10-10-04, 07:52 AM   #8
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Over achiever here also

Started driving 3 weeks after and riding 4 weeks. Now I realize how VERY lucky I was

and how stupid. Listen to the surgeon, his rep is on the line as is your recovery
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Old 10-10-04, 09:11 AM   #9
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While I have decided to back off on the bike I have started to drive - Doctor's approval of course. The other thing is that I have started back to work exactly 3 weeks to the day of the surgery. I think it did more good for my mental frame then anything. I promised the doc I would take it easy for the next 3 weeks and I plan on doing just that. Unfortunately I have an extremely high stress position but so far have been able to slow it down so I am not running 100 MPH all the time. Luckily I am heading for Hawaii for some R & R on Wednesday so that will help.
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Old 10-17-04, 11:53 AM   #10
Time for a change.
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I was back on the bike 3 weeks after a triple. Very gently of course, just a couple miles, and was dragged onto it by my regular riding partner. 6 weeks later with new riser bars, and a new set of suspension forks to take the pain out of lumps in the trail, I did a 30miler off-road, but the heart rate never got above 130. The beta-blockers probably kept it low, but that ride made me realise that there was more to sitting around and stagnating. 9 weeks after the Bypass did a 50 miler on the road, and got the H.R.back up to 165 up a hill, but it rose to my Max of 172, whilst standing next to the ambulance, waiting for something to happen. Nothing did, so have kept riding ever since. That was 5 years ago, But Still ride with a Heart Monitor, and limit my upper HR to 165, for an age of 57. Limits don't count when other riders fall off on a technical climb, and only today saw 172 when the three 40 year olds I ride with got off and walked the last steep bit of the last hill.
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Old 10-18-04, 02:02 AM   #11
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I would suggest staying off the bike. You might try wind training though.

The reason for staying off the bike is that it is not hard to experience cheat trauma in a fall. I know quite a few people who have broken ribs in crashes and even some at surprisingly low speeds. You have a great big old weak spot right now and subjecting it to trauma could cause you to .... well that does not even bear thinking of.
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Old 10-18-04, 07:43 PM   #12
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take it easy at first. You may want to try spin cycling at the Y first before going road cycling again. george
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Old 10-19-04, 07:38 AM   #13
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Thats what they told my dad,dont because if you crash. After about 3 months he was abit scared to get back on his CD R600 so he got a hybrid with bigger tires but after awhile missed his CD so he went back and was good to go. Pretty good for 78.
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Old 03-20-05, 02:20 PM   #14
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I had a double CABG about ten months ago.

As a keen cyclist, I was anxious to resume as soon as possible after surgery (indeed, I rode over 150 miles in the week leading up to surgery including a gentle 30 miler on the morning of the operation!).

I prepared carefully, by setting up my most upright bike on a turbo trainer in the garage. Cycling outdoors was forbidden by my surgeon, in case I fell off.

Returned home after three days and resumed cycling and walking next day (5 minutes cycling and 30 minutes walking). After a week at home I was cycling 10 miles and walking 4 miles daily).

Allowed outside after four weeks, and that first ride in the fresh air was magical! Ten miles in 70 minutes, but I wasn't bothered.

At all times I rode conservatively, keeping the heart rate down to below 130 bpm. This meant very slow progress uphill, but I didn't mind as I knew that things should improve.

After about seven weeks I was back to cycling 150 miles a week, including a 50 miler. This was quite easy to achieve because I was off work, and so had lots of time to rest and recover.

To cut a long story short, I experienced a couple of bad times when I overdid things and gave myself a shock, but despite this I have made an excellent recovery so far.

Five or so years ago (pre-artery blockage) I would expect to cycle 50 undulating miles in about 3hrs 30/35mins. It took me 6 months to break the 4 hour barrier (by 25 seconds!) and I regarded that as a significant milestone.

Last week, I did 50 miles in 3hrs 46 mins and I was really happy.

Although I felt great by 6 months, it has only been in the last few weeks that my resting heart rate has returned to near pre-operation levels. It was around 48 before surgery, but stuck at around 60 until recently - it sometimes briefly goes below 50 now. I reckon that the heart needs as least 9 months to recover from major surgery.

Hills no longer appear as a threat - although I still ride them conservatively, I am now more comfortable about raising the heart rate to above 150 bpm (I take no medicine except for Apsirin 75mg, so there are no restrictions to my heart rate).

So my advice is simple - get back on the bile as soon as possible. Ride gently, and your body will tell you when it is ready for a bit more effort.

Hope this helps.


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Old 03-22-05, 12:04 PM   #15
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One year ago March 16th I had a quadruple bypass. Two weeks after the surgery I saw my surgeon (who bore a striking resemblence to Dougie Houser) and specifically asked about getting back on the bike. He joked as to whether I planned to ride home 30 miles away....but seriously he suggested some very common sense things. First of all not to initially push myself too body has been through quite a jolt...if you get to see an xray of your chest wired together like the safety wires on a airplane engine you begin to realize the extend of what you have been through. Most importantly initially he focused on not getting into any situation that might lead to a fall. Not wanting to go through a repair on his work I chose to cool it. The following week I did get back on and ride up and down the street.I found it very uncomfortable on my road bike, and thus used my sons mountain bike for a while. for me a more than adequate restart to my cycling. As I went through a hospital directed cardiac rehab program I began to utilize their stationary bikes more and more...inspired I might add by a very large poster of Lance A. hanging at the front of the rehab facility.
By the time I finished the 36 rehab sessions a month and a half later, I was back on my bike regularly, and without pushing myself too hard could easily do 25-30 miles. I would suggest working with your cardiologist, and a rehab program if available. The bypass creates new passageways for the blood supply but we can still have some serious problems if we jump back into play too quick. One of the sad parts of the rehab was meeting folks who had been back two or three times for additional surgery because the took it upon themselves to "test the system".

All my best to you for a very speedy recovery...and welcome to the secret society of the zipper club.
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Old 04-10-05, 10:49 PM   #16
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I had a 5-way CABG a little over three years ago, at age 51. I took up cycling after the surgery, mostly because I found walking boring. I lost 71 lbs (went from 241 to 170), and there are few things in life I love as much as riding my road bike. I do 100 to 150 miles a week now, and I occasionally commute to work on my bike. I just did a 52 mile ride today, following a 41 mile ride yesterday. I'm a little slower than most (and faster than some), but as a 54-year-old guy with a rebuilt carburetor, I don't feel like I have to make excuses. We love riding the Rosarito-to-Ensenada 50 mile fun ride; hope to see you there on April 30th.

Joe Berk
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Old 04-12-05, 06:37 PM   #17
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Still recovering from broken femur and hip in a bike spill 6 months ago. They put me on a stationary recumbent as soon as I got out of the hospital. (4 weeks). I really wanted to get back on the road ASAP. The orthopedist said "I don't want to be the one to have to fix it if you break it again." I was back on the road, albeit tentatively after 6 weeks. Now, I'm back to work, commuting every day, but I have to use an electric power assist on my recumbent bike. I'll be limping for the rest of my life, but that's not going to stop me from riding.

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Old 04-17-05, 05:08 AM   #18
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Had the same last year, two heart attacks then a double bypass. Doctor would not let me get on the bike for a few months.

Puts a lo of pressure on you chest wound and dangerous if you come off.

I'm going well now doing about 20 Km every day.

Good Luck
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Old 05-06-05, 02:31 PM   #19
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I had a quadruple bypass in May of 2003 at age 48. A few months prior to that I had stopped riding due to chest pain. After surgery and rehab, I finally got back to riding some in about May of 2004. I now ride 100 miles a week or so and am getting ready for a couple of organized bike tours this summer. At my last visit with my cardiologist, I asked him if I should worry about "overdoing" it, for example, I rode 50+ miles the day before. He said no, that I could train for a marathon if I was so inclined, as long as I did it the "right" way, with proper diet, hydration, training regimen, etc. He also said that if I could ride a bike 50 miles, that I must be doing something right.

So, I guess I would say to follow your Doctor's advice and do whatever you feel is right for you.
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Old 05-10-05, 05:53 AM   #20
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hello redbikee,

I had a stroke 01/19/05 I was lucky.Started to ride again 10wks after.Only up to 8miles off road on sandy trails my doc said no more than 15 miles at this time. good riding.

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Old 05-11-05, 01:57 AM   #21
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I had a double bypass 12 months ago, and my experiences may help (59 yrs).

I have been a keen runner/cyclist for many years, so the shock of being told that I had a blocked artery was enormous ("But it can't happen to me with all the exercise!").

I actually looked forward to the surgery and prepared carefully for afterwards.

A bike was set up on the turbo trainer in the garage as I knew that I would be forbidden to cycle outdoors for a while. On the day of surgery I rode a gentle 30 miler "to keep my lungs clear".

After a total of 4 days in hospital I got back on the bike next day and did a very gentle 2 miles - this was mainly to make sure that getting on and off was OK. Within a week of returning home I was cycling 10 miles on the turbo and walking 4 miles.

The surgeon allowed me to cycle outdoors after 4 weeks - you can't believe how liberating this felt after weeks in the garage!

To shorten a very long story I have cycled every day since leaving hospital, usually about 150 miles per week, and always including a ride of 50 miles+.

Recently, I returned to gentle running. This is very slow (11/12 mins pace) but is much harder work than cycling where you can freewheel regularly to recover. I am now running 2 x week about 3/4 miles each time.

So, in a few words my answer is AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

I would be happy to provide more detailed information if you want to get in touch.



p.lucas at
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Old 06-05-11, 06:34 PM   #22
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59 Years Old Triple Bypass and Stroke One Year Ago

I know these are old posts. I saw this and had to respond to all that had the surgery. My hats off to you. Its something that you'll never forget. I love to ride my bike daily if the weather is dry. We are so lucky we got a new lease on life. Ride till you can't anymore.
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