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Old 01-14-13, 01:09 PM   #1
Gerryattrick
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What has cycling done for you?

I rode bikes a lot until my late 20s then family stuff & other sports got in the way. I sold my bikes and then, when I reached 60, I decided that cycling would be a good way to keep fit in retirement, so bought a couple of old bikes, made one good one up and started again.

Not long after that my wife got taken seriously ill, spending 10 months in hospital, one month in a coma. The first few weeks went by in a daze – I was on autopilot hospital visits, unable to rest throughout the day – and my family persuaded me I couldn't go on like that, and that I had to get out of the house more often.

So I signed up for a charity bike ride for the hospital in a few months time and went out riding every day for between 1 & 2 hours. I think it saved my sanity, just the rhythm of the riding and the peace of the countryside. I collected more than 1350 ($2000). I've kept the riding up, although not every day, and still enjoy every ride.

To fill my days I also got back into bike renovation and in addition to the riding I've built up all my own bikes, sold more than 40, and now volunteer at a community bike workshop.

So I really do owe a lot to bikes and biking.

P.S. My wife has made a good recovery and now feels confident enough to go on our first foreign holiday in five years to Italy (where I hope to go on a ride or two).

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Old 01-14-13, 02:39 PM   #2
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Nothing quite so dramatic.

Used to ride quite a bit up through my 20s. Then in my 30s I developed some type of a foot/shoe/pedal problem where my right foot would start really hurting after about 5 miles. That put me off the bike for about 15 years. Last year at my physical (I was going to describe as "annual physical", but it had been more years than I care to admit) my primary care physician said my blood pressure was too high, and I needed to lose some weight, or he was going to start me on blood pressure meds. That was the motivation I needed to give up the weekly family-size bags of potato chips and other salty snacks, and get back on my bike (at least 5 days a week although most days are on the fluid trainer). A year later my BP is back down to where it belongs, and I've lost about 30 pounds. I'd like to drop another 15 pounds, but realistically I'll settle for 10 pounds.

Congrats on your accomplishments and great news about your wife.

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Old 01-14-13, 02:46 PM   #3
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It caused me to get off the couch, lose 35 pounds, get taken off all my meds, become a pedal junkie and cost me a small fortune. Other than that, not much.
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Old 01-14-13, 03:30 PM   #4
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My wife and I have been riding our entire adult lives. We are just rec riders but enjoy it just the same. A couple of years ago I wasn't feeling very well while at the Grand Canyon biking. I just put it down to both age and altitude. Still we were able to bike the entire South Rim Greenway and had a perfect time. By the time we got back to the flatlands all seem well. We did our usual summer tours and all and headed back to Fl at the end of October. I started feeling bad again but thought it was just my asthma kicking in as well as my PD. He put me back on a bunch of meds. By November 1st I couldn't do my usual 24 mile ride so off to walk in care. They did an EKG and send me directly to the ER. After a pile of tests plus a heart cath they discovered I have CHF (Congestive Heart Failure), non-ischemic cardiomyopathy, with an EF (Ejection Fraction) of about 15%. Normal range is between 50 and 60%. I was put on a new pile of meds, changed the diet to a low sodium one (currently about 500mg/day) and referred to Shands, U of Fl, teaching hospital for possible heart transplant.

For the first month or so walking to the mailbox was a biggie. But by the middle of Dec. I was back on the bike doing a whole 8 miles or so. All the time my GP was telling me I would be back on the bike while my original Cardio guy was not too sure. Glad I listened to the the GP. His take was I was a healthy 63... just had a bad heart. All my current doctors agree that if I wasn't using my bike as I did before my CHF, I wouldn't have returned to where I am now.

Within 2 months I was back to riding around 24 miles/days..... remember I live in FL and we don't have anything thing that really can be called a hill. During our summer trip to PEI were were riding 40 miles or so. I credit my return to the living to both the meds and the bikes. Now have the best HD in Fl and still the original pump. My last 3 Echos still show that my EF hasn't improved but I'm currently considered to be in class 1(not symptomatic). In fact I feel the best I have in years. In fact after adding up our mileage last year we did over 7,000 miles on the bikes. I figure I'll be around for a few more years. In fact we just treated ourselves to new rides...


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Old 01-14-13, 03:56 PM   #5
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I got into cycling 22 years ago to retain the bit of fitness I still had as a residual from the running I had stopped 10 years earlier. It worked.
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Old 01-14-13, 04:49 PM   #6
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Ok let's see, so many things:
- Gave me a way to deal with the loss of my dear wife in August 2010 (a major life changing event for me)
- Gave me a way to do something other than work (stressful enough) and just be at home after work
- Gave me a way to make new friends (cycling people are just good citizens in my experience)
- A good way to exercise and accomplish things that many can't believe...even me.. 18 months ago I never imagined I would be pushing 12K miles on a bike.
- An excellent way to just clear my head...boy do I need that sometimes
- Lot's of suffering on road rides and "enjoying it" when they are done, really!
- Created hopefully a lifelong addition to cycling
- Makes me feel better just to accomplish something that most people will never even try
- Oh yeah, it's just fun most of the time and that's saying a lot

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Old 01-14-13, 04:53 PM   #7
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Cycling has given me back my health and helped me manage the Renal Failure I have. After 16 surgeries from 2000 through 2010, for my abdomen and back, I was worn out and the MRSA I contracted was beating the living daylights out of me with daily infusions of mega antibiotics. I used bicycling to help me shed 42 lbs so far since July 2012 and keep my renal lab numbers at bay to where the doctor has actually told me to be sure I keep doing what I am, just don't let yourself dehydrate, or else. I can now get out of the house and ride everyday and feel good doing it.

Gerry, glad that your wife has recovered.

Bill
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Old 01-14-13, 05:26 PM   #8
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Cycling brings freedom. I love feeling of raw disconnect when being on the open road riding from town to town. Nothing in life can compare.
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Old 01-14-13, 05:55 PM   #9
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Cycling has enabled me to stay healthy and indulge my competitive urges without beating up my body. My college football years left me with an ankle that can't endure any real running so cycling might be the only way I can get the aerobic exercise I need.
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Old 01-14-13, 06:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John_V View Post
It caused me to get off the couch, lose 35 pounds, get taken off all my meds, become a pedal junkie and cost me a small fortune. Other than that, not much.
Same here. Additionally, I've made new friends, have something interesting to talk about at parties, found a sport I actually enjoy, gotten involved in bike-related volunteer work, and proved my mother wrong...I actually can go out without wearing panties under my clothes and not get arrested!
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Old 01-14-13, 06:12 PM   #11
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Too much to mention. For starters:

Kept me from going postal.
Kept me from obesity.
Introduced me to some great people.
Saved me a lot of money.
Showed me a lot of the country.
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Old 01-14-13, 07:18 PM   #12
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Cycling has given me a new "carrot" to chase at the age of 55. Now that the joints greatly dislike anything that includes running, the bike is my exercise of choice.
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Old 01-14-13, 07:22 PM   #13
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got me out to visit other countries..
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Old 01-14-13, 07:32 PM   #14
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Increased my circle of acquaintances.
Created a new hobby.
Learned a lot more about the surrounding area I live in.
There is much less of me.
My yard has suffered greatly and cycling has lead me to annually put off painting the house and replacing the deck.
I've learned I'm not allergic to spandex.
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Old 01-14-13, 07:52 PM   #15
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When I ride I feel like I have merged with the Universe. Except when my feet get sore.
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Old 01-14-13, 08:03 PM   #16
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This past Saturday, the weather was so unexpectedly nice (mid-60's and dry) that I was able to ride 20 very, very pleasant miles at 16.4 mph and then arrive at the local CarX and be totally unfazed, in fact OK, with paying a grand to replace front shocks/struts/whatever on our 2001 Mazda Bike-Hauler. Bicycling helps me cope.
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Old 01-14-13, 08:39 PM   #17
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I have always been a cyclist, since I learned to ride as a child. It's hard to separate what cycling has done vs what life has done; I don't know what my life would have been like without bikes.

My bicycle freed me to go beyond my neighborhood, into the countryside
On a bicycle I courted my future wife
On a tandem bicycle I shared unforgettable moments with my middle-school age daughter
Randonneuring taught me to question everything I believed about my limitations
When a business trip took me to Johannesburg, a bicycle brought me an incredible experience in Soweto

My love and pursuit of cycling has motivated me to do and see so many things... too many to list. Physical health, important as it is, seems secondary to the experiences I've had.
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Old 01-15-13, 01:35 AM   #18
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Cycling has enabled me to get to work, buy groceries, and go to all the other places I go every day. Otherwise I'd be speding a really long time walking to all those locations!
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Old 01-15-13, 07:21 AM   #19
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Ahh miss kenton now knows what I know.. The breeze past the knee's makes you feel at ease..

Say that three times fast XD
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Old 01-15-13, 08:53 AM   #20
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Quote:
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It caused me to get off the couch, lose 35 pounds, get taken off all my meds, become a pedal junkie and cost me a small fortune. Other than that, not much.
Me too...
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Old 01-15-13, 10:11 AM   #21
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Cycling has re-enabled the fun factor of being a kid. It has shown me the freedom, and lackadaisical attitude (when riding) that it always did. Helped me lose weight, and improve condition. It's made me feel younger than I am, and is just good, clean fun.
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Old 01-15-13, 10:23 AM   #22
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Gerryattrick>I am happy to hear of the recovery and holiday.
When I started riding I would say after 10 miles all problems of the day disappeared. Then 10 miles did not seem that far. Then I realized as soon as I hopped on the bike and left the driveway "everything" was great. Now since I have made a commitment to myself only to be as carlight as possible, the hassel of driving as disappeared. Bikes make everything sweeter, even the hot cocoa I stop and get on my winter rides
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Old 01-15-13, 10:54 AM   #23
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I've posted an answer to that question a couple of times, but it's long and, to me at least, boreing. I wonder what my life would be like today if I hadn't gotten involved in bicycling to the degree that I did.
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Old 01-15-13, 05:48 PM   #24
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I have no idea. The only real decision was at age 5 1/2 after reading Curious George Rides a Bike and deciding that if a monkey could ride a bike then I could teach myself. Going to University of California at Santa Barbara convinced me that car-free living was possible and by the time I left to live on my own I still didn't own a car. I bought one to facilitate finding a bride, and now 27 years later, I am again single and car-free. There has only been one job that I never commuted to by bicycle, and that was for 6 months. Bicycling is the one major decision I've had no reason to regret.
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Old 01-18-13, 08:09 PM   #25
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Gave me better fitness and a better way to see the local countryside , and that there are lightweight Schwinns
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