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Old 01-13-20, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by matimeo View Post
I haven't commuted to work on my bike in over four months because I ruptured my achilles tendon and had to have surgery. Prior to that I commuted by bike every day of the year. It has been a long four months and I've missed my daily rides. The doctor just gave me the all-clear to start riding again on the outdoor bike. This is such a difficult injury to recover from and I'm so glad I have this community to return to for support. Has anybody else had a similar experience, and what was it like getting back into the saddle?
A bulging disk in my neck kept me off the bike for a year from Sept 2010 to Sept 2011. It was pure, unrelenting agony for the first 3 months. Although I was unsure if I'd ever ride again, my goal was to get back to bike commuting. After 6 months the pain subsided enough to allow me to walk the treadmill for 40 minutes at a time. I needed my endorphines and I wanted to build my cardio back up, so I did the treadmill every morning at first, and then after a couple months before work and after returning home. I even got to the point where I was actually running on the treadmill. I even wore out the tread and walked through the house and office/warehouse waiting for the new tread to arrive. (Turns out, if you can do light bicycle mechanics, you can replace a treadmill tread).

Finally, when the doctor and I agreed I could ride, I first took a short ride through the neighborhood to make sure it wouldn't trigger another episode.

I quickly realized that my cardio was probably up to the 9 mile ride to the office, but just a short ride through the neighborhood killed my legs, as if I had ridden all day. It's really hilly here in Colorado Springs. So I spent a few evenings and weekends building my distance. I finally rode halfway to work and back without my legs giving up...Except for the hills, which I walked the bike up.

So a year after I stopped riding, I rode to work for the first time. And upon arriving at work I broke down and cried. Then I went into the empty warehouse and gave a few victorious yells. And although I'm not the most religious person I said a shehechiyanu, the jewish prayer for reaching milestones.

Even now, a little over 8 years later I still get teary-eyed thinking about it how much I wanted to be able to return to bike commuting, when I didn't know for sure I would even be able to ride at all.

Of course,my legs needed to build up more strength. It's mostly downhill to work, but mostly uphill on the way back. I had to walk the bike up hills I used to not give a second thought to. And at 49 years old, it took me 6 months to get my muscle strength back to where I felt I was at the time a year before. At least my cardio was up to snuff, thanks to 6 months of the treadmill.

Since then I've been riding like I have something to prove. I've pushed my low temperature threshhold down. I bought studded snow tires. I found rain gear and ride in the rain on purpose.

Every time I commute past the spot where the disk in my neck bulged into contact with the neighboring nerve and literally stopped me in my tracks for a year, I realize how lucky I am to have been able to ride again.

@matimeo I wish you success in your recovery and return to daily bike commuting. I know exactly how you feel.
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