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Your Last Ride

Old 04-28-19, 09:28 AM
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_ForceD_
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Your Last Ride

billnuke1's thread about his accumulation of bike stuff, and his future demise got me thinking again about a subject that crosses my mind frequently: my last ride. Not the last as in "previous." But, the last time I get on a bicycle and go for a ride. Have you ever thought about what the circumstances will be that lead to it being the last one? I asked this question on a runners forum a few years ago. People responded with comments like "As long as I can put one foot in front of the other...no matter how slow it is...I will still call myself a runner." or "As long as I can withstand the pain and discomfort...." Some said things like "I will probably get hit by a truck..." But you really don't know. You might acquire some debilitating injury, or some other unplanned 'event.' Personally, for me, I hope that it's someday many many years from now, when I can make peace with myself and be OK with not getting on a bicycle anymore. When I can accept that I just can't do it anymore. I get this picture in my mind of getting all ready for a ride, walking out into the garage (using a walker maybe) approaching my bike, and then before I throw my leg over it I say "I'm done." Kind of like Forrest Gump when he finished running across the country umpteen times. You? Dan
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Old 04-28-19, 01:11 PM
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I recently read an excellent book by Matt Wilkinson, titled, Restless Creatures. He explains all of life and evolution in terms of locomotion. Our ability to move about the landscape, by whatever means, is essential to our wellbeing. And, in his opinion, our addiction to motoring is doing us harm.

I've always felt this; driving can be fun and is often necessary, but to me, the very best way of getting anywhere is by muscle power, whether on land or water. I've always enjoyed bicycling, but walking was one of my favorites.

Whatever it takes, I'll keep that up as long as I can, and when I can't ride, I'll walk. When I can't walk, who knows, I might crawl. The necessary conveyances may change, but I'll move until I can't, and figure out what to do then.
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Old 04-28-19, 01:28 PM
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I have thought about this subject. It first started with my chronic back issues, including 4 spinal surgeries between 1999 and 2007. There were times when I really fretted about not being able to ride again, or not being able to ride what I like to ride and how I like to ride. I also had a shoulder reconstruction done in 2011. I think I had more fear of not riding from that than from back issues. It was a painful , long and frustrating recovery. I now have 4 bikes and started doing the work/maintenance on them a couple of years ago. I am in the process of rebuilding a bike I have had since new in 1992. That is a first for me. I get pleasure from bikes from more than riding. People ask me how long do you think you can continue to ride? My stock answer is "If I make to 80, I hope to still being riding.
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Old 04-28-19, 03:46 PM
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I lost my best friend of almost 40 years to cancer in January. He was diagnosed with melanoma about two years ago. It was thought to be under control. It wasn't.

Ralph wasn't into cycling like I am, but about a year or so before he learned about his condition, we went out and bought him a bike so he could go riding with me. At first it was a difficult process since he hadn't been on one in about 35 years. But he got better and better, and before long was doing 20 and 30 mile rides. We went on a little get-away to Chattanooga to ride the greenways there, and he actually got in about 60 miles that day! He was really proud of that. What a good time we had.

After learning about the cancer, bike riding kinda took a backseat to everything. He would still occasionally go with me on short leisurely rides, but due to his treatments he just didn't have the stamina to go much farther than about 10 miles or so.

After going to work early one morning in late December, he had a seizure. Was rushed to the hospital where they first thought he had a stroke. But then found out the cancer had progressed to his brain. Three large masses was discovered, causing swelling and pressure. He was completely incoherent for about ten days. I thought I’d never get to talk to him again. After much praying, he came back and was here with us for another week before he passed. I was fortunate, I got to say some things I wanted to say. Of all the things he was missing, or wishing he could do, riding a bike with me was the thing he talked to everyone about the most. I’m proud of that.

It's been very difficult for me to go back to all the places we rode at ...without him. I knew there was only a slim chance that he might beat the cancer, but we had no idea our last ride together would be our last.

Savor every moment. You just never know. Even when you’re expecting it ...it can still be totally unexpected.

Last edited by one4smoke; 04-28-19 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 04-28-19, 04:50 PM
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I don't think about things like that. When the time comes, I'll know it, or circumstances will prevent me from knowing.
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Old 04-28-19, 05:11 PM
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I want to go out the way one of my friends did. He was preparing to do the Rideau Lakes bike tour. He had done a training ride the previous day with one of his friends and the following morning he was having breakfast prior to doing a short run before his next ride. He had a fatal heart attack just before breakfast. I want to be that sort of person, active until the very end
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Old 04-28-19, 05:21 PM
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I think about it quite a bit as one of my hip replacements has started getting really aggravated from cycling recently having had 1 1/2 years without any problems prior to that.

I'd be really miffed if I do, I've had to give up so many hobby's I've loved due to injury / arthritis ... squash, water skiing, running, gym, tennis. motocross, golf .... I was a complete sports nut which is probably what's worn out my hips, knees and shoulder and got into cycling as I couldn't do any of the others any more and thought it'd be low impact on my body.

@one4smoke .... go ride those places you used to go with your friend and have fond memories of him, if anything happened to me unexpectedly I'd rather my buddies still rode the same routes remembering some of the rides and laughs we had together rather than avoiding them.
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Old 04-28-19, 09:03 PM
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I imagine I’ll not know it was my last ride until well after the fact. Life will be taking it’s course and my path will diverge from cycling and at some point it will occur to me that I won’t be riding anymore.

I hope I’m very old when that happens.


-Kedosto
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Old 04-28-19, 09:19 PM
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I already had to face that scenario once; I had to stop running and climbing (mountains) due to issues with blood clots in my leg and a heart condition. That was like hitting a brick wall, but I adjusted to it. I'd always incorporated bicycle riding as an alternative aerobic workout, so I wasn't completely unfamiliar with riding. One thing that helped was getting rid of almost all the gear I had so I'm not reminded of it; I kept a few tents and sleeping bags for the occasional car camp, and was also able to use some of the lighter stuff to try bicycle touring (I do credit card touring using hostels & hotels now).
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Old 04-28-19, 09:32 PM
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After an accident in 2009 that could have been fatal (hit from behind by a drunk driver, some bystanders thought I was dead as I was uncounscious for a few minutes) I realized that any ride could be my last one. Strangely, this didn't affect my cycling - I still regularly ride more than 1,000 kms a month as I've done for years.
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Old 04-29-19, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Wileyrat View Post
I don't think about things like that. When the time comes, I'll know it, or circumstances will prevent me from knowing.

Me too.

Having come face to face with the fact that life can change dramatically in a matter of minutes ... having dealt with the challenges of the past year or so ...

Chances are, we won't know that our last rides are our last rides.

Meanwhile just keep riding!
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Old 04-29-19, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
...the last time I get on a bicycle and go for a ride. Have you ever thought about what the circumstances will be that lead to it being the last one?
Every single time I get on the mountain bike for challenging single track, I half expect to die with a broken neck.
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Old 04-29-19, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by rollagain View Post
I recently read an excellent book by Matt Wilkinson, titled, Restless Creatures. He explains all of life and evolution in terms of locomotion. Our ability to move about the landscape, by whatever means, is essential to our wellbeing. And, in his opinion, our addiction to motoring is doing us harm.

I've always felt this; driving can be fun and is often necessary, but to me, the very best way of getting anywhere is by muscle power, whether on land or water. I've always enjoyed bicycling, but walking was one of my favorites.
Sounds like an interesting read to me. Added to my list.

My current car will turn 3 in the middle of July. It has about 7,200 miles on it. Many of those miles were logged during long trips into the mountains for camping. My previous car was over 18 years old when someone totaled it while it was parked. It had just over 108,000 miles on it. That mileage logged by three different users over its life.

Like you, I like to get around using my own power. Riding or walking. For local trips, I always think "car last" unless it's something like a trip to the local grocery store to stock my pantry with lots of staples and to pick up 2 or 3 35 lb. bags of kitty litter.

Just went camping Saturday night. Rode two miles to a train station, took a 30 min. train ride and then rode 54 miles to a sate forest campground. Did the reverse yesterday.
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Old 04-29-19, 08:19 AM
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I did an interesting experiment a while back. I assumed that I had just one week to live, convinced myself fully of that, and did everything for the next week based on that assumption.

How did I live? Pretty much the same way I had been living, spent one full day slowly and carefully doing some bike repairs and improvements that had accumulated. Went on some fun rides, but didn't push myself beyond what was enjoyable. Ate, slept, and worked a little. But everything I did, I did with a great reverence and appreciation that I didn't have before, knowing that "this is the final time I will get to do this ride" or, "this is the last bike tire I will ever change".

It taught me a lot about what's important to me, how I want to spend my last days, and let me know that even if these were my last few days, I really wouldn't do things much different than I've been doing, and that when that day times comes, I'm ready for it and won't have any (major) regrets.
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