Saturday, November 11, 2006
Although Robb and I have taken my bike and his wheelchair out a few times, Robb has not actually ridden a bike since his accident. Now that his balance and stamina are better, I signed Robb up for the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program's Saturday morning cycling.
This program rents out adaptive cycles for the shockingly low price of ten dollars a session. You can take the cycles out for four hours, which is such an astonishing bargain, particularly when you consider the price of some of these machines.
The first cycle Robb signed out was a fixed-gear trike. Fixed- or direct-gear cycling is very popular in the Bay Area. This is a fact that has always mystified me, since you only have one gear, and you can never "coast" with this style of bike. You move your foot, it moves the wheels. You stop pedaling, and the bike stops. If you want to climb a steep hill, you've got no gearing to help you out. Nope. You just have to pedal harder. Direct-geared bikes are for the truly hard-core cyclist. (However, if for some reason, you need bike that can pedal backwards, direct-gearing is the way to go!)
Not surprisingly, this style of bike was a lot of work for Robb. A couple of times, I had to hop off my bike and push Robb up a hill. The volunteer working this Saturday told us that he has been encouraging BORP to get more geared bikes for this very reason.
Pictured above are Robb and another BORP rider, Beth. Beth is trying out a brand-new recumbent, geared trike. She really enjoyed this machine, despite the fact that her ankle braces rubbed a painful blood blister on her heel. When we ran into her on the trail, she asked for a little help getting her foot out of the pedal mechanism, and we strapped her ankle brace to our bags and brought it back to the bike house for her.
Robb has had problems with the stationary bikes at the gyms because his feet won't stay on the pedals. Some of the BORP cycles have large foot plates with straps to keep a cyclist's foot in place. And if they don't, there's always duct tape.
A Less Stressed Lisa
Over the years, Robb has occasionally suggested that we try tandem cycling, but I always figured that I was too uptight and that I would end up squabbling with Robb, and ruin the fun. Since Robb's accident, I have a new-found equilibrium. I'm not as hot headed as I used to be. I'm not as easily frustrated, and I don't misdirect my frustrations the way I used to.
Although I initially rejected the idea, because I was sure that I would get frustrated and turn into a horrible beast, I surprised myself by suggesting that we check out the tricycle built for two. This machine is a recumbent, geared, tandem trike (actually, it has four wheels, but I don't know the word for that kind of bike).
It is a total blast! Robb took the front seat, and did the steering. I sat in the back, and provided the muscle. I never even touched the handle bars. I realize that this may in fact be the perfect form of Lisa Recreation, as I could combine cycling with knitting. The mind reels at the possibilities. Cycling and knitting across the state of Iowa in RAGBRAI.....
Okay, so this machine costs something like ten thousand dollars, which is more than any car we've ever owned..... I can still have my little fantasies, right?
Did I mention that this program runs out of Berkeley's Aquatic Park?
Or that this park is home to all sorts of great birds?
The Down Side of All This
Unfortunately, we had way too much fun, and now, several hours later, Robb is paying the price for engaging in so much physical activity. He is numb from the waist down, and in agonizing pain.