cycling · fitness

Can Sam still ride a bike? Let’s find out!

Yes! The answer is “yes.” Phew!

I was worried.

Since knee replacement surgery five months ago, I’ve been riding on the trainer. That’s true. First my goal was a full rotation of the pedals. I could do that backwards first, then forwards. Then I got my seat back to its regular height. (It’s easier backwards and easier with the seat elevated.) Next up were some distance goals. I rode my bike on the trainer 20 km the other day for the first time.

But I’ve been nervous about riding outside. I had hoped to try it with my Brompton outside late this fall but our roads have been a mess of ice. There hasn’t been any good weather for outdoor riding for someone as nervous about slipping and falling as I am right now.

My right knee is giving me issues now too. In the end I said no to the big Cuba trip I was hoping to do. Bah, but it was the right choice. Next year, I hope after I’ve recovered from right knee surgery.

Now as you might know I’m in Arizona for the Workshop in Normative Ethics. And Sarah came with for some sunshine and we brought our road bikes. Best yet, Air Canada didn’t lose them. Sarah assembled the bikes (and worked and rode horses!) while I was conferencing and today was the first time I was able to get out for a ride.

We’ve had our eyes on the Tucson Loop, a 130 mile bike path that circles the city.

Love the Loop

Obviously, 130 miles is too too much, even at the best of times, and these aren’t those. So, what section to do? We’re close to Oro Valley and the Catalina State Park so we set off to ride around there. We took the bikes in the rental SUV and off we went.

I was VERY NERVOUS.

I keep hearing from friends whose parents had knee replacement and who would never ride long distances again. I have another friend who can still ride her bike but gave up on clip in pedals. Another friend’s mother struggles to get on the bike and can’t swing her leg over the frame. I had all these stories running through my head.

I knew I’d be slow. I’ve been slow on the trainer as I struggle to get my cadence back up but that feels like I thing I can work on. It’s the mechanics of it all that had me worried.

I kept reminding myself that I was struggling to walk and dealing with more knee pain than now when I did the Toronto to Montreal, 660 km, bike ride. This isn’t new even though I haven’t ridden in four months.

First, I noodled around the hotel parking lot making sure the seat height was correct and it all seemed fine. And then we set off to find the trail.

There was a lot of sunshine this afternoon–love the desert weather, cold nights and high teens by the middle of the day, perfect for riding. The loop seems well used by locals and visitors. We even gave directions to some cyclists from Montana.

My knee held out okay and while there was some fussing clipping in and out that too was fine. We stopped for a quick patio lunch after about 10 km and then rode another 10 km or so after.

Here’s some photos from our ride:

2 thoughts on “Can Sam still ride a bike? Let’s find out!

  1. Congratulations on your ride! And what a nice post-knee debut location: I love riding in Tucson on that loop. Haven’t done the whole 130 either, but dipping in and out of it, enjoying the desert landscape is lovely. Sounds like you and Sarah had a good time al around,

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