Ok Fine

Today is the first training ride for the Bike Rally.  I’ve been watching this date creep up on me, trying to get my head around it.  I’ve even been at the meetings where we talk about when training will start, and what the schedule will be, and yay verily it was even me who approved the schedule, and I did so super calmly, and like I thought it was a good idea – which I do, intellectually.

Emotionally? Well, here’s the thing.  I have not been back on my bike since the accident last fall when I broke my wrist.

I can feel now, as I look at my bike in the hall, pump up my tires (wipe the dust off the bike) that I have made a mistake.  What I should have done was get back on my bike the exact moment that I was allowed to. Instead, when my allotted time was up, I told myself that the weather was too cold, that I was too busy…  I even kitted up a few times – putting on my cycling gear and telling people I was leaving, then standing there, not quite able to go.  I should have forced myself, because now here I am and I have given nervousness time and fertile ground to turn all the way into fear and dread.

Ken reminded me that I have ridden thousands of kilometres, and never hurt myself, except for that once. (Ken has a very analytical mind.)  Those are good odds, he reminds me.  He’s right too, getting hurt once doesn’t make it more likely I’ll fall again, that’s not how odds work, or learning, or luck.  I am, in fact – less likely to get hurt this time, and last night at a party, a cycling friend said that it would take “two strokes on the bike” and I’d remember everything that’s great about it. (I am hoping he’s right, but think that maybe he underestimates my ability to be properly neurotic.)

In any case, now I’ve got no choice.  I’m the Chair of the rally, I am simply going to have to ride my bike, and today is the day I have to start, so in 15 minutes I am going to *&^%$#ing leave here, and ride my bike and it is going to be fine and then I’ll be over it.


Anyway, if you want to- it’s a good day to send me a ding.

71 thoughts on “Ok Fine

  1. “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”
    ~Franklin D Roosevelt

    Go get em Steph!

  2. I felt the same way when I broke my ankle carrying my kayak. My first time out was with the same partner and same lake…I almost turned around and left. And even though it was fine, and has been fine every time since, I still have that feeling of fear inside me every time I make plans, every time I go, for three years now. But my actions transcend my fear. And I still love kayaking, and I will not give it up.

  3. I broke my ankle – badly – by missing the last two steps on the staircase in my house. I was carrying the dirty kitty litter in a garbage bag at the time. After I was able to handle the stairs again (months later), It was several months later still before I could carry the dirty kitty litter down the steps again. My daughter kindly did it for me for a while. Finally one day I got the courage up to do it myself and I was fine! Your fear is understandable and you need to work through it however it makes sense for you and at your own pace. Don’t push yourself. Best of luck!

    • Can so identify, though I wasn’t hurt. I missed the last two steps carrying the aquarium that housed our gerbils. I was so very lucky…nothing broke. Not me. Not the aquarium.

  4. I used to train horses and the old adage to get right back on after a fall is so true. I’ve done that with a concussion, bruises and sprains (but I’ve never broken a bone). This February in Thailand, we rode bikes around Sukhothai and I had the worst bike ever (it was way too big for me with back brakes that locked when you touched them). I fell 3 times and I still have hard knots where my bruises were (though they’re going away gradually). All of this is to say, I get it. Our bikes aren’t out yet for the season and I’m concerned that I, too, will find it hard to get back on. But at least I can blame my falls on the *$&% bike in Thailand and tell myself that my bike would never thow me!

  5. Couch potato and coward here, so no criticism from me, but so old in the blog that I remember your initial issues with the clips, the slow-motion-fall in front of a witness, and how you were going to give it one more chance, then quit. I have faith in your sheer bloody stubbornness to get you through today but maybe I should mention here the role of the B-vitamins in beer in restoring proper hydration afterward?

  6. It’s going to be a little wobbly (at least inside) until it’s fine and then it’s better, maybe great. And think how proud Elliott will be of you for being “that kind of Grandma”. Go kick some bike arse, Steph.

  7. You are brave and strong. Good luck today. In hindsight, could you have knitting something like a full body bubble wrap type garment-just for protection and an overall sense of well being? Not sure how it would work but it would be awesome.

  8. Done. Hope you have lots of other dings today besides mine.

    Godspeed and may your path remain clear of tricksy traction-free spots today.

  9. There is such a thing a PTSD due to medical trauma. It’s built into our brains to avoid the things that hurt us. Don’t shame yourself over the fear. See a counselor trained in trauma if it continues. You’ll be great.

  10. I was going to start with that great line from Franklin Roosevelt’s first inaugural speech, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” , but I’m going with “you’ve got this” because you do. A strong woman can do anything and you are a very strong woman.

  11. I think a playlist to help you through the training is beginning to form. Add Queen’s Bicycle Race and Aerosmith’s Back in the Saddle to the Gene Autry song, season with Elvis Costello’s Pump It Up (just in case of a flat), the theme song to “Speed Racer,”…and ride like you knit.

  12. you’ve got this! Plus, you’re in super extra good shape this year! (Actually, I tried riding with toe clips once, fell coming out of the driveway, banged my knees up good, and never got back on. that guy was a jerk anyway…)

  13. “Feel the fear and do it anyway” is one of my mottos. It’s got me into all sorts of scrapes but on the whole I find it’s better for me to fall off a bike occasionally than sit on the sofa knitting.

    • Until you hit 70 and that one last fall with laptop, tea and a slipper that caught on the heath did in my hand and wrist. I want to keep knitting and spinning and something has to give, and it isn’t the arthritis from over-use. I cut the laptop time down 70 percent. I think carefully about how I use my hands. And sometimes fear is a wise teacher.

  14. Now that is behind you, I sure hope it went okay. Wishing it went “well” is probably too much to ask! Anywho, this is me sending positive juju for getting out there!

  15. You could get dressed for a ride, don some modified water wings you can steal from Eliot, and laugh at your first ridiculous ride down the street or in a parking lot. When you are finished laughing, you’ll be over the fear and on your way to another season of riding! You’ve got this!

  16. I felt that way about walking up stairs after I tripped and shattered my elbow.
    I suspect by now you wondered what all the fuss was about because you rode that damned bike and you did it with flair and arrived at your destination in one piece.
    A certain level of vulnerability creeps in after an accident that informs how you handle stairs/bikes/whathaveyou going forward but the good news is stairs and I are cautious friends now and I hope the same is true for you and your bike. Hugs!!!

  17. All the best of luck to you! I don’t ride rallies, just a mile or so to work & back on nicer days. I’m in my 60s and have fallen twice–once a humiliating sideways tip in front of someone who doesn’t like me. Had to get right back on to get home. You can do it!

  18. I just know you were fine. I have gone down on my bike for several reasons over 35 years Luckily nothing was damaged. The first time, some thirty years ago, was in view of friends and husband. Male friends gathered round and stared while I laid there like a turtle. Husband just wanted to know why I had to fall on the derailleur. If it ever happens again, try to tuck vulnerable areas in. Sending good thoughts your way.

  19. Just by talking about your fear you’ve already conquered the first and hardest step. Take a short ride today and consider that a HUGE success. Celebrate by… oh I don’t know…. knitting? 🙂

  20. One of the most impressive post was your ride where you hiked up your skirt and let everyone see your panties. I can’t tell you how many times I use this image to bolster my fears – well if Steph can ride in that getup surely I can do ____ or I can do ____ (insert life producing panic moments). You are a motivational person, keep on getting on the (insert word of your choice here) bike. You got this!

  21. I’m reading this far too late for it to make a difference, but I’m nonetheless saying a prayer all turned out well and that riding your bicycle was…well, “like riding a bicycle”.

  22. I’ve got a bit more time that is measured in years instead of months since I have been on a bike. I bought new tubes and tires in December, they are not on the bike yet. I will work on getting them on the bike this week and may even get in a spin around the block.

    Go Team A!

  23. Last fall a new friend at a new church went out of her way to get a coat pattern to me before she left to winter in a warmer clime. I knew she’d be back in the spring, and I kept telling myself I should get the yarn and get started. Instead, I got involved in crocheting origami potholders as a fund raiser for a school nutrition fund. Well, today my new friend returned. And how did I explain my lack of progress on a knit coat? Quite readily, with no pangs of conscience whatsoever. I simply claimed that I had no choice, I had been waylaid by the other ladies in the craft group, blamed it all on them. Next week, I swear, I’m buying yarn for the coat. I’ll have all summer to get it finished.

  24. Gosh it can be hard to get back on that bike. I broke my arm riding my bike when I was 10 (hospital for 2.5 weeks in traction) and it was hard to build enthusiasm to get back on. You are doing it exactly the right way though. Desensitizaton (baby steps, conquering your fear a little at a time) is a fine approach. Much luck (and safety)!

  25. I have fallen once, but just blood and bruises. My husband, on the other hand, broke his neck. The following year (after surgery to put in pins and a bone graft), he was back on his bike riding to Vancouver from Prince George. I drove the support vehicle at that time, and was suitably worried, but all went quite well. I truly believe you have to get back on the saddle, and don’t let these things hold you back. Right at the moment I am nursing a swollen joint in my hand from excessive knitting…will that keep me from my next project- of course not! Take care and happy riding.

  26. I broke both arms in a bike accident about 6 years ago (sand in a brake cable–locked the brakes on). My husband made me (well, strongly encouraged me and offered incentives) get back on about 4 weeks after I was permitted to back on. Smart man. It just gets harder.

  27. I have the same problem, although the trauma involved a car. Let me know what works for you. I used to love biking.

  28. “The women that I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because $h!t worked out, they got that way because $h!t went wrong and they handled it. They handled it a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheros.” Elizabeth Gilbert

    Steph – YOU are one of my superheros!

  29. I fell on an icy sidewalk and broke my wrist and the pain, the surgery and the occupational therapy involved in the recovery has made me reluctant to do anything that could hurt that wrist again. And so I haven’t ridden my bide either. I wish you lots of luck and confidence! Go Go GO!

  30. You make me feel guilty that I haven’t been on my “new to me” bicycle since I took a fall on group ride.

    My excuse has been that I need to get a new helmet (and now, the bike needs a quick mechanical check because it has sat for years). And there is always something else that tempts me.

    I have faith that you will take the training seriously…because you take perverse pride in the fact that the team sponsored by a bunch of knitters (and other crafters) kicks butt on the other fund-raising efforts.

    And I hope that you have decent (sunny and dry) weather for this ride.

  31. I wish you all the luck in the world. Bikes are so hard, because you can’t ease into it, you either ride, or you don’t. I know you’ll be just fine, and I also know that that doesn’t help how you feel one bit. Maybe it helps a little bit to know that people all over the world are thinking of you and sending good vibes.

  32. My new tattoo says Fear is a liar. It’s taken EMDR therapy to believe it but it’s true. Proud you conquered it!

  33. Being what you refer to as slightly neurotic is another person’s version of caution. Important trait when balancing on two wheels and moving quickly. It might be that you really do like this cycling thing. And if you need to…wear a protective wrist guard-it’ll look badass…not wimpy. One must protect one’s knitting tools-brains, hands, wrists-what all that is attached to.
    You’ve got this Steph.

  34. I’ve gone and done the ding! 🙂 This event seems to come sooner and sooner each year, but am always pleased to be able to help support your team.

  35. I can’t speak personally to bike riding because I never learned as a child. I was 25 years old when I first got on a bike, convinced that I was going to be minus a few square feet of skin shortly thereafter. I rode around and around the church parking lot at the end of our street and I was OK. I still don’t ride a bike from choice but at least I could if I had to. My bike of choice was my mom’s old British sit-up-and-beg style bike with three gears. And a basket. Comfy. Sedate. Ten-speeds, racing bikes – NOPE! So anyone who chooses to ride in a bike rally has got to have some serious…ahem… courage, not to be too colloquial about it. You have conquered things in your life that would make other women (and most men) quail; shake in their boots! I have total faith that you will get past this too and go on to yet another bike rally triumph, Madam Chairperson.

  36. Ummm I don’t want to bug you but are you ok? No blogs since the ride and I am really hoping you didn’t crash. Good thoughts for you!

  37. I have a pair of bike wrist guards that I use to support my wrists while knitting. Get a pair. They don’t cost much and really help wrists feel protected. Then watch out for those sandy/gravelly patches! I use a wheelchair. Sand and gravel are just hell for wheelchairs.
    Julie in San Diego

  38. I went to get on my bike last week only to discover it, and the saddlebags I made for it, were gone. I have no idea when or how, but… gone.

  39. hi steph, i have broken my left arm in 2 places. right now i am in this sling for 4 weeks that makes me crazy but reading your blog helps me feel normal. you need to post again to the blog! and as a true knitter i have been doing a little on a simple baby blanket!

  40. I fell and broke my ankle last summer and at one of the follow-up appointments with my surgeon, I mentioned that I was really nervous walking in some situations. He said that, when it comes to recovery, no one ever really talks about the psychological aspect of seriously injuring yourself doing something that you do regularly. I hope that your training is going well and you continue to be injury free!

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