On the Road Again

I’ve finally recovered from last year’s knee injury and am cycling outdoors again.

Castor canadensis – the tenacious Canadian beaver. Tenacious like me. Photo by me.

Today was a great day. I rode my bike outdoors for the first time in over a year.

Last March I had a hiking accident that resulted in a fractured patella and femur. It took 8-12 weeks just for the fracture to heal, and then I still had to do months of physiotherapy and practice walking etc.

I was finally good to go on my indoor bike trainer in the late summer, but I couldn’t quite do a full rotation of the cranks so would swing forward, then backward, then forward again, stretching my knee out so that it would eventually do the full 360 degrees.

It was fall by the time I could do a full rotation, so I spent the fall and winter on the stationary bike, peddling to nowhere in an attempt to improve both my health and my post-injury cycling ability.

This morning was the day I decided to test my cycling abilities in the outdoors.

At first I thought my day was cursed. I drove all the way to the Kinsol Trestle, where I planned to bike for 7.5 km out and back again, and realized I’d forgotten my helmet. As I drove back home to get it, my low gas light came on so I had to stop and put some fuel in the truck. But I finally got home, got my helmet, and got back to the trailhead.

I rode slowly at first, stopping every now and then to adjust my seat. Then I just let ‘er rip, racing down the trail as fast as I could. I felt so much more alive cycling outdoors than on the stationary bike. I saw a snake, a slug, a couple of hatched robin eggs blue as can be at the side of the trail. I bounced over small trail washouts and between rock trail barriers, I felt the wind in my hair under my helmet, and I felt like I could ride forever.

Of course realistically I couldn’t ride forever. But I did a respectable distance (15 km) in a reasonable time (1 hour) given that this was my first time out since the fall of 2017.

Doesn’t that sound weird? The fall of 2017 was the last time I was outside on my bike.

Well now I’m back at it and looking forward to keeping it up. It will be my cross-training for the Lake-to-Lake walk, which is actually being held on the same trail I cycle on. But who am I kidding – I don’t need to call it cross-training, it’s just plain fun.

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