In my never-ending quest for better health and a lower BMI, I started a reduced carb diet on June 10. I’m not cutting out carbs completely, but I have seriously limited the amount of bread, white starchy foods, etc., that I’m consuming. I am already down 12 lbs. I was hoping to be down 20 lbs. by mid-July, but 15 will do. As long as the scale keeps heading South, I'll be happy.
Toward the effort to be lean and fit (quite an imaginative goal, I must admit), I took my first outing on my new adult 3-wheel Schwinn on Tuesday night. It was a bit of a fiasco. I planned to head East up my road, turn North on Webb and have a down-hill or relatively flat ride the rest of the way to my daughter’s house, a mere 4.5 miles away.
It was to be an easy first ride...right.
1) I haven't ridden for two years
2) The new bike has three wheels
3) The new bike has only one speed
4) I’m two years older and out of shape
5) I’m nursing a bad right knee
6) This was my first bike ride since the hip replacement
Turns out a bike with three wheels is not nearly as nimble as a 2-wheeler. Every imperfection in the road caused the bike to jerk one way or the other. I had to keep a death grip on the handlebars the whole time. Every upgrade in the road was like climbing Mount Everest. I got a quarter mile to the East and stopped at the top of a small hill, just short of a massive coronary.
I turned around and headed West, knowing that the upgrades would not be as high. With no ability to change speeds, it took huge effort to ride up anything more than a 1% grade. That effort was a real strain on the bad knee, but I doggedly rode on...in the opposite direction of my planned route.
When I got to the end of River Road, there was a steep upgrade to the intersection. I stopped about 40 feet shy and walked the bike up and across. I climbed back in the saddle and biked down Lane with determination, actually making it up and over the two sets of railroad tracks without dismounting, but with some serious leg-pumping effort. After practically getting side-swiped by someone in a hurry to get home for dinner, I pulled into a quiet development and cut through. I was only pursued by one nasty-looking, large, black, barking dog (thank heavens). I came out the other side of the development onto Main Street and rode up into the village, then down Center Road. The whole time I kept wondering if I looked like Will Ackerman’s “Pink Chiffon Tricycle Queen” (thank you Jim Madden for that vivid image).
I stopped at a small market to grab something wet, since I had sweated out every available drop of perspiration by the time I arrived there. When I got off the bike, I instantly developed cramps in the soles of both feet and on the backs of my inner thighs. I hobbled into the store and bought a couple bottles of cold Diet Dew. Then I tried to park myself on the bench outside the place, but the cramps were too painful, so I stood as still as I could and downed 20 ounces of Diet Dew in about four swallows. I called my other half, who was at my daughter’s working on a project, and told him if I did not arrive in 45 minutes, to drive up Center Road and drag my cold dead body off the sidewalk. Then I started to walk the bike.
I did about a quarter mile on foot, which helped alleviate the cramping, but caused annoying rubber burns on the back of my leg. You see, the two wheels on the back tend to hit your legs if you walk the thing. I got back on the bike and rode the rest of the way, flying down my daughter’s street at about 50 mph, and barely making the turn into her driveway. I missed doing a header into a hundred-year-old cherry tree by inches.
All told, the planned 45-minute ride took about an hour and a half, and the 4.5-mile distance turned into approximately 7.5 miles. I am now in my second day of suffering from my own stupidity, with severe aches in my hip, legs and knee. I know this too will pass. I have, however, resigned myself to transporting the bike to flatter terrain until I build up my leg muscles and my stamina. And, just maybe, I'll wait a week or so before I give it another go...