Tuesday, May 9, 2017


I miss my bike and for that, I blame the weather.

Blaming something that cannot defend itself is easy, but in this case, one has only to look at how Mother Nature has treated us over the past couple of weeks to know that she has no defense. Cool weather, strong winds, incessant rain, flooding, and now snow.

Snow in May. I don't think I've ever seen it. Or, at the very least, the trauma of the experience has been blocked from memory.

But I miss my bike, miss riding on the open road, to Richmond, Manotick, Carlsbad Springs, Metcalfe, or Greely, either by myself, with DW, or in a group.

I've been a slug since the pain in my feet has spread to my knees, making walking unpleasant and standing still even worse. But on my bike, I find, there's a bit of relief mixed with exercise, and, of course, I get outdoors.

So, because of the weather, I decided to ride an indoor bike, take a spin class. I've been doing them for years, have been able to carry out whatever instruction the leader of the class chose to throw out to the participants. A slow climb. A sprint. Jumps. Rides that built endurance. Rides that strengthened the core.

Sunday's class started fine. I remembered the position of where I set the seat and handle bars. I wouldn't have to readjust anything. Slide the parts into place and tighten. Sit down, clip my cycle shoes into the pedals, and spin.

It had been a couple of months since I had joined a class, but I knew the teacher, had been in a few classes before. She could give you a good workout but wouldn't push you if you didn't want to be pushed. I had always followed her instruction, would find the level challenging, would leave at the end of the hour feeling that I had had a good workout.

After a couple of minutes warming up, we decided to do a long climb, for a couple of songs. Starting in a seated position, we gradually added tension to the wheel, until we felt we had to stand up.

My left foot protested immediately. It didn't use to do that. It was only last year, on day two of our ride from Perth to Kingston, and back, that my foot gave me trouble after more than 50 kilometres. But it only started to hurt after several real climbs, into headwind. I had only been on this spin bike for about five minutes.

Standing, pedaling, the pain in my foot subsided. It had only been the transition, from seated to standing, that caused the discomfort. I was okay again.

I wasn't okay.

By the time the second song came on, I was ready to sit down. The clips on my shoes are positioned where the balls of my feet meet the soles. Standing up while clipped into the pedals is like standing on my toes on a ladder.

I sat down, eased the tension, and increased my revolutions. I was just going to rest. Maybe, I would try to stand again later.

The second song ended and the instructor told the class to sit. To increase their pace. We were back in sync.

I tried to copy the pace of the class, but when everyone hovered over their seats, I stayed in mine. I wasn't ready to put any weight on my feet, especially on my bad, left foot.

My feet and knees had been sore for days before the spin class. All that rain and cool temperatures. On Friday, I had driven to Pointe Gatineau, to see the flooding first-hand. I had to park on a side street, off Boulevard Gréber, and walk, in the pouring rain, camera in hand, to Rue Jacques-Cartier. Walking along the river's edge, I could only get so far before the river came over the banks and filled the street. A police cruiser blocked any vehicles from trying to go further. City crews were working, in vain, to pump water off properties. Hydro trucks were more than a foot into water as crews were determining a plan for cutting power.

In the cold and wet, my feet told me when it was time to turn away, to return to my car and leave this neighbourhood. Once in the car, off my feet, the arthritis complained, took its revenge for making my feet walk in such lousy weather.

My bottom was getting numb in the bike seat. The class wanted to do another climb. I increased my tension and stood up.


I sat back down, eased the tension, and increased my revs.

My ass would have to stay numb.

At just over 50 minutes, we slowed our bikes and stretched. I had cycled the equivalent of nearly 20 kilometres. My knees were sore. My feet, worse. I was going to feel this the next day.

I miss my road bike. The seat is just right. Cycling in our area, I never have to stand. I'm sure that if the weather had cooperated, I wouldn't have suffered. My feet wouldn't be screaming at me to take Codeine. I would have had a better Monday.

I blame the weather.

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