Yesterday I spent half of the day fixing bikes, bikes of mine, that I’ve had for years, and that I feel an attachment to, that I’ve ridden for thousands of miles, and for countless hours.
Because I can’t ever ride them again/ because ultimately cycling lead to my undoing, it doesn’t seem to have lessened my affection for these inanimate objects.
The bikes don’t care about me ( that’s impossible ) but I do care about them.
They will be ridden a little, here in Portugal, as hopefully I can get someone to be my outrider when I’m on my arm bike.
I could ride it alone, but it is without doubt dangerous being lain Flat on a bike, barely 2 feet above the ground, in terms of being visible to drivers – drivers that are perhaps being distracted by a car full of kids, that may have had a lunchtime beer ( on holiday, that’s normal ) that may be already a little confused by being ‘ on the wrong side of the road ‘ or giving way to the ‘wrong side’ at one of the many roundabouts here ( one of which I tipped over at, going round too fast, last time I was here )
In the meantime, I’ve managed to attach my arm bike to a stationary ‘turbo trainer’ that I’d kept here ( it allows you to train without leaving the apartment ) and is therefore a safe option.
I can transfer INTO it ( that’s ‘downhill’ ) but as yet can’t get back into my wheelchair myself FROM it ( ‘uphill’ ).
I’ve been on YouTube for inspiration, watching videos of other paralysed guys that CAN do it. It’s clear that my technique isn’t quite right, as I get stuck in mid air, halfway to the safety of my wheelchair seat ( that I can’t feel with my bum so don’t know when I’m there )
Yesterday after 90 minutes on it, trying to work out the best position ( I have to ask Dani to adjust things I can’t reach, with a spanner – that she’d admit she’s not a natural with, and would most definitely rather be doing something else ) I feel that I’ve gotten somewhere at least.
My brother in law arrives today, who will be more bike tool enthused I’m sure.
My nature on ‘ holiday ‘ has always been to be doing things , I’m not good at doing nothing, and if I can do it now, why would I want to leave it til later …. But on holiday I realise that most people think the opposite way about time, which can be frustrating as I do need to ask people for help now, and really don’t like being a nuisance, yet know that I am ( to some people… A weary sigh, an skyward look, a lack of enthusiasm ).
I’d so love to be totally independent, yet won’t ever be again.
I say please and thank you more often than anyone else in the world , it sometimes feels.
I smile a lot, and feel very genuinely grateful for all help I get.
When it’s apparent that I’m a burden, it makes me feel truly awful, my mind races back to my crash, to Stoke Mandeville darker times, to self criticism, to feeling worthless. These feelings can quickly almost overwhelm me, and knock me off my already very low branch.
There is a change though, in that I don’t stay down for long,well not compared to before.
A smile from someone, a helpful gesture.. picks me up very quickly, which is more in line with how I was pre injury ( not unhappy/ not prone to low moods, ever ).
Today I’ll practise the arm bike dismount again.
I will need to ask for help, I know, and I hope it’s given willingly.
But I can’t make that happen.