It's a new year and time once again to give a new look to this blog. New graphics and colors. Same bike writer!

This blog is created not only to track my own progress on my biking journey but it is intended to also assist others who have either osteo or rheumatoid arthritis or both like I do. I hope as you read about the progress I have made that it gives you inspiration and hope that you can overcome the dibilitating effects of these conditions.

If your doctor agrees that you should be capable of expanding your limits read on and don't be afraid, just listen to your body and give it challenges. Biking is a great non-impact form of exercise and greatly enhances flexibility and range of motion.

It's not a substitute for Doctor visits, taking your meds or otherwise getting off your health plan but it auguments what your Doctor does for you and can give you a better quality of life. Go for it!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Currently Out of Commission

This bike season just might be cut very short for me.  Far too many thngs going on in my right leg at the moment.  Knee pain, muscle weakness, strong cramping in my calf muscle and hamstring, sciatica pain and more that is enough to keep me off the bike and considering getting total knee replacement on my right side.  I suffered through much of this several years ago on the left side and the Dr. always says that only you will know when it's time to get it done.  I think it might be time.

Well, it's off to see the surgeon.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Brandemer Park Last Friday

This is the view of downtown Ann Arbor as you come into town from it's northern entrance in Brandemere Park via the bike pathway.  It's a whole lot nicer view than what you get by automobile.  From the road it is a bit run down, shabby and very industrial, the saving grace is that as you first exit the freeway you get a view from the hilltop of the downtown skyline plus a good view of the University of Michigan Hospital complex, Huron River and Argo Dam.  The photo comes from an article about the lack of an attractive northern entry into town.  The section of blight is short but it's one of the first things you see after the great hilltop view.  It's an incongrous, from beauty to blight and on to big and bustling downtown.  It's like it doesn't make sense, it doesn't flow.  You can read the story by clicking here.  I was on this path on Friday as part of my 9 mile ride, I had started just to the north of this spot by about a mile from the parking lot of Brandemere Park at US23 and Whitmore Lake Road.  I was headed in the opposite direction of the cyclist pictured and right after you come off this section you travel over Argo Dam which is pictured in the distance just beyond the RR bridge, where you see it crossing the river.  As soon as you come off the dam you enter the new renovated Argo Cascades where a quiet and murky spillway lined one side of a small isthmus.  Before the 1.17 million dollar project that created the cascading falls and series of drops the water was stagnated and mostly covered with algae.  As that section of the path was the only one not paved, it was pretty rustic and not much more of a rut in a very narrow strip of land that dropped sharply off into the scum filled water on one side or the tree tangled fast current river on the other side.  Falling down either bank was not what I wanted to do at all and I generally held my breath through that section and would be happy every time I made it through unscathed.  

There were a couple of sections where the rut was eroded and the sand got deep enough to make the hind end of the bike shimmy a bit and fishtail toward the water on either side.  That was always good for a little nerve racking jolt.  However from last fall onward with earth movers and bull dozers at work the top of that isthmus was flattened out, a nice 8 or 10 foot asphalt brand new path with cascading kayaking falls along side it is now open for riding.  The last time I was on this path was the day that a kayaker nearly drowned (you can read that blog post here)on the river side and it hadn't been paved yet so I was unsure what to expect on Friday.  Smooth new asphalt was what I was treated to, looks like it may have just opened a week or two before.  There is a video clip of the cascades available here and a still shot below.  The video and still were taken in the early spring as you can see by the outfits on the kayakers.  When I rode alongside the cascades on Friday I was treated to watching two kayakers a guy and a gal shoot through the drops just a few feet away from me.  It looked like a blast.  After the 4th drop I saw the girl kayaker get turned backwards and shoot through the drop backwards.  I'm still unsure if it was intentional or not but the guy behind her made it clear that he was going through backwards intentionally.  That was wickedly fun to watch.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ouch - Dial it Back

It's sad to know that a ride less than 10 miles is overdoing it but true it is.  Yesterday was a bit too ambitious and I'm feeling it today.

Health.  What a curious word that most people don't give a second thought to for days, months or even years on end, until something replaces it.  Suddenly, it becomes the center of the universe.

Humans are curious beings.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Little by Little

Making a slow comeback 1 mile, 1 mile, 2.2 miles, 4.2 miles, day off, 6.16 miles, 2 days of rest and 9.09 miles.

Little by little I'll get back into the swing of this but careful attention to how I'm feeling and listening to pain is the key.

I did the upper section of the Border to Border trail tonight from Brandemere Park to Gallup Park.  Hurting a bit tonight so I need to knock it back a notch or two. 

I see a series of 4-6 mile rides on the horizion to build the strength back up.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Well they're not where I'd like them to be but here they are;

March 59.5 miles and 7.25 hours of outdoor riding.  For March that's actually not bad considering we generally have snow cover still in most winters.  Considering what a spectacular March we had it is pitiful however March is a busy month with Board of Review and my evenings were all taken up with this for half the month.

April 53.39 miles and 7.70 hours.  I was slower, the weather was dismally rainy and toward the end of the month when the weather improved I was out of commission and laid up. 

Mid winter while I was in the off season training mode this is not what I would have predicted for this spring.  However the adage goes...man proposes and God disposes. 

Staying busy with getting better, resting for my health and it's helping.  YAY!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On the Injured List

The weather has finally turned in the last couple of weeks and I have not had the ability to get out anywhere near as much as I want to.  Sadly, I've had a flare up of my RA and my right leg just does not want to bend to go round and round.  Sad face over here.  I do have stats from March and April and will post them later, but for now suffice to say my mileage is pitiful but the desire is very strong.  It's sad to want to go and have the longing coupled with perfect riding weather and have to sit on the sidelines.  Sigh.

With virtually no winter season to speak of I was able to get outdoor riding in during all the months of last year and the early months of this year, even if mid winter it was only one or two outdoor rides.  I kept it up with the indoor trainer and was very excited about the 2012 season getting off to a good start and raring to go.  Sometimes we just have to go with the flow and not fight the things we can do nothing about. 

Right now I'm focusing on getting extra medical attention and remedies, good nutrition and getting enough sleep and rest.  Combined, those factors will have me on the mend, sooner rather than later or so I hope.

For now, I'll take what little rides I can get in.  There's always shopping!