The Adventure Begins … Again

“Where have you been, man?”

I’ve been asked that question a lot in the last few months. Some of my friends actually thought I’d died, but I’ve been able to contact them and tell them “No such luck!”

The fact is I’ve been sick. More accurately, I’ve been injured. Last May, I was at work and attempted to lift something way too heavy for me. The fellow who was helping me lift it attempted to move with the load, my right arm stretched out and my right bicep detached completely from its mount at the elbow.

What followed was surgery to reattach the bicep with the help of a cadaver tendon; a week in a plastic cast; a month in a brace which prevented me from even scratching my nose with the forefinger of my right hand; and the rest of the time enduring physical therapy for improving range of motion and strengthening. Finally, on October 4th, the surgeon said he was releasing me back to full duty, with the caution to “take it easy because you really won’t be back to full strength in that arm for another six to seven months.”

A couple of days later, I finally got around to checking the Official BluesCat Email Box, and discovered an item there from Josh of Bike Shop Hub. He was wondering if I would be interested in doing some more writing for the Hub blogs. I really think he was just being nice, was puzzled by my absence from the blogs (I’ve been known to be a troublemaker), and was curious if I’d died (see my reference to death, above).

Ha! No such luck, Josh! The only reminders of my injury are a general weakness, a nifty five-inch scar running from the crook of my elbow up the front of the upper arm and an extra ten pounds of weight. I’m ready to jump back on the bike, start commuting to work and begin the adventure again!

The Zipper

First stop was finding my bike. There it was, functioning as an impromptu clothes rack and toy box for my two granddaughters for the last four months! As I began freeing it from those duties, it occurred to me that I could treat this as a brand new experience. Rather than approaching it as a jaded old coot who has been doing it for years, I will look at riding with renewed interest and the anticipation of discovery.

The Bike as Closet

I topped up the tires, dusted the beautiful blue finish, checked the chain, checked the side-pull caliper brakes, hopped aboard and went for a short ride around the block. It turned into a two mile ride around the neighborhood.

About halfway through that first ride, I remembered the real reason I ride a bike. It isn’t because of anything practical like saving money or getting exercise. I ride alone. It is the only time I have all to myself and my own thoughts. The bike keeps me sane and spiritually whole.



BluesCat is a senior citizen still living and working in Phoenix, Arizona. He tries to ride his recumbent bike as much as possible, because it keeps him from having to go to church.

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2 thoughts on “The Adventure Begins … Again”

  1. John M. Hammer says:

    Eek! The description of your injury had me cringing. Thank goodness you’re making a complete recovery.

    Hopefully you never have to experience something like that again. Do you think your doctor would have approved of getting back on the bike earlier if you had rigged up your rear brake (the only one you really need on most LWB bikes for most riding conditions) so it could be operated with your left hand? Or gotten one of those single-lever-both-brakes widgets? There’s a fellow with only one arm in my neighborhood who rides a standard diamond-frame bike and has both his brakes running that way.

    Welcome back, both to the blog and to cycling! I always enjoy your posts and will look forward to reading more.

  2. BluesCat says:

    Thank you, John!
    My doctor pretty much left it up to me as far as how fast I wanted to go. I had heard of the bicycle brake accessories that one-armed folks use, but it never really occurred to me give that a shot on one of my bikes.
    Hey! Researching the strategies that are used by the physically challenged to ride bikes sounds like a great idea for another article, doesn’t it?
    Thanks, AGAIN, John!!

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