After a tumultuous week I had a very different Saturday
Belinda Van de Ven – she who must be obeyed – suggested recently that it would be good to introduce some road bike work into the rehab programme as it is my second year. By sheer coincidence Ron Wilson, my good friend from the BBC and a great cyclist, invited me on a ride from Thirroul to Wollongong which he organises for a group of friends each year. I was reluctant as up until now I didn’t think I had the strength in my broken leg to twist out of the pedal cleats. Also, after my recent experiences, I’m wary of further injury and there’s always plenty of that on offer when riding road bikes. Still, given Ron’s invitation and Belinda’s advice and a desire to introduce something different into the rehab programme, I decided to participate. By strange coincidence, my brother Damien was staying with me, recuperating from his latest Ironman triumph and decided to join in.
By good fortune, I’d left my cycling shoes – the ones with cleats – at home and had to do the ride in a pair of Sperry Hightop boat shoes. While it felt a bit ridiculous, it proved to be a godsend. I hadn’t been on a bike for many years and had forgotten the setup of the gears and derailleur so I struggled at first to get in the right gears. It didn’t matter because if I got confused I could stop, and in one case get off and walked. I didn’t have the added issue of twisting out of the cleats. It would have been too much on the first ride to worry about balance, the gears, the cleats, traffic and foot pedestrians. Don’t underestimate how difficult it is getting back on a bike after a broken leg. For one thing your balance is shot to pieces and your confidence is not much better.
The ride, which was over an easy bicycle/pedestrian path through beautiful coastal country took only two hours not including lunch.