10 April 2010

Sometimes, giving up is the right move

When I started bicycle commuting late last year, I had high hopes for it. I needed the exercise, having become sedentary and signifi-cantly overweight since my hip joint started to deteriorate three years ago. Even after the accident which left me with a concussion and broken bones, I didn't want to make an immediate decision about whether or not to continue. It's too easy to just give up right after a severe shock.

The injuries are long healed now. Having considered the question soberly, I decided that, in this case, giving up was the right move. Not everyone is cut out for bike-riding on a regular basis; if there's a knack for avoiding accidents, I probably don't have it. One injury accident in just a month and a half of regular riding is not a very encouraging track record (by comparison, I've driven cars for 30 years with only one accident, and that was caused by the other guy running a red light). The next time, if there was one, could easily be a lot worse.

I know well that Americans are notorious for fretting over risks which have, in fact, only a tiny probability of materializing. I'm not the kind of person who spends time worrying that the airline flight I'm on will be the one in ten million that gets hijacked, or obsessing over some disease I'm actually at negligible risk for. But I concluded that the risk of another serious bicycle accident was not negligible.

This week I finally put the bike up for sale. It found a buyer almost immediately. At least I got a good price for it. So that chapter is closed. Sometimes, giving up is the right move.


Blogger Tim said...

I think you made the right move. I to have battle scars long term consequences. So I just joined the YMCA. I haven't even gone yet. I need a lock for the locker. I had to buy swimming trunks, and last but not least sneakers. I've put on 30 lbs.after becoming sedentary. Well good luck to both of us. Perhaps theirs one around you.

10 April, 2010 07:09  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Tim: Thanks. Yes, damage does accumulate, and some kinds don't go away. I can actually walk fine now -- I had surgery for the hip -- it's just a matter of getting back into the habit.

10 April, 2010 08:01  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

There's plenty of way's to exercise without riding a bike anywayz.

10 April, 2010 08:58  
Blogger Tim said...

If to personal don't reply....does weather affect you?

10 April, 2010 09:19  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

RC: Quite true. I probably burned a few calories just getting the bike up and down the stairs.

Tim: Well, I don't like rain. Or ice. Or heat. Or glare. Come to think of it, I don't like weather, period. I grew up in the San Francisco area, and there isn't any weather there. I guess it spoiled me.

At least the rain, ice, and heat don't affect me unless I do something really nutty and improbable like going outdoors, and as for the heat, I have an air conditioner, so I suppose i shouldn't complain.

10 April, 2010 09:31  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

When I lived in Denver I rode my bike all the time, to work and back (6-7 miles), through the parks and up in the mountains. No accidents but my knees paid the price.

Unless you're training for competition, biking and swimming don't really provide much benefit from an exercise/cardiovascular point. On a bike you tend to coast a lot and when swimming you tend to hang on to the edge after every lap or two.

Lots of folks love gyms - such as Tim here - but I find them boring as hell, don't care for the sweat smell and being cooped up inside.

My favorite is walking - regardless of weather. Low impact and good cardio workout once you start bending your arms and swinging them back and forth, up and down and all around. So, who cares what you look like?

I literally started walking for only 1/2 mile per day. Within a few months I had worked up to around 5 miles and after that I kept picking up the speed until I was doing that goofy looking race walk.

For awhile I used tapes with walking beats to them and that helped. Now you have to use a cd and player which always feels like they're pulling your pants down.

It was good mental and physical therapy and I loved being outside, period. Pretty soon I didn't look upon it as something I "had" to do but something I couldn't do without. Even with the hip problem, it's doable.

10 April, 2010 09:38  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

TNLib: Good tips, thanks. I think the bike riding was giving me a pretty good work-out -- it was certainly exhausting at first -- but it's true that there's a natural tendency to coast as much as possible.

I used to walk a lot. I need to get back to that. It's just a matter of getting back into the habit, I think.

10 April, 2010 09:48  
Blogger Sue said...

the dreaded middle age weight gain and the much needed exercise program we all need, don't just hate it all! I love walking too, I've just started back this spring after taking the winter off. I used to go to CURVES, which I loved and lost 16 inches in one year, but they closed. I hate the naturally skinny people who can eat whatever the hell they want and still fit in their jeans from 1984. Damn, I just hate having to worry all the time about what I can and can't eat!
Good luck Infidel, glad you are back to driving to work instead of biking. Who needs all that pedaling anyway.....

10 April, 2010 10:03  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Hi Sue! Gee, I do need to get back to walking, it seems to be the exercise of choice.....if there were a way to walk and blog at the same time, nothing could hold me back.

I know a few of those naturally skinny people, but they come by it honestly -- they're young and full of energy. Unfortunately, as we all know, being sedentary makes a person feel listless and de-energized -- so it's a vicious circle.

10 April, 2010 11:26  
Blogger TomCat said...

Sorry it didn't work, my friend. Also, this city's weather maked bike riding hazardous several months a year anway.

10 April, 2010 11:55  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

True. The rain would have made it pretty hazardous, or at least uncomfortable, for the last few months.

10 April, 2010 12:33  
Blogger dotlizard said...

On several different occasions when I was between cars, I rode everywhere. I was riding about 250 miles/week at one point, and oh, I was in such awesome shape. I actually had a fairly good safety record, only one broken arm one time (and a few bad cases of road rash) but for me, one of the main problems was that I have trouble pacing myself, I can't take it easy or go slow. So that meant getting to work every morning all sweaty and disheveled, then having to change into work clothes and my bike-riding clothes would be gently marinating in my backpack. Yum.

I do love walking, but haven't walked on any regular basis in years. I could be walking right now, but the internet is really interesting and there are legal issues. An object at rest tends to remain at rest, and who am I to flaunt the laws of motion?

I keep meaning to get around to it, but not only am I good at making excuses, I'm also good at not doing things without any excuse whatsoever.

10 April, 2010 18:21  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

GL: I'm awestruck by the resilience implied by speaking of "only one broken arm one time (and a few bad cases of road rash)". Personally I have an extremely low tolerance for pain or discomfort, never mind injuries. Having had almost perfect health until I was approaching 50, and never a significant injury in all that time, I never developed much ability to withstand such things.

I remember having to change clothes when I got to work, during the short time I was bike-commuting. It did mean doing laundry more often.

As for the laws of motion, well, laws are made to be broken. I swear I'm going to work up the energy to get up and grab another candy bar, any minute now.....

10 April, 2010 19:23  
Blogger Rita said...

For me it's a matter of habit & routine. We have a treadmill at work, so every morning I get on it for 20 minutes before I go to work, because I know I'm going to spend 8+ hours in front of a PC.( sans time spent as "local street reporter" or fetching lunch 3 blocks away) the biggest hazard is the crazy Fundy religious radio stations I have to listen to, while exercising.

10 April, 2010 20:33  
Blogger Snowbrush said...

I bike daily, but after two rotator cuff surgeries in one year, it's a lot more scary to be sure since I simply CAN'T have a wreck.

"it has been my great good fortune to live my whole life free of "spiritual" concepts of any kind."

I grew up fundamentalist, and can't imagine how I would be different if I hadn't. I would probably risk finding out though if only I could.

11 April, 2010 00:50  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Rita: Perhaps you could convert the annoyance at the fundie radio blather into adrenaline energy to fuel more vigorous exercise? Surprising that they'd have that at the newspaper, though -- or is it just that there aren't any other stations available?

Snowbrush: Prior injuries would certainly make it more scary. I wouldn't want to risk re-breaking the same hand or landing on the hip that's had to be surgically repaired.

I've known people who grew up fundamentalist, and in most cases they seem to have had a real internal struggle to break free from religion. There's also the issue that their families are usually fundamentalist too, and so escaping religion leads to family tension which can drag on for decades. I've been fortunate to be spared all that.

11 April, 2010 03:23  

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