For many of us, a bicycle is a means of escape. On a bike, we can flee the city, the indoors and our wired, desk jockey existence. Whether we ride heavy-duty DH rigs or light-as-a-feather road machines, our bikes help bring balance into our lives. Bikes help us to escape the noise – literally and figuratively. When you’re pumping the pedals up a steep climb or blasting through a fast section of trail, everything else seems to fall away and the present moment is all that remains.
For people like us, bicycles are so much more than a pastime or means of transportation: they are key to our happiness. That’s why it can be extremely difficult when, following an injury, a doctor or physio utters those soul-crushing words: “You better stay off the bike for a while.” Ouch. The advice can hurt more than the injury itself.
Following a crash last fall, I found myself on the receiving end of just such dire advice. My physio informed me that my “ridiculously tight” hips and IT band were to blame for my knee pain, and she urged me to “take it easy” for a while. Rather than let the news get me down, though, I channeled my frustration and energy into my recovery plan.
Over the weeks and months that followed, I saw my physiotherapist regularly and painstakingly completed every one of the exercises she recommended to me. And while elaborate stretching programs and foam roller exercises are seemingly a source of endless amusement for my toddler son (he calls them “daddy’s moves”), they are not my favourite way to spend an hour.
The truth is, injuries that prevent us from doing the things we love can be extremely frustrating. Equally so is a rehab program that fails to deliver immediate results. Yet through it all, I try to maintain a positive attitude. Whenever I get discouraged or frustrated (or, quite frankly, bored) with my rehab routine, I need only picture a ribbon of singletrack or a stretch of pristine asphalt to bring things back into focus. The promise of the ride is worth every minute.
Thankfully, the hours I’ve spent rolling around on my living room floor are beginning to pay off: I’m back on the bike! I started small with mellow 20 kilometre lunch rides on the flat country roads surrounding Norco headquarters. No pain. Next, I pulled out my Sight and hit my favourite trail. Still no pain – so far so good. Next came the true test: my 60 kilometre round trip commute. Equipped with city tires and full fenders, my carbon Threshold was more than up to the task. To my great relief, so was my knee.
Because I committed fully to my rehab routine, I’m now back doing the thing I love most. And thanks to physiotherapy my knee is as strong as ever. I’m looking forward to ramping up my time in the saddle over the next few weeks. Just in case, though, I’ll keep doing my exercises on the side – if only because my son seems to get such a big kick out watching daddy do his “moves.”
Aaron - Norco Marketing