Staying positive with MS

Biking

I live a far more sedentary life than I used to. Growing up, I would spend all day roaming out in the woods, or playing baseball, or canoeing, or other physically active things like that. One of the things I particularly enjoyed was grabbing my bike and taking off down the road, or through the woods.

I have been taking a look at my life, and thinking about what I want it to be like in a few decades from now. My physical activity when I was young has served me well up to this point in my life, but working a desk job and having leisure time spent primarily sitting does not and will not in the future serve me well. But I exercise! Sure, for maybe five minutes a day (see my previous post). It has done wonders for transforming my life. But to be living the kind of life I want in ten, twenty, or thirty years from now, something is going to have to change.

I have been thinking hard for a while now about returning to biking. There are great greenways around where I live, and I haven’t even begun to explore them. I know that a lot has changed in my abilities, but if I go back to biking, it could solve several issues for me.

This weekend I tracked down a bike and borrowed it for just a few minutes, to find out if my current physical ability even makes that an option for me. Initially, it was rough, as I expected. It has been years since I even sat on the seat of a bike, and I expected to be rusty, and I certainly was. I picked the bike up, and tried again. After several attempts, I focused on how staying upright is more difficult at low speeds, and attempted to get up to speed faster to make life easier.

Have you had your leg fall asleep so thoroughly before that when you stand, there is no sensation it it at all for the first minute? It’s like your leg is completely missing. You can still see it there, but when you move it about there is no sensory feedback like you would expect. This is the closest description I can find to what I experienced. I could watch myself falling, see the bike tipping over, but there was no sensory input from my body that I was falling. It was like that part of my brain has just “fallen asleep”, that it isn’t there any more. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I try again, nothing changes. Yet.

That was my first try. I put the bike away. I found out that the easiest option isn’t one that is going to work for me, unfortunately. I may try again to go that route, but I suspect I won’t see significant enough improvements there to be safe on a bike.

Where am I going to go from here? I do actually see myself as still having a lot of options available to me. The obvious answer is using a recumbent bike, or tricycle, something that does not rely so heavily on my own sense of balance. I do not currently have access to one, and the entrance fee there is higher than what I currently have available for this, but I am going to be exploring my options there. The summer heat where I live is high enough that even with additional stability, biking might still not be a viable option. Either way, this is something I am going to figure out. I will keep updates on my journey here on this site. I can’t wait to see what the future brings!