Guest Post: I Rode My Bike Today

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We’ve got a guest post today, and while my relationship with the author makes me a bit biased, I think it fucking rules.

I Rode my Bike Today

I know that most of the readers of DruckCyclist will read the above statement and go “Huh? so what?”  For you riding your bike on any day is like drinking beer, an almost mandatory activity.  For me it was an event, and therein lies the tale.

First allow me to introduce myself, you can call me Poppa 40 Hands.  I have the honor of being the father of 40 Hands.  That means I am old enough to be your father, or grandfather. While 40 Hands is primarily a mountain biker I am strictly a pavement pounder.  In New Jersey that means potholes, broken pavement, road debris and sharing the road with cars that do not want you on their crappy road.

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In the past 5 years my miles went to almost zero. There were a number of reasons, a heart attack, putting weight back on after said heart attack but mainly pain in my knees.  I tried everything from gel injections to cortisone shots to arthroscopic surgery, nothing really helped.  So I finally decided to have both knees replaced and the one thing I told my surgeon was that I wanted to be able to ride my bike after the operation.  He of course said “no problem”.  So in April of 2015 I had them replaced…and promptly fell into the rabbit hole.

The next 12 months were a tour of bad medical outcomes: reaction to the anesthesia, a post-op infection, IV antibiotics (41 days) to fix the infection, dehydration & hospitalization, C-Diff bacterial infection and another two more hospitalizations.  While all of this was happening I kept saying “I just want to ride my bike”.  My favorite rehab activity was the stationary bike.  Each time I would try to spin harder, or longer, or with the saddle at a proper height.  I was in training to ride the real thing.  I tried a couple of times but I couldn’t get the balance right.  Each fall off the bike would result in another minor injury and more time off the bike.  Then in February my kidneys said “No Mas” and stopped working permanently.  I looked like the Michelin Man from the nipples south.  Every space that could hold water did hold water.  When I went into the ICU I weighed in at 275 pounds.  When I left the hospital two weeks later and thanks to daily dialysis, I weighed 195 pounds.  I hadn’t weighed so little since I was a sophomore in college over four decades ago.  I now had a new body where my knees finally had some real mobility, they didn’t have to fight bloated, from fluid retention, quads.  However, my sense of balance was way off.   My center of mass had moved way up to my chest..not my belly.

This (ed. note: Monday) afternoon was a beautiful day.  I got out my old Cannondale, which has a beautiful fillet-brazed aluminum frame and Grip Shift bar end shifters and put on a pair of 40’s old soccer shin guards, knee pads, and my helmet, and walked my bike up to the cul-de-sac at the end of the street.  I had some issues getting up on the bike, but I managed not to fall.  I started out slowly going to the right, then doing a figure 8, then going to the left.  Most of you probably do not remember the details of learning to ride your bike but that is what I was doing.  I’m sure that the neighbors where wondering why this overly protected 65 year old man was riding around in the cul-de-sac with this HUGE shit-eating grin on his face!  After I conquered the cul-de-sac I moved on to a nearby parking lot, and finally the local streets.  I made myself go fast and slow.  I made sure I could stop and start. The one thing I could not do was stand up, the down stroke put too much pressure on my knees.  I toured the neighborhood from the unique perspective you only get moving around on your own power.

I rode my bike today…I am a happy man.


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About 40 Hands

A fan of riding bikes with one gear, malt liquor, riding without knowing how many miles I’ve covered, and strip clubs that let you bring your own keg. I typically have a stupid grin on my face, it is because deep down I know that no matter what, my mom thinks I’m cool. Denver, Colorado, USA

14 Replies to “Guest Post: I Rode My Bike Today”

  1. WAAYY worse knee replacement rehab than I have had – but it is amazing you pushed through it and got back on the bike. It will get better and having that collection of metal and rubber to get up on and the fun it is will continue to bring that shit eating grin back. Best of luck the rest of the way.

  2. I hope your pop is around when .04 hands gets to learn to ride a bike. That will bring this full circle. Imagine the shit eating grin then!

  3. I feel your pain/excitement! Smashed my knee skydiving and after infections and almost having to have it fused straight I had to learn to walk again. It didn’t seem so hard the first time learning to walk! No more skydiving now but did some post knee recovery. Happier to ride a bike these days. Well done not letting it beat you either!

  4. Congrats Papa40! Passing this onto my dad who is considering knee replacement and I keep warning him it’s going to be a HUGE thing. And keep him off his feet/etc for a while.

    Biking is freedom of the soul.

  5. Boy you’ve been through the wars in a big way. Keep up the effort – slow and sure. Just don’t give cycling away.

  6. If this was Bike Rumor, some dick would point out that you can’t fillet braze aluminum. Seriously, this story is a good reminder that despite our best efforts, we’re all likely to end up with far different abilities some day than we have today, which is why e-bikes rule.

  7. Way to pound through the worst of times and make it to the best of times, Poppa 40 Hands! You’ve proved that the only thing that stands in our way is us. Glad to know you’re back riding again.

  8. Bad to the bone and DrunkCyclist as Fuck! I’ll never forget my first day back on the bike after a massive heart attack 7 years ago….. Congrat’s!!

  9. Thanks for the motivation. I’ve been sulking since I’ve been told no bike for next 12-14weeks. I just had 2 major surgeries in a weeks time. I’m 45 and had part of a lung removed right after bowel resection surgery. I’m in Jersey and can’t wait to ride around my driveway