Today was my first bicycle ride since my shoulder surgery back in early November. This has been the longest period of being off my bike in more than a decade, time enough away that riding seemed foreign and unfamiliar. The cold weather and icy streets didn’t exactly keep me longing for two-wheeled travel either. But after nearly three months of healing and physical therapy, and with temperatures breaking 40 degrees, I decided today was the day to get back in the saddle.
I walked home for lunch and began the preparations. Air in the tires. New batteries for the tail light. Finding my helmet. I chose my utility bike for this ceremonious occasion. Not only does it have fenders to keep the melting ice off my pants, but it has an upright riding position that I hoped would be easier on my shoulder.
Ready to go, I pedaled down the driveway, and carefully navigated around the pond of ice at the end. I coasted down the sidewalk, waited for the first sunny, ice-free break into the street, and then I was out on the road and riding!
I was only about a block when I started to think my maiden voyage was premature. There was more pressure on my shoulder than I had imagined there would be, and it was hurting. The pain was enough that I considered turning around, but the preparation time investment and anticipation of the ride kept me going. My shoulder seemed to settle in after a few blocks, and the pain subsided.
As I made my way downtown, the exhilaration of riding a bicycle began to seep in. I made a course correction, headed north away from work, and decided instead to take the scenic route. After so many days of walking, the thought of throwing in an extra mile just for the heck of it without a big time penalty was pretty liberating. I arrived back at work with a smile, looking forward to the next ride.