Back on the bike!

Bike

Riding my bike for the first time

An update for those who read my blog but don’t necessarily follow me on social media.

Following my bike accident, my form has taken some ups and downs. At times I have felt like I’ve been doing better than I expected. Other times I was frustrated at how long it was taking to get better.

It felt like taking two steps forward and one step back. However, I generally felt an improvement day on day.

Most disturbing was not the broken elbow, which is what most people asked me about. The broken elbow sounds bad, but after a few days it was causing very little pain as such. It felt uncomfortable and I didn’t have full motion, but there was no real pain.

My sprained wrists, however, were a different story. That made basic tasks like turning taps and using door handles a real nightmare.

To this day, my hands still feel pain in certain situations. I know that I wouldn’t be able to do a press-up, for instance.

At first, just walking — or even a slight drop in temperature — was sending shooting pains along my arm. I was in real discomfort all the time.

After just over a week off work, I made my return. It was a bit of a struggle, and I felt extremely tired in the middle of the week. But it was the right thing to do, to get me going and beginning to feel normal again.

At the end of the second week, I used the sling for the final time. Despite that, I failed to reach my ambitious goal of being back on the bike for Pedal for Scotland.

Another week later, I drove again for the first time. At first I had to take care not to hurt myself, but it didn’t take long for the pain to go away.

That same week, after making sure the bike was OK, I took a short trip round the corner on my bike. I felt all right, but I knew that riding over bumps and Edinburgh’s pothole-laden roads would be uncomfortable.

I kept setting myself target dates for getting back on the bike. But in truth I knew I couldn’t push myself until I really felt ready.

Finally, almost five weeks on from my fall, I felt able to do almost all day-to-day tasks completely normally. A watershed moment was when I was able to make and carry the tea for my colleagues in the office after weeks of having others do it for me.

Recovery update: Five weeks later, I'm back on the bike! 😀

A photo posted by Duncan Stephen (@duncanstephen) on

After breaking through that five week barrier, yesterday I commuted to work on my bike. It felt great. My arms got a little tired towards the end, but apart from that it felt like I had never been away from the bike.

The cycle back in the afternoon was slightly tougher. It always is, because it’s more uphill. But I could tell I had lost a bit of my fitness since I last tackled the route.

And I have never concentrated so hard while going over a certain speed bump.

Overall, I was very pleased with how I felt.

My arm still doesn’t quite yet have all the motion it should. I still can’t fully straighten it. And my wrists are still painful in a few situations. But I now feel normal almost all of the time, which getting back on the bike has underlined.

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