Six months down the line

It’s now six months since a spontaneous random dismount (crash) from my mountainbike left me with a badly broken shoulder. I remember lying on the ground next to my bike. I knew I had broken something ‘cos your arm just cannot go where mine had just been. I remember cursing, that I would be in plaster for six weeks, which is the usual amount of time it takes for a break to heal. Later when I arrived at hospital, they told me that I had dislocated it. Great, I thought, pop it back in, and away we go. But they went on to explain to me that it was very badly broken as well, and would never be the same again!… Continue reading

born again

At last, I’m back on my bike, and it’s official. No more furtive forrays felling guilty. It’s allowed, but there are conditions, like not falling off, or overdoing it (as if!).

So I’m born again as a cyclist, but this time into the ranks of the Singlespeeders. It’s a purer form of cycling more Zen like, more ‘at one on one’ so to speak. Just man and machine in flowing harmony, feeling more with less, effortless, efficient. Or to quote Supawal, a man ahead of his time if there ever was one, “A journey of deliverance of the second time in a child’s innocence!”.

More importantly, riding a Singlespeed stops me from slapping it in a big gear and winding it up on the descents, and tailwind bits. Having only one gear means having to work hard uphill, wrestling the bike with arms and legs. And, when it’s just too steep to climb, getting off and pushing ensures a more thorough work out. I was thinking of fitting some suspension forks, having no suspension means feeling every bump. But, this is a good thing, it stops me form going downhill fast. Maybe you should try it…you know…like if your’e goin’ downhill fast.

rallenta e amerai a lungo,

Back to Work

I went back to work last week. This was my first week back in the office since the end of July, and it hit me hard. Monday was fine, I’d cleared hundreds of spurious emails from my mailbox, and had my first meeting by lunchtime, it was good to be back. But as the week went on, I went downhill, backache, sore shoulders, hands, and a thumping headache combined with an overwhelming desire to sleep. By Thursday my shoulder had swollen up. I took Friday off!

On Friday I went out for a gentle bike ride along the canal towpath on my Kona singlespeed. The autumn colours against the clear blue sky were fabulous. Within 10 minutes I started to feel so much better, and by the time I reached Kinver I had completely regenerated. Why do I need to work?

screwed by mr cool!

Yesterday I saw the consultant who put my shoulder back together. Mr Cool (his real name! how cool is that!) is an amiable straight-talking Dutchman who tells it like it is. He sent me to get a new X-ray, then took a lot of time and trouble to explain to me what it showed, what I might expect, and what the next step was. I think it is incredible that there are people like Mr Cool who have the knowledge, experience and skill to cut us open, and fix us back together, when we come apart. Even more incredible, in our modern hi-tech age that they fix us back together with little more than screws and string!

Mr Cool gave me the go ahead to give my arm some light work, and I have been enjoying some firsts. Among today’s firsts I have done my trousers up, ate with a knife and fork at the same time, and held the phone to my right ear. Small steps, but progress.

At half-past six this morning I held a coat hanger as if it were handlebars, and imagined I was riding my bike. Still a way off yet, but best to practice eh?

a deep cut

The ‘cut’ or rather the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal runs about a quarter mile from where I live. I have fished in it, canoed on it, even swam in it, but most of all I have ridden my bike along it’s towpath. The best stretch, in my opinion, is the section from Wolverley to Swindon. Any off-road bike ride from ‘our’ house would almost certainly contain a section of the ‘cut’. Yet in all the years I have used, and enjoyed it I have never known much about it, until now. Thanks to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal Society for the following……
“The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal was an early canal, being opened throughout for traffic in May 1772. Built by the great canal engineer James Brindley, it was part of his ‘Grand Cross’, a far-sighted scheme to link the ports of Hull, Liverpool and Bristol by connecting up the rivers Mersey, Trent and Severn.The total length of the canal from Stourport to Great Haywood, its junction with the Trent and Mersey Canal, is 46 miles. The canal climbs from the River Severn, following the valleys of the River Stour and then the Smestow Brook before reaching its summit level of 340 feet at Compton near Wolverhampton. Having Crossed the water-shed of Central England, the canal then follows the Penk and the Sow valleys on its way to Great Haywood and the Trent Valley.A vast variety of goods including coal, steel and carpets were carried along the canal in commercial carrying days. This declined rapidly after the Second World War and by the 1950s, traffic had more or less ceased and the British Transport Commission gave notice that they wished to close the canal completely.

However thanks to the efforts of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal Society, which was formed in 1959, the canal was saved and has now become one of the major leisure waterways of the country.”

They’ve certainly done a great job as this must be one of the best preserved, and maintained sections of ‘cut’ in the country.

Took my first real shower in three weeks yesterday, and it was great! See, I’m allowed to take my sling off now, and I have some new exercises to do. So progress is good.

a man on the edge

I’m able to get ‘out and about’ a bit now for some gentle exercise. So, naturally for me, the first place I had to go was Kinver Edge. Why? Because the countryside there is stunningly beautiful in all seasons. I never tire of being ‘on the edge’, it is a perfect place that has had a spell on me since the very first time I went there when I was 6yrs old. Yes, my love affair with Kinver has been a long-term one, and that’s the best kind.

Meanwhile, my shoulder injury is progressing well. I’m getting quite confident at the exercises I was given. I’ll be seeing the consultant again next Monday, and I can’t wait. Talking of not being able to wait, Carla and my brother Andrew can’t wait until I get back on my bike so that they can take it in turns to give me a good pasting! Pay back time!

Still working my way through the computer books except that I am now into one of the best books I have ever read. I am so impressed with Designing With Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman that I’d say it was essential reading for anyone who has anything to do with web pages.

Thanks to Zeldman I now understand the need for Tantek’s ‘box model hack’, for the ‘be nice to Opera’ rule, and why doctype switching can make such a difference. Yes, it’s “goodbye comp based, and hello rules based design”, for me from now on.

Hang on….. have I lost the plot? now where did I put my anorak?

PS.This week I have been mostly listening to the kids playing in the street. They’re having a great time!

from where I sit

In the backI have taken to riding in the back seat of my car, seeing that I can’t drive, and me an’ my sling don’t fit in the front. It gives you a completely different perspective on what’s going on. I just let the wonderful Carla get on with the driving while I relax, and enjoy the ride.

Went back to hospital on monday to see the consultant, he was pleased with my progress. Removed my dressings, and took my stitches out. I’ll have a lovely scar to add to my collection. I was told that I have to wear the sling/brace for 6 weeks. After that there’s gonna be a lot of hard work to get my shoulder mobile again.

Reg Haig is out of hospital now, and making excellent progress. I reckon he’ll be back on his bike before me! Mind you he did say he was going to give the ‘off-road’ stuff a miss for a while until he gets his confidence back.

While I’m off work I’ve decided to make the most of it, and I’m working my way through some ‘heavy’ computer books. The one I’m reading at the moment might as well be called ‘cure for insomnia’, as it only takes about 20 minutes to send me to sleep.

Gave in, and watched ‘Neighbours’ today!

PS.This week I have been mostly listening to ‘Learn French’ with Michel Thomas! On CD 3 now!

wounded in action

wounded in actionGot out of hospital yesterday nursing a broken shoulder. Fell off while practising the Cross-country course for the National Mountainbike Championships last weekend. Two operations later I’ve got it screwed and plated, so looks like I will be out for a while.

Spare a thought for Reg Haig though. The Marie Curie team rider fell off about 200yds further on from where I crashed. He broke a rib which punctured his lung! Reg was airlifted to Selly Oak hospital in a critical condition. I contacted the hospital today, and they told me that Reg was much improved, and may be transferred to a hospital closer to his home within the next 24hrs. We wish you speedy recovery Reg.

I know we all moan sometimes about the rules of racing, but just imagine if we had been practising outside of the official practice times. There would have been no marshals to raise the alarm, and no paramedics to sort us out. They deserve more praise and credit than we ever give them. The ones that looked after me were brilliant.

Time for my afternoon nap now. Bein’ injured takes it out of you.

PS.This week I have been mostly listening to ‘Learn French’ with Michel Thomas!

Gotta do sumfin.