1 0 Posts from: January, 2012
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Answering questions from strangers

Posted by on January 23rd, 2012 13 Comments

Rolling through numerous small towns each day for the last eight months, we encounter a lot of new people, and they are often very curious about our journey. Most of the time the questions asked are pretty much identical, and fired off in roughly the same order. The most frequent questions being:

  • Where are you going?
  • Where have you come from?
  • Do the kids like it?

The first two are easy, and if you are reading here, you already know the answers. The last one is a bit different, and I’m still trying to figure out what people really want to know or what their intentions truly are in asking. Half the time, the question is directed to Eden, who usually gets shy and turns away quietly or burrows her head into my leg without answering. Later, when I ask her privately if she’s having fun or likes the bike trip, she smiles and nods. One of our bedtime routines is a daily review, discussing all the things we did that day. At the end, I ask her what her favourite part of the day was, and usually she can’t pick just one thing.

August 26 2011 DSC 3729 548x362 Answering questions from strangers

Exploring a chicken coop in Paonia, Colorado

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A Whole New Adventure

Posted by on January 14th, 2012 7 Comments

“Culture shock is the anxiety, feelings of frustration, alienation and anger that may occur when a person is placed in a new culture.”

I’m not new to the idea of culture shock – yet each time I enter a new country, it hits me entirely differently. Years ago, I spent time in the Middle East as well as in South Africa and Zimbabwe. This time, however, things are different. In the past I had traveled with experienced people who helped with negotiating transportation and food, and translated the foreign languages when needed. This time I don’t have a translator – I have my husband and two little kids who are as clueless as I am. Reuben and I started doing the first in a series of beginner’s Spanish lessons on our computer (which we should have, of course, started before entering Mexico), which teaches arcane phrases like ‘the cat is on the table,’ coming nowhere near what you need to know to negotiate travel or a stay in a hotel or order food. Once we crossed the border we truly felt like we had started a whole new adventure – a completely different bike tour than the one we had been on for the last seven months. And at some points during this introduction to Mexico, we felt way out of our comfort zone – and unsure if we wanted to be on this ‘new’ bike tour at all.

December 30 2011 DSC 6616 548x362 A Whole New Adventure

The most abundant shade on the 200km section of toll highway we rode was under the overpasses.

December 29 2011 DSC 6603 548x362 A Whole New Adventure

Snack time under a deserted roadside palapa

It was difficult. It was frustrating. And we were homesick. Christmas and New Years came and went, only accentuating those feelings. We were irritable and we suddenly felt very tired every day – so many new experiences, so many new adjustments. And we could have easily packed it up then and gone home – or at least back to familiar territory where we would be safe and comfortable.

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Bike touring while injured: Healing muscles with a 3,500km ride

Posted by on January 3rd, 2012 3 Comments

After numerous visits to a sports Doctor, a physiotherapist and several means of imaging while in British Columbia, I was given a clear diagnosis and told I did not have any permanent or lasting muscle or bone damage in my hips, groin or legs. I had pulled three muscles on my left side – the groin, the abductor (runs down the inside of the leg to the knee) and the abdominal muscle – or what is known as the sport triad. Apparently, this type of injury is not too common among cyclists, as cycling doesn’t usually involve sudden lunging movements like one might see in soccer or hockey. So it is hard to explain how I managed to find myself with this diagnosis, seeing as I was quite comfortable on my bike after three months of touring leading up to my injury.

November 15 2011 DSC 6137 548x346 Bike touring while injured: Healing muscles with a 3,500km ride

Riding down the California coastline

Most likely, it all goes back to being born with a condition known as hip dysplasia. To resolve this issue, as a child I was placed in a leg/hip brace, which was a common remedy 30 years ago, but is no longer used today due to further complications that usually surface when the patient reaches their late twenties. Seems like that timing is spot on, eh? Not really all that funny, though.

I starting having numerous hip, pelvis, and knee problems between pregnancies, and during my pregnancy and recovery with Harper, and I visited several different physiotherapists to try to find a solution. It wasn’t until Harper turned one that I found a method that relieved the pain I was experiencing both on and off the bike. During a visit with Scott Hadley, a physical therapist based in Michigan, before we took off on a two-week tour of that state last year, I discovered that my left hip was not rotating properly, and that there were three areas in my left leg that were very tender to the touch – around my lower calf muscle, my abductor and the muscle on the outside of my hip. Scott demonstrated how I could give myself a deep tissue massage in these areas with the use of a rolling pin to help release the build up of lactic acid in these muscles. When the lactic acid is released, receptors near the sore spots tell my brain to rotate my hip properly and relieve the pain immediately. I took a makeshift rolling pin along on that tour last fall, and did the rolling exercises several times a day with great success. The relief lasted longer and longer with each rolling, and when my pain completely subsided, I slowly discontinued the exercises.

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