1 0 Posts with the tag: British Columbia
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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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Getting by with a little help from a friend

Posted by on October 17th, 2011 11 Comments
October 15 2011 DSC 4748 548x362 Getting by with a little help from a friend

Crossing the Lion's Gate Bridge in Vancouver

During our time off the bikes over the last two months we’ve had a number of ideas on how to modify our travel plans in order to proceed in a way that allowed Heidi’s muscles to heal. The only option we found that would allow us to both continue cycling, was to outfit Heidi’s bike with an electric assist motor. At first glance, this choice appeared to be flawless. We could keep moving with the same speed and style that we had become accustomed to; we could get back on the road rather quickly; we could avoid the bulk of the cold, wet weather that is about to blanket the Pacific Northwest; and we could actually transfer some of the cost of purchasing the system outside of our trip budget.

There is no way around it: the cost outset for an electric bicycle motor, paired with a rechargeable battery pack required to power it, is quite high. We already knew this, because we had previously planned to invest in a motor assist upon our return home. For a while now, our plan was to purchase a Stokemonkey, an electric assist motor designed specifically for my Big Dummy longbike, when the trip came to an end — allowing us to transition into a permanent car-free lifestyle with ease. This made the decision to pick up one of these systems quite easy. Conveniently, we were also in Portland at the time, which is the home of Clever Cycles, the bike shop where the system is designed and sold.

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