1 0 Posts with the tag: california
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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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Into Mexico

Posted by on December 28th, 2011 6 Comments

After getting back on our bikes in Vancouver following Canadian Thanksgiving, avoiding the cold, wet weather of the Pacific Northwest was constantly on our minds. Though truly rainy days were few, we rode through temps in the mid-40s and 50s(F) for a few weeks in Washington and Oregon, always chasing the promise of warmer weather down south. Reserving rest days solely for when the weather demanded it, we settled into the habit of pushing longer mileage days. It was only until American Thanksgiving, south of San Francisco, that we realized we had finally arrived in the mystical land of year-round clear skies and warm weather. According to the locals, who all seemed to be bundled up in scarves and toques, it was quite cold this time of year – but to us it was a dream come true where we could ride in short sleeves once more!

November 30 2011 DSC 64351 548x244 Into Mexico

Warm weather means... Zebras? Near San Simeon, CA.

We quickly remembered how to be comfortable taking rest days whenever it suited us, without fear of unexpectedly harsh weather on the following day. So when we arrived in San Luis Obispo we grabbed a hotel with the intentions of hanging out for a few days and getting to know the city. Conveniently, we arrived on a Thursday, and the city’s weekly farmer’s market was just getting started. We quickly saw that this was no ordinary farmer’s market – it was a shut-down-the-main-drag-bring-the-whole-family-party-into-the-evening type of market! All the local restaurants were cooking their food in stalls on the street alongside the farmers selling their fruits and veggies, there was a bouncy castle for the kids and even free valet bicycle parking. The market only got livelier as the kid’s bedtime came and went, after which we trucked it back to the hotel with sleeping children in tow. The following day we caught the Santa Clause parade (which featured a surprising amount of folks on decorated bicycles) and also got plenty of rest and relaxation back at our hotel.

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Reaching milestones and experiencing the mobile cycling community

Posted by on December 26th, 2011 2 Comments

November 19 2011 DSC 6220 548x402 Reaching milestones and experiencing the mobile cycling community

It is strange how seeing a singular landmark can mean so much to a traveler. Whether it is the Eiffel Tower in France, or the Sphinx in Egypt, tourists often structure entire trips around visiting these objects. So it was that we had built up the crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge in our minds. Maybe because the bridge is such a famous landmark, or maybe because it would mark six months on the road and the halfway point of our trip, we had dreamed of what it would be like to cycle across it’s 1.7 mile span since we left Hamilton back in May.

The bridge was hidden from view for most of our approach, but it presented itself suddenly after climbing one final hill – and it was beautiful! With overcast skies (but no fog!) we traversed this milestone with huge smiles on our faces. Even though the wind was strong and the noise of traffic was fierce, this moment meant so much to us. We were simultaneously overjoyed to reach this point in our journey and acutely aware of how far we now were from home.

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On the Cargo Bike Revolution

Posted by on December 23rd, 2011 2 Comments

A few years ago, we somehow stumbled upon the ever-growing world of cargo bikes, and the thriving family riding culture that surrounds it. These are bikes that change the way you think about cycling and can make anything possible. From the original dutch ‘bakfiets’ to front-loading ‘long-johns’, to rear-loading ‘long-tails’, these bikes enable you to haul just about anything, anywhere – making full grocery runs on your bike a breeze, and converting to a car-free lifestyle a more simple process – especially for families like us.

After exploring this sub-culture, choosing to ride a long-tail cargo bike on our year-long adventure seemed like a no-brainer. Our Surly Big Dummy is relatively light-weight for its carrying capacity, rides very similar to a normal bike, and can carry two kids plus gear on a cross-continental bike tour without a second thought! We’ve come thousands of kilometres across plains and over mountain passes, all the while lugging over 175lbs of gear (add the kids and the weight of the bike and it tops out around 275lbs) – and we’ve never doubted our choice!

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Through the forest and along the cliffs

Posted by on November 17th, 2011 3 Comments

November 12 2011 DSC 5930 548x362 Through the forest and along the cliffs

California has a lot to offer in terms of scenery – from the redwood forests in the northern portion of the state to the amazing rocky coast of it’s midsection, we think every day of how there is almost too much beauty to take in – and we are not even halfway through this enormous state!

November 12 2011 DSC 5967 548x362 Through the forest and along the cliffs

The Avenue of the Giants was one of the most spectacular roads we have cycled so far on our trip. These trees are just so big, tall and wide – it is absolutely breathtaking.

November 12 2011 DSC 5902 548x362 Through the forest and along the cliffs

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