1 0 Posts with the tag: Electric Assist
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Holy Smokin’ Volcanoes! 10,000km in and we hit Nicaragua.

Posted by on April 7th, 2012 5 Comments
March 14 2012 DSC 7983 548x303 Holy Smokin Volcanoes! 10,000km in and we hit Nicaragua.

Posing for our 10,000km photo in front of Volcán San Cristóbal outside of León, Nicaragua.

After our struggles in Honduras, we were anxious to cross into Nicaragua – although the oppressive heat, heavy headwinds and 40lbs of a broken electric assist continued to weigh us down. But for some reason, even though our hardships had nothing to do with the country of Honduras itself, crossing that border brought some relief. Over the last few days we had adjusted to these difficult conditions and anticipated continuing to face the same hurdles at least until we reached León. It didn’t hurt that in Nicaragua, the road was immensely better than the highway in Honduras. We had a generous shoulder, smooth pavement, and very little traffic. There was also a change in the landscape: for a day and a half we were within view of the smoking Volcán San Cristóbal – a spectacular sight that I hadn’t ever thought I’d see so closely or by bicycle.

March 21 2012 DSC 8157 548x362 Holy Smokin Volcanoes! 10,000km in and we hit Nicaragua.

We were excited about Nicaragua. We had missed out on the ‘good’ side of Honduras, that is the Caribbean side, which was across an expanse of mountains that we didn’t have the time or courage to conquer on this trip. The activities and places of interest in Nicaragua were all on our route and within reach. We also knew that Costa Rica and Panama were going to be quite a bit more expensive than Nicaragua, so we decided to hang out a bit longer here where we could afford better hotels, food options, and a few excursions.

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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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