1 0 Posts with the tag: Stokemonkey
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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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An Uncertain Injury

Posted by on October 11th, 2011 9 Comments

I have a high pain tolerance. After giving birth naturally to two children through fast, furious and painful labours, I’ve learned that I can deal with a lot of pain. However, I hate admitting I’m in pain – and I hate changing my behavior to deal with pain. But now, after struggling with daily pain for the last month and a half, I’m sick of this. I’m sick of not being able to cycle the distance or speed that I want to, or with my bike loaded as heavily as it was before. I’m sick of even simply walking a few kilometers one day and nearly limping the next because I ‘over-did’ it again.

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Kids resting in the trailer being pulled behind Reuben's bike - I can't handle the weight with my injury.

Discovering I had a hernia and being forced off the bikes in Wyoming? I was ready to admit that defeat to the pain in my abdomen – Wyoming didn’t seem too inviting at the time anyway. But now after being off the bikes for so long, I yearn to feel the freedom of touring again. Perhaps recently beginning to read Joe Kurmaskie’s “Mud, Sweat, and Gears,” a book about the author’s cycling adventures with his family, is also putting the fire of the open road under me again. I long for the bike touring routine; the insatiable hunger after days on the road and the ability to swoon over any food – it all tastes good! The twists and turns, the hills and valleys, the views and solitude – I miss all this, what now feels like home to me. The sound of rain sprinkling on the tent as I fall asleep, my muscles sore inside my sleeping bag. Climbing a long and steady hill with the anticipation of what is on the other side. Relishing in a long descent. Picking wild flowers on the side of the road and searching for bugs to observe. Dreaming of destinations down the road, spurring my every pedal stroke. The questions, stares and encounters of curious strangers we meet on the road.

IMG 0343 548x409 An Uncertain Injury

Reuben and the kids stayed in a yurt while I was away in Ontario.

But it seems these things I seek get pushed further out of my reach around every turn. They have eluded me the past two months because we have been waiting for my scheduled hernia repair back home in Ontario. Our plan was for me to fly home, have the surgery, and fly back to the west coast to recover – getting back on our bikes within a few weeks. Yet when I finally made my way back to Ontario, I was only there for a few hours before I was told that the surgery I flew out to have done would not be needed, as I did not, in fact, have a hernia. Instead, I was told I was suffering from strained or torn muscles. For me, having surgery would have been preferable, as not only had a I flown all the way home for that exact purpose, but the recovery time for the surgery is a only few weeks instead of the two to four months of rest required to recover from strained muscles.

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