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Bike Tour
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“Having multiple sclerosis means that you may not be able to walk when you wake up. Or that you may suddenly have impaired vision. Or that your memory will fail you for no apparent reason. The symptoms of MS are different for everyone – the only certainty is that it will affect yet another person every hour of every day.”
Anyone who knows me might be wondering how I wound up on a bike at all, let alone fundraising for this very noble cause and attempting this 50 mile ride? I’m sure most would say, you must have the wrong girl!  Biking does not include stilettos, tattoos, swinging from meat hooks, pink hair dye or candy and does involve being OUSTIDE in the SUN…Something is very wrong with this picture!
My getting on a bike for the first time in 25 years stems from 2 places. First, was a serious injury I suffered about a year ago, the worst injury I’ve ever had.  Second, from an amazing friend who encouraged me to ride and who’s mother passed away as a result of MS.
My injury was not life threatening but it left me feeling disabled and vulnerable. I had 8 months of physical therapy three times a week until I was able to regain normal function then 2 months with a functional movement trainer to build up strength in my chest, back, and shoulder.  The simplest things like opening a door, hailing a cab, and carrying groceries were all challenges.  These everyday things are almost always taken for granted- until you can’t do them.  I was also unable to participate in my two most favorite activates yoga and pole dancing.  This whole experience was a very rude awakening -I am not super human, I am not invincible.  WTF!
About 6 months into my recovery I began searching for something to replace my previous favorite activities. Something I could really get into.  The tears in my rotator cuff meant no more pole dancing, ever.  Unless, of course, I wanted to guarantee I’d need surgery within the next few years.  Yoga wasn’t out all together but I was not in good enough shape to attempt it yet.  Pretty much from day one of my injury my motto was “at least my legs still work”. This is what I would tell myself as I hit the gym grudgingly doing monotonous cardio on some silly machine.  My physical therapist said I should be good enough to do some biking, and it was perfect weather to get outside after our horrific winter.  In theory this would be a great option, except a few key factors. 1.I didn’t have a bike, 2. I hadn’t been on one in about 25 years and 3. I have an IRRATIONAL fear of falling.
Many. many friends over many, many years have tried to get me to ride with them.  I outright refused to even entertain such ridiculousness.  Me on a bike, haha, absurd.  I’ve also been told by a friend or two or ten that I can be quite stubborn so getting me to change my mind is next to impossible.
Given my desperate circumstances to find SOMETHING, ANYTHING to replace my lost activates and a close friend who’s an avid biker  encouraging me the thought became more of an option than I ever would have imagined.  I must admit I do love a challenge and using this to help get over my fear of falling was looking more and more like something I just HAD TO DO.  While mulling over this crazy notion I couldn’t get out of my head my friend’s motivation for biking.  He told me his drive to pursue biking with such ardor was driven by watching the loss of his mother’s mobility and eventually life from MS.  His passion and motivation was inspirational. Faced with challenges due to my injury I felt more connected than ever to his situation and made me hold tight to my rehab motto…at least my legs still work… I was not going to take them for granted.
So the seeds were planted, the challenge defined, I was going to ride a bike.
The first Saturday in April, a very cool spring day, so why am I sweating through my shirt walking to the park?  Ahhh yes, it’s my irrational fear wreaking havoc on my autonomic nervous system provoking the fight or flight reaction at just the mere thought of renting the bike. I am asking myself why the fuck I’m doing this, sweating, pulse racing, no color in my face, seriously why do this?  The pragmatic part of me knows I’m being irrational and   I just have to suck it up because I KNOW once I’m riding for a bit my anxiety will decrease and I will no longer be scared.  It’s just riding a bike after all. The “fight” kicks in and before I know it I’m successfully navigating though runners, baby strollers, skateboarders, tourists, dogs, pedi-cabs and horse drawn carriages.  Success.  I leave the park that day knowing I’ll be back.
By my birthday April 29th in late I knew biking was a most suitable replacement for pole dance and yoga. I had asked for and gotten a beautiful Trek 7.5 hybrid bike as a gift.    Having my own bike changed everything.  I could ride whenever and for as long as I like and it was ON!  The 5 boro bike tour was occurring shortly after I got my bike.  My friend was very disappointed he could not participate in this ride and mentioned he was going to increase the challenge by doing a 64 mile ride in Hudson Valley.  As the weeks passed I starting to feeling more comfortable on my bike. There were no more cold sweats before I got to the park, no more nausea when thinking about riding near the traffic allowed in the park, no more irrational fear.  Then the idea started ….my first bike tour…a 30 mile ride through the Hudson Valley.  Would I be ready in 4 short weeks? It was a challenge I had to take.  Sunday, June 26th, I completed by first bike tour.  In 3 short months I’d gone from a complete novice to accomplishing my first 30 mile ride. 
When my friend told me he was going to ride for MS next and do some fundraising I knew I had to join in the effort and support a cause so important to my friend and bike mentor. So here I am 11 months post injury, found a new great passion, inspired by amazing people, encourage and helped by generous friends and SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO READY TO GIVE BACK to a very worthy cause.
“True charity is the desire to be useful to others without thought of recompense”  Emanuel Swedenborg