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28 Apr ’11 Comments (11) Blog, Recently Spotted

The Loss of Commuting and a Loss of my Heart

Bike Shop Charlotte
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Another heart felt post this week.  I feel like all these things need to continue to be pulled from me so that I can continue to find myself in this world.

Bike Shop Charlotte

7 months ago I didn’t own a car (well I didn’t drive one daily.)  We were a family of 4 with one car.  I rode my bike every day to the bus stop that would take me the 18 miles to center city Charlotte, where I would then ride the 1 mile to my office.  I showered (if it was nasty out) across the street from my work at the local YMCA.  My days were long with this commute, but it was very gratifying to not have the car payment or be trapped in my car in traffic.   I would write, sleep or talk on the bus.  I didn’t think for the whole commute, I enjoyed the events around me and the people I sat next to daily I became friends with.

On October 1st, 2010 I was left hooked by a car in the middle of an intersection 2 blocks away from my bus stop.  The ambulance ride, the adrenaline, the lose of freedom and my soul shut down temporarily.  To date my soul hasn’t been fully aligned or found.  As much as I say I want to ride, I don’t, with the round of bike/car accidents lately I have been even more fearful.

May 1st, 2011 I am ending the broken cycle and rebuilding my hub and wheel.  For bike month I will try to commute by bike for at least the first week of the month.  To and from for 5 days.  I can do that right?  I will do that.

Here’s to my next 8 days.  I hope it is filled with bikes and I safely make it to the other side!

11 Responses to The Loss of Commuting and a Loss of my Heart

  1. sandy says:

    You got this! Way to go for getting back out there! xoxo Sandy

  2. kilby says:

    Yep. You got it! Throw a leg back over the bike, and just ride one day at a time. No sweat!

  3. Sara says:

    You’ll be FINE. You’re stronger than you know. “Fear is that check you’ll never cash”…

    Hugs ~~ Sara

  4. Hi says:

    You can do it! Why not use 2 flashing headlights on each side of your handlebars and 2 tail lights – one on your bike and one on your helmet? When I’m driving a car (yah, I have a car) multiple flashing lights makes a HUGE difference in my ability to see cyclists.

  5. TrailMonster says:

    I have a teammate that has refused to cash that fear check. 2 years ago he was lit up like a Christmas tree on the pre-dawn commute and got t-boned by an 18 wheeler that was pulling in to a loading doc the wrong way. Bruises healed and bike replaced. Since that day he sold his truck and commutes about the same distance as your bus ride. 2 weeks ago he took a Toyota door out. He has walked a few days to work since then. His bike is replaced and upon clearance from the doc he will be back on the two wheeled commute. Now he keeps his head on a swivel and lights on, and I bet there is an extra foot or so from the car door side.

    Get on your bike and ride. Have your coffee before you hit the street. It always pays to be alert and the dividends from a cycling commute pay even more!
    I will do my best to commute all of May as well!

  6. Rick Vosper says:

    Warm thoughts and encouragement, Arleigh. You can do this!

  7. Grody says:

    I can still remember it clearly, the rainy afternoon of 6/21/2001 when I was hit from behind by a pickup going 35 MPH. It knocked me out of my SPD shoes, destroyed a new tandem weight wheel, and sent me to the hospital. For two days I couldn’t walk I was so sore, everywhere. I soon got to riding, but was ridiculously paranoid of every car that went near. After nine months my toes started to go numb as the damage to my back flared. Eighteen months of physical therapy and I was able to sit down regularly.

    It takes time for the body to heal, but it can take longer for the mind to heal. For me the physical therapy was time to heal both and by 2005 I was ready to take on another adventure by bicycle. I rode around Lake Superior unsupported starting from my front door. I ran out of vacation days and needed a bail out ride home the last few hundred miles, but I enjoyed the trip a great deal. I wasn’t paranoid and I was able to finally enjoy cycling as I had before.

    You can’t tell now when it will click and you can’t force it. You’ll be ready when you realize you like riding a bike more than you like sitting in the cage that is a car. You can bounce back and you will enjoy it again.

  8. Dan says:

    I hope that it works out for you Arleigh. My wife, Cindy, and I are cheering for you.

  9. Rob says:

    I knew you would! I look at it this way: it’s unfair that the motorist gets to get back in their cars (sometimes the next day, even!), while cyclists have to wait for their injuries to heal, bikes to be repaired/replaced, and nerves to calm down.
    So enjoy your commute!

  10. Mike in Houston says:

    Hi Arleigh,
    You can do it! Take all the knowledge that you have accumulated with you and ride safely. The confidence of each successful day will set you free. My wife and I are pulling for you!

    Mike

  11. Linda says:

    I just stumbled into this blog but had to comment. I, too, was left hooked several years ago and the first ride after the (body) healing was the worst. I yelled at every car, people probably thought I was crazy (or just another Los Angeles kook). The thing that kept me on the bike was a goal. If I wasn’t training to ride my bike 600 miles in a week when I was hit, I would not have gotten back on. Keep your goal. Remember it and use that as inspiration to keep you on your bike. You’ll do fine. I would not suggest yelling at cars, though. Good luck!

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