In Kelly’s Words- It’s Handcycling Season!
I love this time of year for so many reasons, but one of them is because I get to dust off the handcycle. I love the feeling of working hard, being on the road, and the burn in my arms as I’m climbing up a hill. I always feel so good when I pull into the driveway after a good ride, my head clear and a sense of accomplishment that I can’t get except from a good work out. While biking was not a sport I did before my injury, it was very significant right after my accident and continues to take on new meaning for me.
Handcycling was the first sport I tried after my injury over 12 years ago. I wasn’t a very good endurance athlete (I hated running!), but getting on a handcycle for the first time showed me that I could still be an athlete. That was a really important experience for me. Since that first ride when I was still in rehab a couple months after my injury, handcycling has been my main summer activity and I have handcycled every summer since.
And I’m not alone. Handcycling is one of (if not the) most popular adaptive sports. It is definitely the most common equipment purchased with KBF Active Fund grants. The combination of readily accessible venue (paved roads), a range of handcycle models (from entry-level to elite), and ease of learning for the first time (it’s like riding a bike!) make it one of the easiest sports to get into.
One thing that has been hard for me since having Dylan is not being able to bring her with me while I ride. We always try to find activities to do with her on the weekend. Whenever I head out on the road, I feel badly because she can’t tag along and someone else needs to watch her. At the end of last season we got a bike trailer that Zeke can tow with his bike (she can also be towed behind my bike but it’s good to have something to slow Zeke down on the Vermont hills). So for one of our first rides of the season, Zeke, towing Dylan, and I went out for a ride last weekend,. I was a little bit nervous about her being on the road with tight roads and cars whizzing by us so I’m not sure we’ll do it all the time, but it allowed her to be part of my ride and allowed biking to be a family activity.
I, like many people, like to have something to train for or motivate me. It’s hard to get the like bike several days a week after long work days! Knowing I have to train for the Kelly Brush Ride (registration is open by the way! Click here to sign up.) it forces me to ride more, which I actually love. The time of year for the Kelly Brush Ride (September 8th, always the Saturday after Labor Day) is nice too because it gives me the whole summer to train and get ready for it. I also like to do other rides earlier in the summer to force me to start my training early. In the past I have done the Long Trail Century Ride to support Vermont Adaptive (I’m out of town this year) and the Vermont City Marathon. This year I’m doing the Richard Tom Ride which supports cycling and cycling safety – a cause I can get behind!
I’m sure there will be some summer when I’m injured or something happens and I can’t ride. But until that time comes, I’m going to keep riding as much as possible and get all of the positive benefits, both physically and mentally, that I can!
Dylan turned two a few weeks ago! She was lucky and got 3 birthdays! I sent cupcakes to daycare, had a party for her with friends on the weekend, and then celebrated her actual birthday on a Monday. After her cupcakes at school she came home telling us all about how they sang happy birthday (her rendition goes “Haaappppyyyy Dyyylannn”) and then she got a cupcake. Since that then happened 3 times, she now thinks that anytime someone sings “Happy Birthday” it’s for her (we were told at daycare she thought it was for her the next week when they sang “happy birthday” to a different child) and she should get a cupcake afterward. Now she just starts singing “Happy Birthday” anytime she wants a cupcake. Fun to watch her ability to associate blossom….