March 12, 2015

Pedaling to Peoria—and Beyond!

photo: wikipedia

By Jan Bono

So we've got another fun post from contributor Jan Bono! I'm pleased she's writing regularly for Cranky Fitness for the time being, a couple of posts a month. Her contributions and those of other generous guest writers are allowing me to steal time for a Secret Writing Project, yay! (Why so secret? It's because as patient longtime readers can attest, I've announced and abandoned so many projects over the years that I don't want to get specific until I've stuck with it a while longer and am sure it's a Real Thing.) Anyway, you can read more about Jan on our info page and don't forget to check out her funny and inspiring book, “Back from Obesity: My 252-pound Weight-Loss Journey.” Besides the print edition, it's also available on Jan's smashwords page. --Crabby

Disaster!

By my estimation, I wasn’t quite half way back from New York City when the odometer on my bicycle stopped functioning. Now I'll never be totally sure how long it took me to pedal coast to coast and back—this trip!



Yes, I've made the trek several times since I bought my RECUMBENT bike on January 1, 2010, making good on my multi-year resolution to never turn that particular piece of exercise equipment into an expensive clothes rack.


Friends laughed. "You won't stick to it!" they taunted. "You'll get bored pedaling every day without going anywhere." A few threatened me with "surprise inspections" to see if I'd shoved it off into a corner and thrown an afghan over it.

Far from making my bike invisible, I made it the cornerstone of my maintenance of a 252-pound weight-loss journey. It's parked prominently in my rec room, facing the television, of course, and provides me with the best seat in the house.

And I could be talking about my butt here, too!

At 60 years old, my legs and glutes are in the best shape possible. It's quite the miracle. A few decades ago, based on the fact I'd had the cartilage in my knee removed as the result of a high school long jump accident, I was told I'd be facing knee replacement surgery before I turned 50. At age 44, the pain was excruciating, but the doctor said he wouldn't risk surgery on a woman weighing 396 pounds, no matter how much I hurt.

"Every pound on your body puts four pounds of pressure on your knees," he said.

Doubting his statement, I delegated the research and Google got right on it. Damn it all! Dozens of sites confirmed the statistic. My doctor had told me the truth.

And the truth hurts—almost as much as my knees did. So through good nutrition and portion control (don't ever say DIE-it!), I brought the weight down and built the supporting muscles up. Today, wouldn't you know it, it turns out that by maintaining a healthy weight and continued exercise regime, I won't need the surgery for some time—perhaps not at all! (I reserve the right to get cortisone shots twice a year if needed, but I'm happy to do so!)

My recumbent bike is one of the best investments I've ever made. While I pedal, up to two hours some mornings, I multi-task. I catch up on the television shows I saved on DVR, make all my phone calls (House rule: on the phone, on the bike), do bicep curls with 3-pound weights, and/or have quality time with my cats.


Which begs the question: Does holding a cat on my lap while I pedal count as weight-bearing exercise? I’m pretty sure it does!



21 comments:

  1. Well I hate to be all shallow and everything but DAMN!! those are the legs of a 20 year old!! My treadmill is front and center in my living room and that is where I hang my coats. In my defense the cat broke it! Honest! He did!

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    1. Hello Cindy!

      Ain't that just THE GREATEST view of a 60-year-old's legs E V E R?? Thanks for noticing! LOL Never mind that when I stand up, they're all lopsided at the knees where I've had multiple surgeries! We take all compliments with a big, silly grin and a THANK YOU! Now, if you don't mind me saying so... Please hang those coats up in the closet and get yer butt moving, girl! You got this!

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  2. Jan,
    Very impressive persistence, BRAVO!

    I'll try to follow in your footsteps, but it has to be on the type of bike you portray at the very top! I'm old-school! :)

    I've made many a joke on Twitter to the effect of "New Soloflex Model C - Now Offering Built-in Clothes Hangers!", so what you did is all the more impressive. I know that with me, sometimes it takes somebody saying "that's impossible" to get me to dive right into something. They throw down the gauntlet, and we respond!

    Yes, cat-lifting does count, as well as cat-chasing!

    Dave/Tabby

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    1. Thanks so much, Dave/Tabby!

      I, too, am "old school," and had to have a doctor friend, who bicycles everywhere, come over to assemble the recumbent bike! So here's your personalized challenge... (drum roll)... IT'S IMPOSSIBLE for you to use your soloflex three times a week for the next month!! IMPOSSIBLE, you hear me?? The gauntlet is sailing your way! ... And please report in a month from now to tell me what lengths you went to avoid picking it up... ;-)

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    2. Ha ha,
      Windy, you're a riot! You know what? It actually is impossible, because I don't have a Soloflex, I only play one on TV! ;) I'm working on inventing the Recalcitrant Bike, or maybe the Cucumbent Bike, which not only looks like a cucumber but is powered by mashed up ones!

      Sincerely,
      Dave

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    3. Have you calculated the calories in that? I'd be happy test drive it for you!

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    4. Windy,
      I'd conservatively estimate at least one calorie, possibly even more! The flavor and fragrance of the Cucumbent also enhance the experience!

      You are awesome. That's all there is to it!
      Dave

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    5. Thanks, Dave. I really needed that smile today. ...... Awesome is GOOD, right? It's not another "BAD" means good distortion, is it? LOL ... Got another post coming soon I think you'll get a kick out of. Thanks fir the shout out!

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  3. Death Ride GrandmaMarch 12, 2015 at 2:06 PM

    Yes! I got a recumbent bike at home so long ago...well, let's just say I amused myself through my first consistent stretch of pedaling by using the remote(s) to convert all our Beta movies to VHS. But watch out - someone got me out on an actual two-wheeler eventually, and I am now riding about 6000 actual road miles a year (yeah, it stinks when the odometer goes out on you!). The original recumbent has moved on to a relative who wants to get in shape. So you never know where these good habits may lead you. Congratulations on your wonderful successes!

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    1. Oooooo, Death Ride, I'm soooo impressed! I actually bought a "real" bike at a garage sale TWO YEARS ago, and have not had it out of the garage! Around here, it's scary to do the "street work," so my plan was to take it to the paved beach trail 5 miles from here for some fresh air. BUT FIRST, I had to get a helmet. AND THEN I needed a van to transport it! LOL Then I discovered a tire pump was in order... And so it goes... But soon... Like before the end of April, I "intend" to get out there and do the 8-mile round trip along the dunes.

      Thanks again for the shout out! You GO, girl!

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  4. Good for you! My stair stepper, that i got at a garage sale, was used 5 days a week until it broke. Maybe i need to look for another, since it's a form of exercise i know i will do.

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    1. Yep, Messy, it's time to commit yourself to another stepper... You already KNOW you want to! :-) I'm rooting for you!

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  5. Aww! Aren't cats great exercise company? And yes, that is most definitely weight bearing exercise!
    Thank you for more great inspiration. I'm afraid of "real" bikes after a really bad accident several years ago, but I think I sure would like one of those!

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    1. Hi Genie!

      Regular bikes pedal "up and down." Recumbents are more "in and out," and save a little wear and tear on the cartilage. My knee doc told me several brands to try out, and I found mine at Fred Meyer (Kroger's in some parts of the US) on a G R E A T sale, with an additional discount coupon from the weekly newspaper. So watch those sale ads and be ready to pounce! These days, as I said in my post, I am NEVER on the phone or watching TV unless I'm on the bike. It's automatic, and has kept me true to my fitness goals. Best wishes!

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  6. Those legs are impressive: as good as my grandmother's in her seventies, who walked nearly every day and weighed just above ninety pounds all her adult life.
    When I resign myself to the stationary bike instead of walking outdoors, it's my podcast time. I could never make phone calls on it--I need to be at my desk with my calendars (both paper and computer) for that, and I have enough trouble hearing over the phone without the sound of the bike. With a podcast I can turn the sound up until it's just loud enough to hear over the whirr without being uncomfortably loud. I've tried watching movies but the screen and me is just too much motion combined. But the maple pollen is beginning to show up, so I will be hitting the bike steadily so I can breathe indoors.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    1. Hi Mary Anne!

      Heck, I can remember when EACH of my legs weighed 90 pounds! Good for your Granny! Yes, pollen can slow us all down, so I'm glad you've got the back up bike standing ready. It's so handy for me to hop on it for a shorter pedal several times a day... I just love the convenience!

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  7. Way to show those doubting friends!!! And, now I'm thinking I should take up pedaling - your legs rock!!!

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  8. Oh, I'm blushing! Never thought my legs were a particularly strong feature, despite the fact that they ARE so strong now! Thanks for the shout out! ... And now, you're in danger of "shouldn't all over yourself..." UNLESS, you get moving, Kim! Whatever you choose, do 20 minutes today! Commit to be fit!

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    1. Dang auto correct!! That was supposed to be "shoulding" all over yourself! Aaaccckkk!

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  9. Thanks for reminding me that while I'm on the lookout for an actual bike for my 8 year old (the axel is busted on his old one), I need to keep an eye out for a previously loved recumbent for myself! I love getting out on my regular two-wheeler in the summer (which is all too short around here). I keep thinking I need something to mix up the treadmill in the winter. A bike! Genius! ;)

    Keep on rocking coast to coast! That is mighty impressive!

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    1. Thanks, bdaiss! I'm actually on my bike RIGHT NOW, typing with one finger on my iPad... Multi-tasking takes on a whole new meaning! Best wishes!

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