Any injury that clips your bike wings and forces you off your bike is a major reduction to your quality of life. Once your primary source of adventure, freedom, discovery, and personal expression has been suspended, you have two choices: you can devolve into a total grouch, or you can make the best of your situation by treating your recovery as a time for reflection and/or personal growth. As the author of this blog, I am right there with you, pendulously swinging between sullen fury and fiery optimism, courtesy of a fussy psoas, which has kept me off my bike for six weeks now.
Who hasn’t been in this situation?
Take heart in the fact that this is only temporary. If you play by the rules now, that’s to say, be patient, follow the doctor’s orders to the letter and believe that you’ll get better, then you’ll avoid prolonging recovery and perhaps reinjuring yourself if you try to get back on your bike before you’re fully recovered.
We’ve all been there and can empathize, which is why we’ve put together a short list of things you can do to pass the time while recovering from a bike injury. If you have an activity to add, hit us up on Facebook and share your experience.
#1 Show your bike that you love it
If you still have most of your mobility and you’ve been putting off maintenance projects — you know those ones you said you’d eventually get around to? Well guess what, you’ve just been awarded the opportunity to get to them. Whether it’s swapping out your threadbare tires or bleeding your hydraulic brakes, sprucing up your bike now to ride later will make the delayed reward that much sweeter.
Replacing your handlebar tape is one such project (plus your hands and wrists will thank you). Watch our “How to wrap your handlebars!” video on our blog.
Or, now would be a good time to patch all those punctured tubes that have been piling up in the corner. So put on your favorite YouTube video, like this Tom Ritchey Q&A with fahrstil interview and get patching!
#2 Learn Spanish
Starting a new language is monotonous and repetitive in the beginning, which makes it an ideal activity to dedicate 30-60 minutes per day while you’re laid up on the couch. Why Spanish? It’s the second most-spoken language in the world and far easier for westerners to learn than first-ranked Mandarin. But the real reason to learn Spanish is to extend your cycling experiences across borders.
How to choose your next bike vacation will provide the guidelines for planning a trip or, check out 4 MTB Destinations that aren’t Whistler, Moab, or Andorra for more planning options for when you're all healed. Knowing at least a little Spanish (or Greek, Polish, Italian, or Portuguese) will come in handy for the destinations suggested in these posts.
Commit to studying by dangling a reward out there that will strengthen your commitment, like the Ritchey Break-Away, which fits inside a standard suitcase. Or, buy yourself a plane ticket and set learning goals backward from your departure date.
#3 Travel to Rwanda in the “Land of Second Chances”
This transformative story gives ample motive for reflection of the self, of the circumstances, of history, of genocide, and of recovery.
In December 2005, Tom Ritchey followed through on an invitation to travel to Rwanda, a nation still plagued by a checkered reputation following the genocide in the early 1990’s. Yet the tiny, landlocked country, poised on equatorial Africa, is home to some of the world’s finest coffee thanks to its lush landscape and sweeping elevations, which also make it ideal cycling terrain, according to Ritchey. In fact, the Rwandans were already accomplished cyclists; they just didn’t know it yet. You see, the faster a coffee farmer can transport his coffee cherries to a processing center, the less chance of them rotting and spoiling since coffee cherries stop ripening once they are picked. Inefficient and inadequate bikes were already being used to transport coffee cherries up to 15 miles/24 km to the nearest center, it’s here where Ritchey saw glaring room for improvement. Read the book excerpt here.
#4 Explore new performance goals
The recipes in “Feed Zone Table, Family-style Meals to Nourish Life and Sport” are pretty good, but to skip the book’s 44-page introduction is to miss out on a key factor for improving performance. Authors Biju Thomas and Allen Lim produce overwhelming evidence to support the claim that happiness and health are what drive performance and success, and not the other way around.
“Performance goals” don’t always implicate physical prowess, plus investigating ways to improve your physical performance while not actually being able to put them into practice may defeat the purpose. Recovering from a bike injury provides the ideal opportunity to explore ways off-the-bike to improve your performance.