Sunday, October 31, 2021

My last entry for the time being.

 I haven't given much time to this blog. I also haven't given much time to bicycles or to cycling.
The truth is that Covid changed a lot of things for me, including my relationship to bicycles and to riding. The shutdown made it impossible for me to enjoy riding because there was no one to ride with for a very long time, and because there wasn't really anywhere to go.

Now that things are opening back up, the fact is that I am tired, fatigued -- from both the length of the shutdown and from the lack of physical activity that it brought into my life. With no work and nowhere to go, my wanderlust has pretty much fizzled out. I no longer have any meaningful reason to ride my bicycle when it's frankly easier to walk or take the bus.

I take naps now, almost every day. How much of that is aging, how much is depression and how much is the lingering effects of the shutdown I cannot know, and in the end it doesn't change my fatigue. Over the last twenty months I have been hard pressed to find work I can do without running to the bathroom hourly or without needing to sit down after an hour or two on my feet. I'll grant that a lot of this has been the change in my daily routines, brought about by Covid and by a lack of work that I can do. But at least some of it is simply that I don't have the physical energy I once did. I'm seeing doctors about various things and trying to understand what's going on. So far all that anyone can tell me is that the aging process can be amplified by autoimmune disease; and that perhaps some more tests are in order to rule out anything extreme.

And I guess I'm done with this blog. Bicycles stopped being my profession nine years ago, and in the last two years they've ceased to be much of a hobby as well. So I have nothing new to report on the state of the bicycle industry (except that I think it's kind of gone to hell, with its increased racing trickle-down of parts that ordinary people don't need and can't really afford), and little to report on the state of my bicycle riding, at least for now.

It's been fun. I've loved bicycles and bicycling for a long time. If I love it less now, it's only because it hurts my knees ad there's no meaningful relief I can afford on the horizon. So Thanks for reading, and thanks for your comments. I'll leave the blog up for awhile so people can still read the articles; and I'll decide what to do with it in the longer run later on.
I hope I can enjoy riding again by getting some help with my knees, my gut and my head. But if I can't, I won't feel sorry. I've lvoed bicycles since I was very little and have ridden them my whole life. If at some point my body says to walk instead, I'm okay with that. For now, I'll wait and see.

Happy riding.


Brian W. Ogilvie said...

Thank you for creating and sustaining this blog! I've appreciated your insights into what it's like to use a bicycle as your main mode of transportation, and the challenges that you face even in a place that has a reputation for being bicycle friendly. I've admired your ethos of service to others, and your work to repair bikes and make them available to those who need them. And as I age and confront my own health and limitations on what I used to be able to do without thinking, I admire your candor about your own challenges. I wish you all the best, and I hope you can enjoy riding again. If you're ever in western Massachusetts, drop me a line!

Nancy said...

I will miss having your blog posts arrive on my desk top periodically as I have appreciated all your posts. It seems you have a good attitude about leaving your passion for bikes and biking as you move on to things that are better suited for your needs at this time. I applaud you for that and wish you well for what the future brings for you. Perhaps that will mean riding your bike again sometime, perhaps nice walks are what will bring you joy now. Thank you Beth, and the best to you.

Dave said...

I can understand how you feel as I have health problems and am unable to ride or even walk far. But dont give up on cycling completely because hopefully things will change and maybe with the Spring and better weather you will feel differently. Think of the good rides you had and how you felt afterwards.
Thank you for the blog it was always interesting reading especially your ways around various bike problems and how you dealt with them.

All the best for the future.

Eric in California said...

Thanks for your blogging, Beth, I've enjoyed reading them for the last decade.

Touching on bicycling as a profession, as community service, and a way to get out of the house and explore the world while having fun, I found your thoughts refreshing and stimulating.

Your struggle against aging and chronic conditions and the politics of your faith tradition were more difficult reading, but I admire your perseverance, always taking the "next right action" and continuing to move forward. Thanks for the inspiration.

Former bike shop employee here (1980 - 1981), your commentary on the "industry" rings true with what I've seen in the meantime.

If it helps...I'm 65, former marathon runner and bicycle commuter, now reduced to daily naps, a few short hours of daily "quality" time to get things done, 2 short dog walks, and the occasional bike ride. Aging is not for the faint of heart.

Years ago I looked at "Dutch" bikes (step-through frame, upright posture, easy gearing) and thought that's not my kind of bicycle. But swinging a leg over the top tube and riding my racing tuck flat handlebar commuter bike isn't working for me any more, there's a "Dutch" bike or similar in my near future, maybe yours?

Hope you can take a break, gather your thoughts, and share them at intervals, would enjoy hearing more reports about your journey and what you're seeing along the way.

Jay said...

Dear Beth,

Thanks very much for your words and thoughts on this blog. You have a great heart and look out for your community. Good things find their way to good people, and you will find new joys in life.

Happy Thanksgiving, Jay

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