Getting My Nerve Back: A Journey of 10 Weeks Away from the Bike

The fall happened so quickly. Around the curve on a downhill on chipseal pavement. My narrow road bike tire caught the edge of the rumble strip and down I went. Fortunately, the impact was to my left side.

After nearly 10 weeks of being off that road bike I’ve discovered something that is holding me back. It isn’t my diminished fitness level, it is my loss of nerve.

I’m more than a little bit afraid to get back on the bike.

To go from 100 to 200 miles a week on several bikes to nearly zero or a few miles on the trainer, has been a mental adjustment.  But a recurring theme of doctors and friends is “don’t fall.”


I hear that from my ortho guy who replaced my knees. However, this is the same guy who says to me: “a moving brook never freezes.” Keep moving but don’t fall? What’s an immobilized cyclist to do?

As I’ve noted in other posts, Sally, my 5-year-old Cairn Terrier, and other friends have come to my rescue as walking partners.  Up to or over 20 miles each week.

But this fear of falling and, ultimately, getting back on the bike is what’s right in front of me.

However, I will say this about this time off: it has helped me adjust to the routine and change in the past three years.  When the pandemic began I started riding the bike, built a romantic relationship and started retirement.  After 24 months only two of those remained. And now after 36 months (or more) only one is here: I’m still retired.

Which brings me back to the fear thing: is the fear of how I’ll sail through the rest of my retirement? Or is it replacing my bike time? Or is it navigating any new relationship?

Here’s a clue: it’s all three. And they are intertwined. I’m getting to redefine my retirement as a what I want to do and when. Without the bike, I’ve found other things to do: pickle ball, hiking, walking and, maybe, dancing. As for the relationship piece: I’m more careful with anything new–listening to my partner, understanding their boundaries and wants and being almost silent publicly.

So, there, it is a fear of falling.  But not just off the bike.  I’ll start there.  Hopefully the falls in the other areas won’t be as significant.


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