Injury recovery: Benefiting from time off the bike
Many cyclists, from commuters to racers, will sustain an injury that takes them off the bike for some period. Don’t read that as a crash necessarily. It can be an overuse injury or as simple as a tweaked knee from a bad step off a curb. Regardless of the cause, most cyclists suffer when the ability to ride gets removed. So do those around that now grumpy cyclist…
Why the suffering? Spinning the legs clears the head. It brings forward ideas. It makes an otherwise frustrating commute joyous. Take that away and anyone can become cranky. Shifting one’s focus can help, however.
Many of us have a tendency to take things for granted until they are taken away. Removing riding while healing forces one to recognize how fortunate we as cyclists are to be able to ride. The changed conditions also provide new opportunities. While humans tend to dislike change, breaking up routine can be helpful. Not cycling means time for other things. Depending on the injury, this could mean walking, swimming, stretching, yoga, or what have you. It can also mean physical therapy and the time to get to know one’s body better.
Moving at a different speed affords one an opportunity to see and experience the world a different way. While we generally have a tendency to curse our luck when facing an injury or disruption, reframing it as a time to experience life a different way helps. It helps not just with one’s happiness during the recovery, but with the recovery itself. Cursing and gnashing one’s teeth, while a knee-jerk response, interferes with healing.
So the next time an injury takes you off the bike, recognize that things happen for a reason. Embrace the experience, take the opportunity to work through the injury, and remind yourself that we who have the ability to ride are fortunate every day we’re able to turn the pedals.