Every summer, my wife and I take a day trip to a nearby state conservation area where we enjoy a beautiful three-mile bike trail. I’ve been trying to get back on my bike in preparation for a triathlon later this season, and this trail was going to be my first bike outing since last fall. Back then cycling was pretty scary for me. It took a lot of concentration, and since I couldn’t let go of the handlebars to signal, I had to stick with closed roads. It was stressful. It was not fun.

This spring I experimented with using adult training wheels on my bike for stability, and I tried different bike mirrors in an effort to eliminate the need to look over my left shoulder (turning my right ear down is a trigger for me). A few weeks ago I rode around in circles in a parking lot to see how I was doing. I was OK riding but had some trouble getting going, making sharp turns, and signaling. I hoped to practice more before our day trip, but I didn’t have a chance.

This past weekend was my test on the bike trail. It was awesome! I was steady but nervous on a short section of road we had to go on to reach the trail. My wife checked for traffic and told me when it was safe to turn left. On the trail I cruised along and eventually realized that I was biking without thinking about biking — just like before I got vertigo! I’ve always been cautious on downhills (I assumed it was due to a bad crash I had as a child, but maybe it is also the inner ear hypofunction), but otherwise I was confident and unconcerned. On the way back I road with traffic like a pro and even signaled a turn! It was amazing.

This demonstrates how far I’ve come. I’ve regained other skills recently such as drinking the dregs of my tea while walking to the sink, and staring at something over my left or right shoulder as I walk past it IN A STRAIGHT LINE. I went on a hike this weekend as well and discovered that I can hike without thinking about hiking. That is also a big difference! Sometimes my unsteadiness is quite subtle, but even if the adjustments I make are nearly unconscious, I always notice when the need to pay extra attention is gone.

This feels great, and I am so excited!

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