To get round the problem of not being able to work off my fug through exercise, Tom came up with the ingenious solution of a turbo trainer and bicycle. Obviously, I am unable to ride a bike ‘normally’ at the moment — I can’t balance, and my feet won’t stay on the pedals — but with the fixed trainer and Tom’s road bike, I can secure my unruly foot with clipless pedals and cleats and be at one with the machine.

Yes, those are my feet in Tom’s cycling shoes!

The turbo trainer is quite a discovery: there is the delicious (albeit illusory) sensation of moving at speed — something I’ve not felt for many months — and I can actually work up a sweat! I have really never been more excited by perspiration. . . The cleats mean that my foot is fixed in place, and they also help my leg to learn to move bilaterally. When I first sat on the bike, my weak leg simply did not know what to do, but because it was fixed to the pedal, I could let the strong one do the work while the other learnt how to rotate without resisting. And, after just a few rotations, the left leg began to figure things out, and tried to join in. The leg goes round and round – amazing! At the moment, of course, the trainer is so tiring that I can only get on it for a few minutes at a time, but I am enjoying it immensely, and am sure it is doing my leg the world of good.


Cycling in the kitchen!

I really wish that I had tried this before. Getting on an exercise bicycle had crossed my mind, but I just thought I would be too lopsided and unbalanced to do it. I have noticed that there are adapted bikes at the place I go to for my outpatient physio, but their use has never been suggested to me. Physio appointments are short, and their recent focus has been on my assumed need to relax, which I frankly find a total waste of time – I do far too much of that already. And while we are on the subject of wheels . . .

. . . this is my new shopping trolley. I still find it difficult to carry anything on my back or shoulders, and even a small handbag can knock my gait out of kilter when I’m walking along outdoors. But this wheely thing is brilliant – it is extremely light, yet sturdy and stable. I can pull it about with me, pop into the shops, load it up, and wheel it home. It folds up small when not in use; can be hooked over the back of a supermarket trolley; and gives me added support when moving. It also comes with a stylish tartan stripe — I shall be the envy of every Edinburgh octogenarian.

I’m also enjoying working on a new design

I like to fancy that there is something of the architecture of early skyscrapers in those slipped stitches, but we shall see how it turns out.

All of which is to say that I am doing ok, and keeping my head above water. Your supportive comments and messages always buoy me up and help me to keep things in perspective — thankyou, as ever. I am trying to get on with things, as you can see. And next week’s exciting project will be to try to learn to swim again, as we are exchanging our local beach at Crammond. . .

. . . for one in a much warmer location. Some sun and heat before Autumn sets in is probably just what I need. See you in a couple of weeks.

83 thoughts on “wheels

  1. Hello. I have been following your blog now for some time and check it every day. I noticed you haven’t posted anything lately and was concerned about how you’re doing. I really hope all is well and that you will post again soon. I have been following your struggles to get your life back to normal and think you are an extremely brave woman (and determined) and you are an inspiration to me, and I’m sure, to lots of women out there. All the very best! India from Canada

    Like

  2. Way to go! (erm… while staying in the kitchen I guess).

    My brother has a shopping trolley. He’s a superhealthy youngster, but logging all the shopping back from Brussels’ market at the Midi seems to require one even for him. So you’re in good company :-)

    Enjoy the jollies!

    Like

  3. Ah yes, cycling is the best therapy, for just about anything . I am positive as you bike in the kitchen, you will find a new way to pull out of your black moods. I have in past discovered many things one can do on a stationary bicycle ~ read, knit, watch movies, all sorts of things. Or, you can just happily mentally rehears the results you will feel as you pedal away.

    Don’t forget you can purchase one of those tri-athlete arm saddles, if your position needs to change, and your hands are getting sore.

    Like

  4. Oh Kate! I am so happy to see that you have found the perfect recovery sport! Though, as a cyclist, I may be biased. I shall think of you when I am out on rides, which I am sure you will be too in no time.

    Fiona

    Like

  5. I love the idea of the bike and your determination to fight against all the difficulties you are experiencing and hope you have an enormously restorative soujourn wherever you’re going.

    Like

  6. That’s brilliant, Kate. Well done your Tom!

    Giving your legs a workout and getting up some speed sounds like a giant boost. Sometimes it must feel like the world is spinning while you’re just holding on, but perhaps it’s just waiting for you to grab a ride. Pedal on! The kitchen is just the start.

    Like

  7. In the words of Jerry Maguire,” break down, break through” congratulations on your ingenious solution, as always. Enjoy the sun and warm water, x

    Like

  8. I lived in Potsdam, Germany for ten years, with no car. I relied on my shopping trolley to bring home groceries for a family of four. In German, which has lovely compounding, the shopping trolley is charmingly referred to as a “Zwiebelporsche” – Zweibel meaning onion, and Porsche, a high end automobile; thus, a Porsche for your onions.

    Enjoy!

    Like

  9. YAY on all counts! LOVE the shopping trolley, I’ve been wanting one. And those physio folks – what do they think knitting is, if not relaxing? Okay, unless it’s time to frog, then not so relaxing, but can be stress-busting if you go at it right!
    Have a terrific trip to the sun.
    ((((hugs)))

    Like

  10. I love my stationary trainer too. I think it is a perfect way to get in some working out – without having to push it too much. I have spare shoes (that I can mail you if our feet are similar size). What size are you???

    Like

  11. I wonder if you could try a trike instead of a bike for getting out and about. We seem to frequent many of the same bits of Edinburgh so you’ve probably seen that women down the walkway that has a trike with a cage for her wee dugs. Something like that could work and the pup could come along for the ride. I’m saving up for a dog trailer for my bike so me and my lurcher can go further afield under our own steam…….
    I’ve never posted a comment before but have been enjoying your writing and knitwear designs for a quite a while now. That reminds me just have to graft under the arms and my owlet will be ready for my friends wee baby to be stylishy warm over the winter. ptx

    Like

  12. I have been reading your blog since I first saw your Owls sweater, and in the past few months have followed with great interest your writing of your recovery process — so much interest, in fact, that I was starting to feel like a bit of a voyeur! I figured it was about time I left a comment and said thank you for your blog. I think, like a lot of people, I of course felt sympathy when I learned of someone having a stroke, but it wasn’t until I started reading Needled and your excellent and candid documentation of your experiences that I truly started to understand the extent of the effects of a stroke. I have a much better understanding how difficult and tedious the recovery process is. Thank you for raising my awareness and understanding.

    Like

  13. Luv it, the bike is fantastic for you. Just don’t go developing calves like the cyclist in The Triplets Of Belleville :-)
    Shopping trolly is a great idea, I’ve seen quite a few young people in Melb city with them when I’ve been there on a Saturday morning.
    Have a lovely holiday at the beach!

    Like

  14. Yay for bikes! (and clever men!)

    I do hope you enjoy your holiday and come back refreshed. I was in Sutherland at the weekend and came back knackered but mentally *so* relaxed. I felt I had been away for weeks!
    Also, saw a 19th century knitting belt in the community museum – I thought of you.

    Like

  15. Octogenrian! Do me a favour. I knew it was OK to get one when my brother told me he saw Helen Mirren with one at his local butcher. Leopardskin I seem to recall.

    Have a lovely holiday.

    Like

  16. I am new to your blog but understand you’ve had a bad year so far, albeit getting better all the time. I was never much for exercise but when I was diagnosed with fybromyalgia this year, I found that my usual walking and yoga routine became a lifeline- and has helped tremendously with the relaxation thing too. Have a great holiday (sun never hurt a person’s spirit.) I’m looking forward to your continued progress and more great knitting designs.

    Like

  17. And what a lovely design it looks like….
    My boss made a nice comment the other day, about keeing the water above the head, but I have to say I am impressed by how you ( both) are dealing with things. Finding solutions is a good feeling.
    And have a nice trip to somewhere warmer.

    Like

  18. I was going to leave a comment about how wonderful it must be to have discovered the bike and some good, “strong” exercise and then I saw your beautiful, beautiful knitting. Your stitches are so lovely and perfectly even and the colour of that wool is devine. I’m going to be thinking and lusting over that peice of knitting for a few hours to come. Happy holiday.

    Like

  19. Exercise does such good. Knitting calms the nerves, (well it does for me)and to see something take shape :-) is so wonderful. It’s finally cool enough for me to get back to my knitting. And a trip… well I hope you have a wonderful time!!!

    Like

  20. What a clever bit of improvisation! as many people have already commented you looked so happy. I hope this helps to ensure that Bruce is the only black dog in your life.

    Enjoy the holiday but if you’re travelling by air consider sitting in an aisle seat. It will give you a bit more wriggle room.

    Like

  21. I just found your blog because of Ravelry and have been reading about your life.
    Thank you for sharing your lovely knits, but most of all thank you for reminding me that anything is possible.
    All the best
    Laurie

    Like

  22. What a fabulous smile you have riding the bike! Also, the picture of Tom with Bruce on the shore is lovely. Have a great time on your trip!

    Like

  23. Riding the road bike indoors is BRILLIANT! I’m so glad it’s working and that you can work up a good sweat and get some serious exercise, that really is a wonderful thing. The green is yummy looking, I like how the slipped stitch columns and mention of skyscrapers lead to the pointy bits in the water of the photo below. Have a lovely break in the sun, and I hope you enjoy swimming and floating in the water!

    Like

  24. i used to work out at the ymca near my apartment in washington d.c. one saturday a group of lean and smiling blind people were escorted to the treadmills and bicycles. they lept upon them, slung a towel around the handlebars of the treadmill as a guy line, and began to run/pedal like sonsabitches. with big fat smiles on their faces. i realized that these machines were their freedom to speed machines, and have thought of machines with much more affection ever since.
    happy trails, baby grrl.

    Like

  25. Have a great holiday!

    What size feet have you got? I have a spare pair of size 5 cycling shoes that are going unused in an Edinburgh cupboard. If they’d be any use to you, let me know. Might be more comfortable once you build up to longer sessions on the bike.

    Like

  26. Welcome to the world of shopping trollies. Mine is purple, and I deliberately avoided tartan. I use it because I have myasthenia gravis and can’t always lift things. Buying it was a big leap because it makes me feel old, but it’s practical and my husband has been kindly and enthusiastic about how funky it is. Needs must.

    Like

  27. I suspect that as you are now able to move more fully, you will be able to relax more fully. I certainly hope I am right. (Just don’t overdo it)

    Like

  28. Well done Tom and Kate!

    What a team. A great idea and so simple when you think about it. You are so right about exercising to get your head right – it’s my saviour too and as you say relaxing can be a helluva waste of time.

    As they say in the best of households, dahling…..

    ‘Oanyerbike!!’

    Have a great holiday.

    L

    Like

  29. Kate.
    I think we all understand depression and know what it is like to want something from the past back again. Memory is as fickle as learning to love yourself, again and again, as we all need to do to live a worthy life on this planet. It’s OK. You are an incredible person with verve and tenacity. It will take time.
    Perhaps you would check out Charlotte Gainsbourg who survived to traumatic brain injury and has now written songs about it. http://www.charlottegainsbourg.com/

    Like

  30. Oh Kate, how wonderful for you! I wonder why the physio hasn’t thought of it already?! Have a lovely time in the hot clime and we’ll see you back here, refreshed and full of more ideas, no doubt. You do Us good as well, you know. lotsaluv x

    Like

  31. Brilliant excersize solution! And do have a wonderful holiday, you do deserve it more than anyone I know.
    Am also looking forward to seeing the finished design, it is looking lovely (as usual) already.

    Like

  32. Gorgeous new design. Don’t overdo the biking! (Sorry to be the dismal voice of caution! Just I’ve pushed myself too far and then crashed too often…). I was trying to think of what to say last week and just couldn’t put together the words, sorry, all brain foggy! The NHS sure seems keen on relaxation techniques, I could never get them to work and just got stressed trying to relax “the right way”, so left it alone and knitted instead! That said, if you find yourself getting depressed don’t be ashamed to ask for help, it’s not weakness and doesn’t make you a bad person in any way. Your brain and body and whole life have had a big shock and sometimes we can need help adjusting.

    Have a wonderful holiday and bask in the warmth.

    Like

  33. Well, huzzah for the bike! (Made me think, immediately, of one of my favorite old children’s books, Marianne Dreams.)

    I am a new reader to your blog but like it so much that I mentioned it on my own a few days back. I am so much of a slug, however that I think if I were in your situation, I would be letting myself slump completely into inactivity. Exactly wrong thing to do. Just to say that I truly admire your spirit and grit.

    And I am hugely excited about more knitting designs, because I think yours are brilliant!

    But what I really would like to know is: What’s that row of pointy things on the beach? People been burying witches in the sand again??

    Like

  34. Yeah! I had a stress fracture in my pelvis last year and the trainer (with my bike on it, in the living room!) was my savior. When you’re used to being active, not being able to burn off some steam can really do a number on your anxiety and mental state of mind. So glad you’ve got a way to get that endorphin high! Enjoy learning to swim!

    Like

  35. That is a fantastic creation! Can you use it to Kate-power your radio / lights? Maybe I need something similar – I can’t balance a bike and even tipped up a tandem. Intrigued by your knitting – lovely colour!

    Like

  36. Brilliant idea, using the static trainer ! Have you ever considered spinning ? A double treadle wheel would be perfect. It’s a different movement, using a different combination of muscles. You can get quite a workout spinning ! It’s fab for really stregthening your ankles.
    It’s lovely to see you feeling a bit more up.

    Like

  37. Really glad to hear both in the lines and between them that your indomitable spirit has fought another battle and won. Hope you have a good holiday!

    Like

  38. Oh, that bike is a brilliant idea! So glad to see you be able to get some good hard exercise.

    I’m very intrigued by this new design…can’t wait to see more!

    I hope you have a *wonderful* vacation at the beach!

    Like

  39. Oh! I think the bike is a terrific idea! I understand their need to tell you to relax but hey I totally agree that exercise is a magnificent thing when i comes to therapy. If you feel it does you good, then do it because only you know what your body is telling you that you need.

    I read your posts every time you write but I am normally silent. I felt I had something to say this time and hope you enjoy yourself on your journey. I can’t wait to see what the lovely green knits itself up into :)

    Like

  40. Oh I’m so glad to read those good news ! About swimming : I was in Roscoff this summer, where thalassotherapy was first introduced in France, and there is still an excellent rehabilitation clinic. One of my friends was sent there from Paris for crippling back problems. They have a beach which is fully accessible to disabled persons, and every day I saw a man whose legs were both paralysed come and swim a long time – more than most “able” persons ; he could use only arms and abdominals, and I am amazed at how well and long he swam. It must have been an elating sensation for him. I hope you enjoy every minute at the beach.

    Like

  41. The bike thing is bloody GENIUS! Yay for Tom!!
    Hope you both have a marvellous time enjoying some delicious golden sunshine. Please tell Bruce he’s more than welcome to come holiday with me while you are away ;o)

    Like

  42. Hi Kate,

    I am totally with you on the shopping trolley. I love mine and it has saved a good few car journeys to my local supermarket. Yours looks very funky. Happy swimming. Angela

    Like

  43. I can’t tell you how delighted I am that you have found a way of doing hard exercise! I know from experience just how much that can contribute to a general sense of well-being, mental as well as physical. Have a great time in the sunshine!

    Like

comment here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.