Changing Gears

“You always want to climb the mountain but, once you get to the base, you don’t go any further!”

A few weeks ago, Dave and I were riding and he wanted me to start getting more comfortable in the big cog.  You know; the one at the front of the bike, the one that connects to my left handlebar, the one that I use when I am on the flats or downhill and want to go faster.   If my description did not make it clear enough, I will: I don’t understand the mechanics of shifting between gears.  Well, I didn’t at the beginning of the summer.  Slowly, it is starting to make more sense.

That’s right.  I am almost 56 years old, learned to ride 2 wheels when I was 7 and I have never figured out gears.  Yet, I can ride a bike fairly well and have been doing just fine with the small cog – until now.  Since I am now able to play outside again – after months of only being on my windtrainer and not running at all – it’s time for me to change gears, literally and figuratively.

Dave has been more than supportive as he has been coaching me back to riding on the road, and he has been teaching me how and when to shift gears.  It just doesn’t come naturally for me.   One day, he kept yelling at me “Big chain ring!  You need to get in the big chain ring!”  I didn’t understand why.  Then he yelled, “You always do this!  You want to climb the mountain but, once you get to the base, you don’t want to go any further!”

I thought about that comment for the rest of the ride and he was right. I want to ride my bike but I don’t want to use all of the gears.  I am quite comfortable spending  my time in the small chain ring.  I’ve been too afraid to explore the other side.

When we got home, I told Dave that I needed to know the science behind gears.  “I just don’t understand the mechanics.  I need a lesson.  I need to understand gears so that I can change them properly.  I can’t do it intuitively like you can.”  So we sat down at the kitchen table and Dave explained the math (not science, yay!) behind it.  He drew the chain links and the crossover between gears, explained how they add and why the difference between each gear is not the same….Slowly, gears started to make sense.

My goal for the summer was to get more comfortable on my bike.  I’ve only been at it for a few weeks and I know that I am improving.  I am feeling stronger, more confident, and I’m shifting in and out of the big cog without being told – most of the time.  I need more practice – a lot more practice- but I will get it.

 

 

Hindsight

As I look back and reflect on my last year of not running, and as I think about the emotions that I went through and the steps that I took to repair and heal my hamstring, I hope that my experiences will help another who might be dealing with the same kind of injury.

First and foremost, you know your body better than anyone else.  If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  Looking back, I realize that I missed the warning signs.  Now, I know that the most prominent signal that something was brewing was the pain that went through my butt every time I sat down.  The ischial tuberosity hides under the glutes so, when you sit, the glutes move and you are on your sit bones, or the ischial tuberosities.  I always attributed the discomfort that I had while sitting to not having a lot of fat.  Similarly, I attributed any tightness or discomfort that I may have had through my hamstrings and butt to finishing a tough run (or race) or to a higher mileage week.  Not once did I imagine that my right hamstring was gradually fraying, which resulted in a 50% tear.

Secondly, stay positive.  In the past 10 months, I have worked with my family doctor, 2 sports medical doctors, an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, a chiropractor and a few physiotherapists.  For the most part, my visits with each of them were positive but there were times when I left feeling down.   Some days, anything from a doctor’s silence to a comment such as “That’s unfortunate” or “I hope this will help you” would scare me or send me into tears and leave me wondering “Will I ever be able to run again?”  I had to believe that I would heal and that any fitness lost would be regained.

And so I followed my gut.  While I knew that my tuberosity would heal, it took months to find the right treatment, primarily because I had to wait almost 4 months for the correct diagnosis. It was my GP, not my sports med doctor, who booked an MRI for me, and that had a 3 month wait.  I had just started to run a week before my appointment and thought about cancelling it, but something still seemed off; my gait just didn’t feel right.   My son convinced me to follow through with the MRI as it would give me more information about my injury.  He was right.  The hamstring tear turned out to be deeper than we originally thought.  It was the MRI that led to one sports medical doctor’s referral to another who specializes in hips and to a different physiotherapist, one who targeted strengthening the glutes and hamstrings, followed by another who realigned my pelvis.  And when the physiotherapists gave me exercises to do, I did them no matter how boring they were or spastic I felt.

During my healing and recovery, I focused on what I could do, not on what I couldn’t.  I spent hours each week on my windtrainer so that I could hold onto my cardio; within a 10 month period, I had ridden more than 3000 miles. I worked on my core and upper body  while strengthening my hamstrings and glutes by heading to the yoga studio 3-4 times a week (sometimes more).  I started swimming again and, by June, I was pool running to start rebuilding the same muscles that I use when I run outside.  I set goals that were achievable and I met them almost every single week.

Separating the platelets in the centrifuge.

But it still wasn’t enough. I had done everything that the doctors and physiotherapists had suggested but my right leg just didn’t feel strong whenever I tried to run.  So I followed my gut again and went back to the hip specialist, who proceeded with platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy  at the end of June. Ultimately, it was the PRP injection that had the greatest impact on my healing.   The doctor had cleared me to run only 3 weeks after the injection, not after the usual 8 week period, and, for the first time in almost a year, my legs felt strong again.

Back to Chasing My Dreams

In the past year, the most valuable lesson that I have learned is to listen.   I learned how important it is to pay attention to my body, to what feels right and what doesn’t.   I listened to my professionals and followed through with their advice. If my gut told me that things still weren’t right, I went back again and again until I  found the right form of therapy.   I never gave up.  Yes, I got frustrated and, yes, sometimes I cried, but I also believed that I would eventually heal and get back to chasing my dreams.

 

 

 

 

Finding Humour in Self Love

When I first heard the phrase self-care, I thought it referred to things that I do to look after myself: eat properly, get enough sleep, go to the dentist, relax….It wasn’t until recently that I realized that self-care, or self-love, means so much more (see image above).   Like you probably are now, I went through the examples under each domain and questioned where I fell in my own self-care.   There are many that I do, some fairly regularly and others when I put time aside for them.  During  the summer months, for example, I commit to “designated service acts.”

One of my annual summer projects is collecting towels and bedding for animal rescues and shelters.  Some of the items go to our local humane society; I also collect for a friend who takes things to a farm sanctuary.   This summer, another friend of mine was looking for a new home for her old bedding and towels, and I offered to collect them for the farm.

When I went to pick them up, she had not one, but five, garbage bags of linens.  I was grateful but, at the same time, I was in a bit of a panic because I didn’t know what to do with them.  I was already purging through my own home and had bags of items to go to different organizations; I had no idea where I could put these five.  So I texted my farm sanctuary friend.

“I have a lot of donations for you but our house is already a disaster since I’m doing my summer purging.  Do you think I can bring them over now?  Dave will kill me if I bring more stuff inside.”

Thankfully, the response was “sure” so I headed over.  As I pulled into the parking lot, I started giggling.    I was moving 5 heavy garbage bags into her apartment building and, truth be told, I hadn’t even looked inside them yet.  Maybe there was more than just the towels and bedding inside.  What will her neighbours think?  Will rumours start?  Will little old ladies talk about “those girls” who quietly snuck in heavy bags with “heaven knows what” inside.    My imagination went into overdrive.

Before carrying the bags inside, we cautiously opened one of them – just to make sure that it had sheets and towels.   Then, we carried the bags inside, trying not to  trying not to draw attention to ourselves as we moved them into her apartment.  That’s when it hit me.  “Carrying 5 garbage bags inside is nothing.  Wait until you have to take them back outside,” I said.  “That’s going to look even more suspicious.  That’s when your neighbours are really going to talk.” And we quietly laughed again. Well, we may have actually snorted a bit because we really did not want anyone to notice us.

On my way home, I thought back to the examples of self love.  “Cleaning out (purging) and acts of service (donation)” are easy (usually) to do and make me feel happy.  Sharing that time with a friend makes it even better.  Unintentionally, I was speaking self-love.

It doesn’t take much to look after yourself.  Take a look at the list again and ask yourself “How do you speak self-love?”

Graduated

It’s been a full year, almost to the date, and it looks like I am finally finished dealing with a torn hamstring.

I had a follow-up visit from the PRP injection with my sports medical doctor yesterday.   He typically wants a gradual return to exercise and a visit 8 weeks after the injection.  But I needed more information.  I was tired of  waiting for answers.  I didn’t want to play any more guessing games.  I needed to know: am I healing as expected or do I need a second injection?  Am I doing too much too soon or is my fitness where it is suppose to be ?  I need guidance because, let’s face it, I don’t do well on my own.  I don’t always recognize the signs of trouble brewing and I certainly do not want to end up back at ground zero.  So I asked, maybe begged, and he agreed to see me after the 4 week point.

I truthfully didn’t know what to expect.  I was a bit worried that he would want to start to treat the left tuberosity, where there were some minor tears, because I am noticing that side more than my right.  So my son drove me to his office – just in case he was wanting to do another PRP injection.   Dr. Bentley asked me a few questions and he examined by strength and movement.

“Your hip is jammed up again,” he commented .  I felt my shoulders sigh.  “You’re going to have to keep up with physio or Chiro care – probably twice a month – to keep your pelvis aligned.” I had already been prepared for that as a life-long need; I know that it has helped and I know that I am going to need regular maintenance.

Then I asked my questions:

(1) Is my left side sore now because my right is stronger and I am just hyper-sensitive to what is going on with my hips?  “You’re in tune with your body,
he said. ” You’re quite aware of what is going on so, yes, it’s a bit of both.”

(2) Is this tightness, the achy-ness that I have just part of aging?  Dr. Bentley smiled.  “You’re getting older.  And you’ve have some issues with your hips.  But it’s not like your severely arthritic and your hip is waiting to shatter.  You’re going to be fine.”  So, yes, I need to get use to feeling sore.  Fortunately, I am in a line of work that doesn’t let me sit for too long; for me, being busy and active is key.

(3) Do you think I’ll be able to get back to distance running?   Dr. Bentley told me that more is better for me, which ties in with the “don’t sit still” approach that I have adopted.  “You’ll have to cut back in intensity,” he said. “You can train the same way during each session but not as often.”  Basically, I need more non-running days to give my body a break from pounding the pavement.  Instead of running 6 days a week, I’ll have to run 4 or 5; double-run days, I’m fairly certain, have become a thing of the past.

“You’ll have to keep up with physio,” he repeated.  “But I don’t think I need to see you again.  If something changes, just call me and set up an appointment.”

When I got back to the car, I said to my son, “I have graduated.  I am all done.  He doesn’t need to see me again.”

Graduated

“You’ve graduated?” he asked.

“Yup.  I suffered, I researched, I did everything I was expected to do, and I have passed. I am done with rehab.  I have graduated.”

When I got home, I celebrated (of course) with an easy 3-mile run.  Last night, I started my plan of training to train and today, I can begin to start chasing my dreams.

 

 

Feeling humbled

I like to see myself as a healthy person.   During my injury, I have been on my windtrainer for about 100 miles/week and I make it to yoga 3 or 4 times a week.  When I am not injured, I am running – a lot and well.  I feel strong.  I feel fit.  But when I get into the water,  I am quickly humbled.

I am not a good swimmer and I am finding that frustrating.   Years ago, before kids, I was in the water five times a week – slow but able to swim 1600 metres without stopping and strong enough to swim over 5 miles a week.  During that time, I taught myself how to breathe bilaterally; during the 20-odd years away from the water, I managed to forget everything that I learned.

Leaving the pool – and sporting the wet look.

So here I am, 55 years old,  trying to relearn old tricks.    For the most part, I think my strokes are good, but I am slow.  With practice, I have figured out bilateral breathing again by slowing down my stroke and focusing on the count: 1, 2, 3 (breathe), 1, 2, 3 (breathe) and so on.   Now the crawl is a little easier, and I might even be a smidge faster, but I still feel completely out of shape when I swim from one end of the pool to the next.

I’m trying to stay positive, though.  I’m swimming again, and I have swum more in the past 6 months than in the past 20 years.  That’s progress.  Also, I am intentionally keeping my distance at the low-end for now (500 to 750 metres) while I focus on breathing and skill, and I am getting it – more progress.  I still have goals in sight;  by the end of the month, I hope to be able to swim 1000 metres and, if things go better, swim more than 100 metres without feeling like my lungs are going to explode.

Commitment: a new lock for the pool.

For me, swimming is hard.  But other things have been tough too: running after an break (like pregnancy or an injury), cycling in cleats for the first time, getting into a crow position in yoga.  Swimming is just one more challenge to add to my list of things to accomplish; I have done it before and I will do it again.  It may take me a while to get to where I want to be, but I will get there.

 

Life in the Slow Lane

Tuesday was the first night that I went to run in  the pool this summer.  I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of crowds.  Now that we’re into the first week of summer holiday, a lot of kids have no real bedtime so it was quite likely that there would be a lot more of them at the Y than during a school night.  Also, it’s been really hot in southern Ontario so I figured that the pool would be insanely busy.   I played it safe and aimed to get into the water at 8:30, after swim classes were over and around the time when most kids should have been heading home.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I walked onto the deck and saw about 20 women in 3 or 4 lanes (I tried not to count – or stare) as they waved their arms around during what I thought was the end of their aquafit class.  As the music seemed to be too “pumped up” to be the end of any fitness class, I asked one of the lifeguards when it was over.  8:45; 20 minutes away. “Great,” I thought.  “It’s a good thing I have my swim cap and goggles.  Now I get to do some lengths while I wait.”  My thoughts were full of sarcasm since doing lengths was really the last thing I wanted to do.  But I did – maybe 500 metres worth – until the music softened, signalling the end of Aquafit.

As I walked on the deck to my bag to trade my cap and googles for my running belt, a group of boys catapulted into the pool running area.    I figured they were about 13 years old and as I counted them (yes, I did count this time), I recognized 2 from school.  The group was trying to hide in the top corner of the pool, laughing away.  “Really, guys?” I thought as I took out my buoyancy belt.   The names of my two students were being yelled loudly by their friends, without a doubt to draw attention to them and embarrass them, but the boys’ giggles had already done that for them.  I shook my head and laughed.  “Just what I need – the boys I taught to see me in a swimsuit.”  I had a flashback to my Grade 8 year when some of my friends talked about seeing our geography teacher water skiing – in a bikini [gasp!].  I figured I was safe in my one-piece speedo.  The buoyancy belt, though: that was sure to be a conversation piece.  I had never been more grateful that cameras were not allowed on deck.

I climbed into the pool and started to run.  Within a minute,  all six of them swished past me and headed back to the security of the wading pool at the other end of the deck.  I was safe to run on my own.

I’m pretty sure that I’ll see kids from school at the pool again this summer.  That’s one of the joys of teaching in the community you live: you run into kids and their parents a lot.  And now it has given me a new superpower; I can clear a section of a pool just by standing in it, leaving the whole area to me.

 

July: Summer Goals

As a parent and a teacher, I am constantly telling the kids around me that, if they want to improve in anything, they need to set goals, real goals, tangible goals, something that is achievable.  In essence, we need to have SMART goals.

At the beginning of June, I made a wish and I set a few goals for the summer.  My wish is to be running again and I have every confidence that I will be able to soon.  Ironically, my almost year off running has left me feeling stronger and fitter than ever (an insane amount of cross-training will do that).  I am hopeful that my PRP injection will give my hamstring the extra strength that it needs so that I can confidently start to run and race again. So my first goal is based on this wish: pool-running 4 to 5 times a week.  This should build and strengthen those same muscles and  will allow me, I hope, to resume to running with a bit of a base.

I also have 3 other fitness goals:

Test run on my mountain bike. I’m ready!

1) Cycling.  If you are following me on Instagram, you already know that I have spent many hours on my wind trainer this winter, leaving me with an average of 375 miles a month since the beginning of November.  Cycling is one sport that hasn’t bothered me because the ischial tuberosity doesn’t touch my bike seat.  But, since I have been healing, I haven’t been able to push myself with intervals either.  I am feeling ready.  My summer goal is to get back to cycling outdoors.  Dave and I are planning my first “test ride” later this week and I am pretty excited about it.

2) Swimming.  I have had an on-again/off-again relationship with the pool all winter.  I was quite proud of myself when I finally got back in the water after being away from swimming for the past 20ish years.  But family schedules and work hours have made it difficult for me to stick with it.  And, let’s face it, swimming scares me.  It’s hard and I have to work at it.  If swimming were my only form of fitness, I would be more committed to it but it’s an add-on.  I am also on my own almost every single time.   So my summer goal is to be consistent, to work at it at least 3 times a week.  I am really looking forward to seeing my distance in the water increase as the summer progresses.

3) Yoga – keep it up.  Yoga has been my saving grace through the winter.  It’s made me stronger and helped me to come out of my comfort zone and challenge myself.  It’s also let me sweat when I wasn’t able to any other way.  As strange as it may sound, psychologically, more than anything else, I just needed to be able to sweat.  Getting stronger has been an extra benefit.  As I spend more time in the pool, my time in the studio will likely decrease and I’ll adapt as I need to.  Right now, my goal is to hit the studio at least 3 times a week and that is doable.

Along with these is my goal to write more.  When I started blogging a few years ago, it seemed that everyone was doing it.  But as Instagram became more popular, blogging became “less of a thing.”  I have loved keeping this blog as it gives me the chance to be creative, to express myself and verbalize my thoughts.  Most of my writing is fitness-related, but I really enjoy writing the occasional, more opinionated piece too.   I like being able to share my story or information that can motivate, educate or impact others.

So how am I doing with these goals so far?  Since July 1st, I have ridden 37 miles (2 rides) on my wind-trainer, swam, ran in the pool and written this post.  In an hour, I am heading to yoga as I have just been cleared to go back.  All in all, I’m off to a good start.

Chasing my dreams……

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy

Warning: If you can not handle the sight of blood, you probably won’t want to read this because, yes, you will see some blood.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to the clinic for my PRP injection.   How long will it take?  Will it hurt?   How long will my recovery be?  Will this be my only injection?  And, most importantly: will it work?

The “blood-sucker” introduced herself, took me into a room and proceeded to withdraw 30 cc of blood from my arm.  “Whoa!  That’s a big syringe!” I said when I saw it, and I didn’t look at it again until after she had finished taking my blood. “Wow! That’s really purple!”  I had forgotten that blood can look purple too,

One Platelet-Rich Plasma Cocktail in the making.
My layered blood.

Dr. Bentley, then, put my blood into the centrifuge to spin it around.  It only took seconds to see the blood start to separate into its layers: red blood cells on the bottom, then white bloods cells, and the platelets on top.  After a minute, the 30 cc that I had given him had been reduced to much less. After that, I really didn’t see much more as I was getting ready for the injection.  I caught of glimpse of what I think was a very long needle (the length of a pencil) as Dr. Bentley filled a syringe with my platelets to inject into my hamstring tendon.   I lay on the table, face-down and in a quasi-prone position, trying to relax.

Dr. Bentley poked with his finger at my upper hamstring to find the location of the tear before he started using the ultrasound.  I wasn’t able to feel any discomfort at first and that made me nervous.  “What if there really isn’t a problem?” I thought, only to be followed by my verbalizing, “That’s where it is.”  Dr. Bentley started to use the ultrasound and I heard him say to his student “That’s the tear, right there.”  I suddenly felt a bit of assurance.

“Get ready for a poke,” he said and that was all I really felt.   At one point, I felt like I was in a dentist’s chair as he asked how I was doing a few times.  I was fine.  “I’m just telling myself that this isn’t going to hurt that much because my legs are so muscular – ha!”  There was no real sensation of pain; it was more of a tightening.  I later described it to Dr. Bentley as an elastic tightening around your arm until you have a constant throbbing.  He replied that the blood being injected into a tendon has no where else to go so it would create that same kind of feeling.  As we finished up, he told me that it would feel like I was sitting on a golf ball for a few days.

On the way home, I was glad that Dave drove me to my appointment.   Moving my foot from the pedal to the brake and back to the pedal would have been difficult.  We hadn’t even left Hamilton when I said to him “I feel like my leg is having a baby.”  Painful, but not terrible, and knowing that it would end with something good.

A few hours later, I was able to drive.  I took my 13 year old to referee a soccer game and I happily stood for an hour to watch.  Walking was difficult and sitting was impossible, so standing had become the position of choice.   I could tell that it was going to be for the few days but I had a feeling that it would be worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever It Takes

A few months ago, I hoped to be running again by mid-June.  As good luck (and a lot of patience) allowed, my physiotherapist cleared me to start running slowly.  “Run for mechanics,” he said, “not for fitness.”  He was telling me not to push myself and to just get use to the motion of running again.

Back At It!

My first run was 2 miles at a 9:30 pace.  Within two weeks, I was averaging 3 miles just below an 8:30 pace and, just recently, I have been running up to 4 miles with my average pace around 7:50 per mile and a few miles hovering around 7:40.  On paper, everything looks great.  I’m running more and I am running faster – and I am being careful not to push myself; I’m running at a “feel good” pace.  My gait feels good, my hips feel straight, and I feel strong.  But the back of my leg just doesn’t feel right.

As the saying goes “Nobody knows your body better than you” and I can tell that I am still not “fixed.”  In April, Dr. Bentley (the hip specialist) wanted me to have my pelvis realigned through  physiotherapy  and it has definitely helped me.  But I still have a tightness at the top of my hamstring, close to the tear where the hamstring meets the ischial tuberosity.  Nothing feels wrong, so to speak, but it still doesn’t feel right.  I feel like Tammy the Hamstring is lurking at the door, waiting to break in and turn my house upside down.   After all of the rest, muscle work, rebuilding, realigning and time I have invested in my recovery, I am ready to do whatever it takes to keep her locked out.

Ready for some time off to heal some more.

I went over my concerns with Dr. Bentley and we decided that a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection is the next step for me.  I have spent months reading about PRP treatments  and there is not a lot of  evidence to support its effectiveness.  I have spoken with two people who had it done: one said it made things worse, and the other said it didn’t really help.  But there is a lot of research that supports PRP therapy.  My GP, sports med doctor, chiropractor and 2 different physiotherapists all feel that this is a good route for me to follow; when I have a team of professionals who are rallying a PRP injection, I am going to listen.  I really have nothing to lose.

Last night, a lady I know told me of a friend who had a PRP injection done.  “Her text right after was full of delightful words,” she said, “but she’s finding that it’s helping.”  That was the message that I needed – something positive, something to affirm that I am on the right path.  I am ready for the pain and I can deal with a bit of time off – whatever it takes to keep me running and let me keep chasing my dreams.

Using Your Head

In Ontario, cycling with the helmet is the law.  Anyone under the age of eighteen who rides any type of bicycle must wear a helmet.  But something happens when kids suddenly turn 12 and many feel that they are better than the law, so they leave their helmets at home or ride with their helmets dangling from the handlebars.  It annoys me that this has not been legalized for adults as there are many who feel that they are invincible and ride bikes without wearing helmets; ironically, I often see this when they are riding with their children, who are wearing theirs.  Whether it is the law or not, every cyclist needs to wear a helmet every single time they mount a bike, no matter how old they are, how far they are going or how fast they are riding.

2011 – riding with the dude

When my oldest was 4, he rode his bike everywhere – and always with a helmet.  This was long before the helmet law that came into effect in 2105 but, with parents who cycle and a dad who also rides a motorcycle, not wearing a helmet simply wasn’t an option.  One day, when I watched my speedy son zoom down a 4 year old sized hill, lose his balance and crack his helmet, I was grateful that wearing them was part of our lifestyle.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine, a very experienced cyclist, was riding north of the city, training for an upcoming Ironman competition.   The roads were slick that day and, as she crossed a set of train tracks, she lost her balance, slid and hit her head. The damage to her bike was so severe that it needed to be replaced, as did her helmet.   She had a concussion but walked away and started training again a few days later.  Her helmet saved her.

Why people even think about riding without a helmet is beyond me?  Sure, your head might get a little sweaty but wouldn’t you rather have a sweaty head than a crushed skull?   Messy hair can be fixed; brains can’t.

Two years ago, one dark Saturday night, I was driving down a particularly poorly lit street to pick up my son at a friend’s.  At that last minute, I spotted a couple of boys riding their bikes – no lights, no helmets.  My parent  instincts took over and I pulled into a parking lot, which I thought they would cut through, got out of my car and waited.  When they turned in, I called them over.   As it turned out, they were kids from my school, grade 7’s whom I had taught the year before.

“You guys need lights.  I could hardly see you.  There are parts along that road that are so dark that you could have easily been hit.”  Then, I noticed the lack of headwear.  “And your helmets need to be on your heads, not on your handlebars.”

They were speechless, but they got it and it wasn’t long before their lights were turned on and helmets were locked into place. Two years later, on their last day of  Grade 8, one of them said to me “Thanks for stopping us that night.  I always wear my helmet now.”

Yesterday, my own 13 year old left the house wearing his helmet, came back home to change into something warmer and left.  Zeda barked at them as they were chatting on the driveway, which drew my attention to them.  “Where is your helmet?”  I yelled as I ran outside.

“In my room.”

“Go get it.  And where is your helmet?” I asked his friend.  “I’m pretty sure that you have one too.”

“I don’t have one right now.”

“You don’t have a helmet?” I questioned.  I know his mom.  He has a helmet.

“It’s at my house.”

“Then you are going to go home to get it and I am going to text your mom that you are on your way.”

And that night both sons were reminded, by their respective moms, that if they are ever caught without a helmet again, they will lose their bike.

Whether young or old, new to bikes or an experienced cyclist, everyone needs to wear a helmet when riding.   So be warned: if I see you cycling without one, I will call you out every single time.