Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

Back in the Saddle


I was planning on writing about how being in a proper routine – a going to work in an office sort of routine – helps me to do that crucial exercising malarkey. On a bicycle, no less. And I will.

But a little incident today made me wonder about how much I’m affected by Parkinson’s when I’m out and about on a bicycle. Now, I am perfectly fine while I’m rolling along. I can drive those pedals just as well as ever, and I ride just as straight and true, potholes permitting. But I don’t feel so happy swooping around sharpish corners, and sometimes going really slow, and even just plain stopping, are a bit… awkward.

Like today. I’m still a little uncertain as to how this happened, but, immediately after crossing a road, I managed to get myself and the bike past the tipping point and – ever so slowly – toppled over onto the pavement. It was terribly embarrassing. I leapt up and righted the bike, assured a slightly concerned lorry driver that I was fine (I was, and so was the bike – between us, we sustained a lightly grazed knee and a turn of the bottle cage, which it was designed to do for some reason), and went on my way.

Part of this silly little incident can be ascribed to my not having cycled regularly for ages (despite meaning to, but more on that later), and some might be down to the differences between the road bike I was accustomed to and the mountain bike I was riding, and some more could be due to the gaping lacunae in town planning as it pertains to bicycle use (why bother with a cycle path if it keeps stopping?), but there is a chance that a bit of it is down to my occasional balance issue. Which is certainly a Parkinsonian thing.

Oh, well. I’m not stopping cycling for a daft thing like that. Especially not when it’s supposed to be so very good for me.

And the routine thing? I’d like to say that I was cycle commuting, but, to be honest, the roads are scary (narrow and twisty and quite busy enough) and the terrain is rather steep, and I still haven’t got the hang of the idea of riding a bike on anything other than a paved road. But I’m sort of working on the latter; that mountain bike? It is mine. I keep it at work (the road bike’s at home), and I try to get out somewhere on it almost every lunch time, even if it’s just to the local supermarket. I’m planning on trying a bridleway or two, one day soon.

Keeping a bike at work is nice. Lunch time rolls around, and I like to get outside; in the past, I’d often walk somewhere. Now, I’m cycling (weather-permitting). Because there’s a routine associated with work (albeit quite a loose one, in my case), it works better than being at home. At home, the only real routine revolved around the school runs. Which always crept up on me.


3 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle

  1. I’m impressed at your commitment! How’s work going? I tried cycling recently and did the same embarrassing slow-mo fall. Keep going!

    • Well, it’s slow that’s the problem.

      The question is, is it related to my slightly impaired Parkie balance, or is it just one of those things? Way back in 1993ish I distinctly recall falling sideways off my road bike because I put my foot down on a kerb that – basically – wasn’t there! (I think it was a dropped kerb. It was in Southampton. Quite a few people around. Embarrassing.)

      And 1993 falls well outside of the 10 year period that it is suggested that my dopamine levels have been depleted during.

    • Work is going fine, thank you. The rate of things-to-do-at-work is accelerating and may soon get to utterly frantic, but work stays at work (and inside work hours) and it’s nice to be in the adult world … and I’m somehow managing to keep painting, too, which is great. I even sold a painting almost straight off the hill at the weekend!

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