First Day out of Das Boot

I know I should have posted this on Saturday, but I’ve been too busy enjoying the freedom. 
Das Boot is History!

I went to see the physio-therapist on Friday and after talking for a while about what my doctor said on Thursday the decision was made to go ahead and loose Das Boot.  She warned me not to over do it, wear really solid footwear, and put the boot back on for a while if I feel the foot getting weary or sore.  Makes sense doesn’t it.

So what’s the first thing you do when your foot is out of a cast for the first time in almost three months?  Go to the Toronto International Bicycle Show of course!

Late Friday night my brother Alex called me and reminded me that the show was on this past weekend.  So Saturday after band rehearsal we headed down to see what there was to see. It was really a great afternoon.  Since both of us have fairly busy schedules we don’t get a lot of time together and so it was definitely good to have the time to spend just talking back and forth, sharing a Tim’s, just hanging together for a while. It’s like the commercial says,

Lunch at Tim Hortons – $10

Tickets to the Bicycle show – $13

Spending time with my brother – Priceless!

That said however, the show itself left me less than fulfilled.  I don’t know where the Toronto show fits on the bicycle equipment manufacturers schedule, but I’m willing to bet it’s a way down the list of “places we have to be”.  I was very disappointed in the low turn out from the big bike and accessories players.  The vast majority of the booths were local bike shops, and while I don’t begrudge them the chance to increase their public face, what I was hoping to see was a showcase of the newest and best innovations in the development of cycling gear. The stuff was there, but you had to worm your way past the bikes they wanted off the shop floor to find it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it was a waste of time or money – it wasn’t. There were a few things that really impressed me.  Shimano had a great display, and Thule was very well presented, but there were few other large manufacturers.  The Trek display was just the local dealer with a large rack of bikes.  I should have suspected it when the event was advertised as being sponsored by Shimano.  So basically, it would appear they were able to buy out the show.  They sponsored the BMX demos and the like so I guess they owned it.  At least, it certainly looked that way to me.

The problem is, it’s not just the bike show.  In Toronto, this is increasingly the case with trade shows aimed at the buying public.  It is no longer about building the dream, pushing the envelope, trying to out perform the competition in who can put on the more impressive display.  It’s only about holding the flea market.  Which in and of itself is not a bad thing, but even in this I saw very little that I could not have acquired for a similar price at my local bike shop.

I realize some will accuse me of being over nostalgic here, but I remember going to these kind of shows when I was younger and the understanding was that the purpose was to inspire me to dream.  I would get a chance to see in person all the great stuff I’d only seen in magazines.  I could touch it, feel it, smell it; it was an experience in of of itself going to these shows.  Not so much anymore.  Now the Toronto shows feel more like a trip to a discount mall, only not as appealing.

I will give credit where it is do however; as usual Gears Bike Shop in Mississauga did a great job.  Their display rivaled even that of Shimano.  But most importantly, unlike many other vendors at the show they didn’t have the elitist air about that that seems to permeate cycling culture here in North America.  I’m happy to report they treated this over-weight, hobbling on a crutch to protect my ankle, 50-something with as much respect and dignity as I could hope to be treated anywhere.  In too many of the booths I was greeted with the usual enthusiastic indifference. Not so at Gears, I felt like they were just as interested in helping me as anyone else, and when the subject of my injury came up they even had a few moments for that as well.  Well Done!

Bicycle-Friendly Guelph makes an appearance at the Toronto International Bicycle Show

Bicycle-Friendly Guelph makes an appearance at the Toronto International Bicycle Show

Another thing that I was surprised to see was not only a number of Guelph venders (WIKE Trailers for example) but also the city of Guelph itself, promoting the Royal City as a bicycle friendly place to live.  They had a great display, right at the entrance, decked out with a European style cargo bike, banners, decals, maps, and plenty of information on the initiatives Guelph has in place to promote increased cycling infrastructure. I felt more than just a little proud.

All in all, it was an acceptable afternoon. Alex picked up a few things for his three-wheeled recumbant, I met a friend or two and had a chance to get out and about for the first time in nearly three months. Spring is in the air, and if my achilles tendon continues to cooperate I hope to be on my bike by the end of April.

So keep a good thought and if you have not already done so, click on the banner at right and sponsor either myself or one of the other members of Team Kortright in the Ride to Conquer Cancer.

My Left Foot – the Saga Continues…

For those of you who are interested, the progress on my left foot is going well. I am now walking freely in the AirCast® (Das Boot), only using the cane for uneven or slippery terrain (winter is not a great season for crutches).

I have also been given permission to start putting a little weight on the foot when I’m not wearing Das Boot. This means I need to use my crutches so that the bulk of my weight is shifted off my left foot. We are still working on range of motion development – strength building will come later.

The best part about this is that I can now start thinking about the bicycle again. I’ve been doing 20 minute, resistance free sessions on the exercise bike during my physio sessions (wearing Das Boot). Today, Laurie (my physio-therapist) asked me if I have an exercise bike at home I could use.

I don’t, but rather than getting one I have decided to pick up a trainer to use with my Trek 7100. For those who don’t know, a trainer lifts the back wheel a few inches off the ground so that you can ‘train’ on the bike indoors during the winter. With variable resistance settings it should do the job quite nicely. I’m thinking of a magnetic trainer, tire drive, with or without the remote cable; probably a Blackburn® or a Cycleops®. (Blackburn pictured at right)

Here’s the pitch, always looking to save a dollar or two, and being a firm believer in reuse/recycle, I’m wondering if there’s anyone out there (in the Guelph, Ontario area) that has a trainer in the garage or the basement that you’d be willing to sell for a fair price?

Yes, I know all about Craiglist and eBay, but not everyone posts to sites such as these, and it would be nice to see if I can deal with someone I know. So I’m putting out the feelers to see what comes back. So if you have such a beast kicking around (or know someone who does) and you or they are more likely to go cycling with Barack Obama than use the trainer any time soon, please give me a shout in the comments section and we’ll talk.

Until next time…. Keep on pedalin’

Progress is Being Made.

For those of you who may be interested, I had my first physiotherapy session today. My therapist. Laurie, says things are looking pretty good. She’s pleased with my range of motion and says I have a little more strength in my ankle than most people who go through what I’ve been through. Not a lot, but more than average by her experience. This I credit to the good Lord and all of you who have been praying for me out there.

We talked about my goal of participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer in June and I would have to describe her response as ‘cautiously optimistic.’ She definitely feels that cycling will once again be a part of my life, it’s just a matter of how soon. I have a regimen of range of motion exercises to do and I see her again on Monday. More time with my foot out of the boot – this is a good thing.

One of the more difficult exercises involves tracing out the letters of the alphabet in the air with my big toe. I was surprised at how much difficulty I have doing this. It’s like I can remember how to form simple letters. I found myself having to really concentrate to get the shapes right. I’m wondering if being right-handed translated to writing with my feet as well. So I tried the same exercise with my right foot and found it a dozen times easier. Still trying to decide if it’s a left-brain/right-brain thing, or is it all in my head. lol

Speaking of the Ride, word is out that registration for the 2009 Ride to Conquer cancer is closed. last year 2850 cyclist participated in The Ride, and I’m sure it will be even larger this year. That 2850 qualified for the largest cycling fundraiser in Canadian history. I’m really looking forward to riding with Team Kortright this year. It will be a great weekend for all of us.

So please continue to pray for me and all the members of the team; Brian Watson, Graham Watson, Noah Bartozzi and David Rippon, that all of our physical and fund raising challenges will be met. Thanks Everyone

Until next time…

New Orientation Video from RtCC

Many of you know that I rode in the Ride to Conquer Cancer last year. Well I’d like you to know that I’m riding this year as well. This year I’m proud to be the captain of Team Kortright, a group of friends from my home church that have chosen to ride with me in support of a great cause.

For details on the ride you can visit The RtCC Home Page.
To support me in the effort go to my RtCC Page.

In the meantime please check out this orientation video, featuring a familiar face.

Thanks Everyone!