In the parking lot at the veloway, he unloaded the fixed gear trike from his Tacoma pickup. The first thing he had to do was raise seat on the trike because of my long legs. Next, we decided on the type of pedal I was going to need. The original pedals have clips where the toes go. So we tried the clips on first but my brace kept banging against the main gear as I pedaled. So Bob pulled another pedal out from his bag of tricks, and this one was form fitted for a smaller heel than what I was wearing. Finally, we decided on a pedal of his own design which was a flat piece of plastic the length of my shoe and molding around the edges so the foot would not slide out. The tone (spasticity) in my leg was another story. It was especially active on this cold Saturday morning. What happens when my tone activates is that my whole leg stiffens up like a plank. Bob then had to wrestle it into the pedal, by forcing my knee to bed. I have tone in my right arm as well. I am unable to reach out and do anything as simple as flip on a light switch. My therapists determined it was my biceps fighting against the triceps, and so unless my left hand helps out by pulling outward on my right arm I'm generally locked into place. Although, I do have some hand control. So I can grip the handlebar on the trike, but it takes some time for me to readjust my hand and get it in better position
Finally, we were ready to cycle. We did the short loop which was probably only 15 minutes long, but it seemed to last an hour, especially the grades which were probably about a 7 to 10% incline.
After the first go-round, I needed a rest so we pulled over onto the side of the veloway, and I sat down on the cargo bed of the trike while we chatted away, waiting to catch our breaths and do another lap. The second time, though I was tired, was easier than the first. Bob explained this as reduced stress and more familiarity with the course. I was better at coming off the hills and peddling enough to get me over the hump. But I still needed an occasional push because I got stuck on two stretches of inclines. I learned that lactic acid can cause your muscles to stiffen and not cooperate with what your mind wants to do. I probably could have cycled more, but given that it was Saturday, I still had to go to the Farmers' Market and then off to the Austin Powow.
Bob had questions about the nature of my website. He advised me I should add cycling to the blog, and I assured him that I would. He also shared with me that he owned a kayak that was powered by push pedals, the kind you see on a stair stepper. When I got home I googled Bob Whitford and came across a YouTube video where he explains the motivation behind showing others how to cycle. Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SAFIJVn7D4 and see him tell part of his story. It is pretty awe-inspiring.
We drove to my house where he helped load the trike into my truck, provided that I would ride it. Whether it be cycling or kayaking, I can hardly wait for our next adventure!