In the last few weeks we’ve been adjusting to our new life in Colorado. I’m down to having only two kids at home now and there are many days I feel like saying, “Where is everyone?”
The fact I have a prosthetic leg hasn’t affected our transition much. But it does come up in the expected ways, like when the gaggle of kids who live in our condo complex see me in shorts and do a double take. Slowly, slowly, the word is getting out, that Isaac and Sam’s mom has a bionic leg.
In fact, my oldest son has decided to tell the inquisitive neighbor children that my leg has a name – Decepticon. It makes him laugh to see their reactions, especially the ones who are old enough to be familiar with the Transformers movies.
In the weeks to come I’ll be introduced to more of my teen son’s friends, and many parents of friends. It will take some of our new acquaintances here months to figure out my mobility “‘secret,” especially as long pants weather is upon us. They might notice I have a slight limp, but generally the assumptions lean toward “bad ankle,” not “prosthetic leg.”
One area that has been a surprise to me is the complication of going mountain biking with my boys. I’ve always loved to bike. Before I got my bionic leg, and was struggling through life with a twisted left foot, biking was my freedom. I never knew how to run, but biking was something I could do, and do well. Going out to take a walk was not a leisurely option for me, since I fought for every step. But going out for a leisurely ride? That, I could do.
My boys have been mountain biking for weeks now. I was in New York, settling affairs, and they were out here in Colorado, riding every trail they could find. I heard about their adventures in our nightly phone chats and knew I had to join them, once we were in the same state again.
So last weekend we clicked on our helmets and my boys introduced me to the most tame trail they’ve found. It runs along a river and is mostly downhill. It was a good starter hill, to introduce mom to the Colorado mountain trail system. I couldn’t wait to see their world.
What I underestimated was the difference between biking and mountain biking. My idea of a good bike ride included mostly flat surfaces. There are very few flat surfaces on mountain trails. I was okay holding on tight as we rode over rocky paths, and even held my breath and made it safely through a creek or two. But the part that took me by surprise was my own feet, falling off the pedals.
You see, when you have an artificial leg, you might still ‘feel’ your old foot (I do),but it’s not an accurate feeling. I don’t know where my foot sits on the pedal unless I look down at it. If it slides back and is close to falling off the pedal, I don’t know until it’s too late.
There is a lot to keep your eyes on when you’re mountain biking. Large rocks, mud puddles and sharp turns are around every corner. There’s not really time to keep your eyes on your feet.
I’ve thought about investing in toe clips. But the motion required to click out of them is not possible with my titanium foot. Soon I’ll find my new “leg guy” (otherwise known as a prosthetist) in our area, and I’ll get his advice on my new dilemma.
Maybe there are other amputee bikers out there who have suggestions for this newbie mom, who just wants to keep up with her mountain biking boys.
3 thoughts on “Life With Bionics”
Many years ago when I did a fair bit of mountain biking in college, my old bike had toe clips that were simply cages that fit on the front of the pedals, with adjustable straps that went around the instep of my foot. I rarely tightened those straps, as the cage was enough to keep my foot in place. Maybe that’s an option? Granted, I’m not an amputee, but it might work. I know most toe clips now are the click-in kind, which were only on road racing bikes around 22 yrs ago…
Are you near Winter Park, Colorado? They have a great disabled program there. It focuses on skiing, but I bet they’d have some ideas of resources for mountain biking too, since the Fraser Valley is a popular mountain biking area. Also, there’s this site:http://www.mtb-amputee.com/LegAmputees.htm for mountain bikers who’ve lost limbs.
Happy biking, and welcome to Colorado!
Thanks for the suggestions! I found myself at REI over the weekend and picked the bike lady’s brain about different kinds of toe clips. I’m going to get out there, sooner or later!
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