Back in the Saddle

Today was a pretty productive day. I did a little housework (not too much!), wrote two psychological reports, and….rode my bike!

Riding my bike was my major goal for mobility and orientation training. When my O&M guy was here we went down to the main road I needed to cross and studied it. We decided I would cross to the island and then wait to cross the second lane. I would decide when to cross by watching for the cars to see if they were even with or past some landmarks we chose. If the car was passing the landmark or closer I was not to try to cross. My O&M guy said the important part was that I SAW the cars, not that I could make out a lot of details.

It was not important for me to know the make and model of the car that hit me. It was important I kept from getting hit!

I chose today, a Sunday, because traffic was a lot lighter. I got across the road and went down to a parking lot to ride in circles for awhile. This parking lot is actually home turf for the infamous “Training Wheels Gang” but they did not give me any trouble. ? I just needed to get back on my bike and practice my skills. No use going crazy first time out. The kiddie lot was good enough.

I discovered my peripheral vision kept me from running into things, hitting any big stones or hitting any potholes. If I looked ahead of me, my ‘fuzzy spot’ was on the horizon. The ground directly in front of me was seen clearly. Only going 8 or 9 miles an hour at best, I really did not have to see that far ahead. There was no traffic in the lot.

On the way home I took a slightly different route. This route allowed me to avoid a lot of the traffic. (Unfortunately not an option on the way out because the way I used coming home is an entrance ramp.) 7.5 miles later I was home unscathed. Cool. Another successful ‘adventure’.

Thinking there must be other, like-minded folks out there trying to ride their bikes, I went online to look for tips. Not much luck. Most of the articles were for tandem riding or the bike riding equivalent of using a sighted guide. Great if you have someone to ride with you.

The one thing I did discover looking at bicycling sites was this: the people asking about ways to continue riding all said they had macular degeneration! Does that mean we are intrepid, foolish or that AMD might leave enough vision to actually allow us to do something like bike? Maybe all three.  Some of the comments said the writers knew visually handicapped folks who bike all the time. No big deal.

If anyone knows anyone with visual impairment who does bike, ask them to drop me a line, please. I would like to pick up a few pointers. Who knows? With a few tricks, I might be able to go on to bigger and better things!

Written 8/8/2016

Next: The Season of Hope

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2 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle”

  1. Sue, I ride a 3-wheeler. Still going at age 71, AMD or not! But only on short trips in my immediate neighborhood and mainly on the Inter Urban Trail which is also used by walkers, strollers, skateboarders, etc. Bike is in the garage now, though, probably for the whole winter.
    🙁 Just too much snow, too often. Looking forward to and planning for Spring!

  2. I haven’t been game to drive with my vision loss, but I’ve kept on cycling. I was worried about my safety but, like you most helpfully pointed out, it’s more important to see the large objects rather than the details.
    Thanks for a great post. Cheers, Myra.

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