17: Riding The Pain

I was told it would get easier. Really, it would. But after ten days I was getting rather doubtful.

Yes, ten days I had been riding the new bike and the old rear end was giving me trouble.

I mentioned the discomfort to the Pink Lady.

‘You’ll get use to it,’ said she. And then moved the conversation on to other things…

The lashings of sympathy overwhelmed me!

It was a balancing act really – no pun intended – riding the bike. The sore arse I did not like, but the actual ride itself was quite fun.

Backwards and forwards to work, 25 minutes each way was a lot quicker than the 50 minutes walking would take. It was good exercise and saved pounds on bus fare, so the pluses were there.

On the negative side, as previously stated, there was the ubiquitous sore arse. It felt painful as I got on and after the ride it felt like someone had taken a Bunsen burner to it. And I was walking bow-legged, like I had crapped myself.

Let’s be honest, Old Fitrambler here has never been a great friend of Mr Pain!

Still, I was persevering. I had thrown three hundred quid at this little convenience and was not going to give up easily. I worked out that to pay back what I spent it would take 94 rides to and from work. By putting away the bus fare into my TARDIS money-box I could pay it back; there would be plenty of room as the box never seemed to fill up…

I have to admit, I got as far as two hundred and ten quid before I started to forget or leave IOU notes…

However, I carried on. Even the snow did not stop me – slowed me down, perhaps, but it never stopped me. Nor when it belted down with rain did the Fitramber determination diminish.

I looked to see the thrashing rain and think: ‘Now, Fitrambler (I’m good with names) it’s not fit for man nor beast out there. But, what would Velocipede do? Would he let that stop him? Oh no. In all weathers, he would be out there on the bike, not letting anything stop him, moving through it with grim determination!’

As it happened some weeks later, the question of what Velocipede would do was revealed. We met in town and he told me. One look at the thrashing rain or the snow and it was a case of ‘Sod that!’ and out with the car.

Luckily, I did not know that when I was giving myself the pep-talk!

Even the Pink Lady has been known to lay off the old bike if she’s likely to have lots of trouble with the wind

Hmm. Perhaps I had better explain that. I’m not suggesting for one moment the Pink Lady is subject to severe bouts of flatulence, oh no, more about the winds of nature, blowing up a gale force.

I can understand that. Part of the route I take home leaves me out in the open, no buildings or woods to protect me from rather severe cross winds when they have a mind to blowing.

On one occasion the wind was so bad I reached the lowest gear on the bike and was still struggling to make any progress. So bad in fact, that a snail overtook me. Still, I’m sure it had racing stripes on its side, so I did not feel quite so embarrassed…

Moments like that made me a little inclined to give up. Trouble is, you never know which days are going to be like that? And if you have ridden to work, you bloody well have to ride back. It’s a sort of a rule!

Anyway, by the time the first month was up I suddenly realised the old rear end had stopped giving me grief. It was odd, the pain barrier just disappeared without me noticing it.

So, from then on until about a week after Christmas 2008 – over two months later – I was getting a lot fitter and enjoying the trip to and from work.

Already the Pink Lady was making plans to extend the biking experience to weekends for me. Ventures into the country. Velocipede was talking about bike rides to faraway places. My future was being mapped out…

I was a little cautious here. I was averaging about eight miles a day on the bike. Tour de France was not yet on my horizon.

Anyway, towards the end of January 2008 a pain developed between the thighs, just below the old meat and two veg. Gave me trouble sporadically when sitting down and riding. So, not to aggravate it further I stopped riding the bike for a week or so to see if it would heal itself. It did not, so I finally decided I would have to visit the doctor.

On the day of the appointment I was showed into see Dr Cheer, who grinned at me the minute I entered. I was not sure why he was so amused or what it was about the way I walked in that amused him, but I smiled politely back. Once he looked briefly away at his computer, I quickly checked my flies.

‘What’s the trouble?’ Dr Cheer asked, still smiling pleasantly.

I have always been a bit troubled by that sort of question from doctors. After all, it’s supposed to be them who do the diagnosis thingy?

I described the symptoms and then he asked if he could examine me. Well, anything for a laugh, me.

In the last few years I have seen doctors more than I have in the whole of my life put together and very rarely did the GP do much by the way of an examination in the past. Blood pressure check, but that was about all.

Still, thoroughness cannot be criticised in my view so I went off to the bed- thingy.

‘Right, drop the trousers and pants and lean forward on the bed.’

Ok, I will admit it, I did hesitate, I really did. It did not help when he put on the old rubber gloves. I had a horrible feeling what might be coming next. I could understand for hygiene purposes they have to do the rubber glove-thing; but both hands? What the hell was he going to get up to? Or indeed how far?

Still, I was glad I had taken a bath that morning. I was still nervous though. I mean, it was new territory to me, a bloke behind me while I have been bending over with the trousers and pants around the ankles. It was not a fun thing, although there might be a certain section of society that might disagree with me…um, so I have heard.

He began to poke and prodding near the anus and then below, a little further, then further…felt around a bit more and this time I was afraid he was going to extend his examination. Go the whole way; y’know, ‘open sesame’. A real eyeball bulging examination.

But no, he just covered old ground, so to speak and then got me to pull up the pants and trousers.

‘Can’t seem to feel anything…’

Move that hand a little more to the front and you will, I thought.

‘No lumps or anything sinister, probably a strained muscle,’ Dr Cheer said.

On reflection, it had not been too bad. I certainly got the right day for an examination round there. A couple of weeks ago, the old stomach had been playing up. A couple of prods then and I would not have been all that popular with Dr Cheer.

Dr Cheer gave me some tablets, something to deal with the muscle strain; things which would relax the muscle and let it heal.

So off I went, feeling a little happier.

It was six weeks before I got on the bike again, and then we were getting to the better weather and the Pink Lady’s plans for Sunday rides were coming to fruition.

Look out country folk, Fitrambler and the Pink Lady are on their way….

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