Archive for the ‘Biking Stories / Adventures’ Category

Asthma, Allergies and Biking

I’ve had asthma and allergies for about 20 years now. When I first learned that I had asthma, my doctor restricted me from any exercise at all. Nothing was allowed that would cause or increase the probability of an attack. That was hard to do for someone who was used to being outdoors playing, running around, riding bikes, etc. As it turns out I was allergic to everything except for a Holly bush. That lead to allergy shots 3 times a week for 2-3 years.

Once my asthma and allergies were under control I was already in a sedentary pattern that I wanted to break but didn’t know how, plus I had children so it was difficult to get out of my comfort zone.

At my heaviest I weighed 200 pounds, which was about 2 years ago. Even though my asthma was under control and had been for years I let myself slip so slowly into this weight that I never saw it coming until I went to put on my size 18 pants and they didn’t fit. The next size up was “plus size”. That was my wake up call.

I joined the Biggest Loser Club on September 30, 2007 and by January 2008 I had lost 40 pounds. I was doing cardio (elliptical machine) 5 days a week and weight training 2 days a week.

My first attempt at the elliptical machine I lasted for 2 minutes and needed my inhaler. This was different because over the past 10-15 years the only time I needed my inhaler was if I had a cold in my chest. I kept at it and used my inhaler when I needed it.

Then in February 2008 we went for a bike ride at the Greenway in Ocala, which is a paved trail that’s about 6 miles all together I believe. I think I lasted about 15 minutes the first time and needed my inhaler. Somehow bicycling is different than the elliptical machine, at least that’s what my lungs thought.

The next weekend we went to Santos Bike Trails, which are unpaved “mountain”, well as “mountain” as you can get in Florida, trails with rocks, roots, holes, trees, spiders, etc., and it was a blast. Once again, I needed my inhaler after about 15 minutes but it was well worth it. I think it took about 3-4 weeks before I could ride without using my inhaler, and that felt so good, but I still take it with me just in case.

Since I had the allergy shots I don’t really have a lot of problems with them except for when I’m around cats, but you don’t see too many of those on the trails – thank goodness.

I would love to say biking is for everyone and everyone will love it but sometimes that is not the case but don’t let that hold you back from living a healthier, happier lifestyle. Find something you love to do: swimming, walking, running, tennis, etc., and do it. If you are like me and have asthma and/or allergies, make sure you have your medicine / inhaler with you just in case you need it. Your safety and well-being is your first concern. If you are a beginner at whatever form of exercise you choose, don’t push yourself too hard. Start out with 15 or 30 minutes, depending on what you can handle and then add 5-10 minutes every other week.

I often wonder if I’m the only biker out there with asthma. If you have asthma and enjoy bike riding, email me or comment on this post and share your experiences and helpful advise.

Ride, live, have fun!!

Cindy 🙂

The maiden voyage for my friend Laura

Well I finally talked my co-worker and friend Laura into going bike riding with me after work today. We rode at Santos taking the yellow trails mostly, going on Pine Tree, through the Vortex area, taking the backdoor out of there to dog bone, back to canopy (which is a blue trail), to pine tree again, then shorty and pine tree back to the trailhead. We rode for about an hour and by the time we finished she was feeling it in her thighs and calves.

She did very well for the first time out and I hope she will continue to ride and get her boyfriend involved.

Now that the time has changed we have about 2 hours of daylight after work – thank goodness!!

Live, ride, have fun!! Cindy 🙂

One dog, one swarm of bees and one bike

This is a true story that happened last weekend at the 49th Avenue trail head trails system to my brothers.  When Tony told me about it I just had to share so that everyone could get a good laugh.

When my brother Tony goes riding on the trails, he typically takes his dog Topaz.  Last weekend was no exception.  So it was Tony, his dog Topaz, my brother Dana and Rad (16 year old strapping lad).  They were headed back towards the trail head after riding to 484 on the blue trail.  Tony and Topaz were out in front, with Topaz running ride along side of Tony’s bike.  Tony noticed that Topaz sank into the ground next to him, almost tripping but kept going for just a little bit and then she started trying to get the bees off her nose and run at the same time.  While checking out Topaz, Tony didn’t notice there were hundreds of bees pouring out of the hole behind him.  Then he heard and saw them and he noticed the hole that Topaz opened up (about the size of a basketball) and there were more bees coming out, lots more bees coming out.  He dropped his bike and started running back towards Dana and Rad yelling “RUN!!”.

Now you have to get the mental image in your head of my 40 something year old, macho man, nature loving, jokester brother Tony running at you full speed, screaming like a girl and yelling.  Dana just stood there and said, “what?”, to which Tony replied, “Bees – RUN!!”.  Dana noticed Tony had a couple still after him.  Tony kept running around until he came up with a plan for him to stop and then Dana would swat them when they landed on Tony.  Tony stopped, Dana got stung (as he was looking at Tony and not himself for the bees) and then one of them got inside Tony’s helmet stinging him inside his ear and another one got him on his leg.

With those few bees taken out they turned back towards Tony’s bike, which he had just dropped right where it was about 30 seconds prior and noticed it was completely covered in bees, with more still coming out of the hole Topaz found.  The bees were swarming the area so they waited about 20 yards from the hole for 30 minutes or so.  The bees just would not let up so Tony and Rad decided to walk back to the van, head over to a store and get some bee spray while Dana waited with the bikes.

Tony and Rad bought three cans of bee spray and walked back to where Dana was at – bees still covered the bike.  Tony and Dana came up with a plan for each of them to have a can of spray and come at the bike / nest from three different directions, shooting them with the spray.  About 5 seconds of walking / spraying Rad looses his nerve and runs away, afraid the bees were going to sting him.  Tony and Dana keep spraying and keep spraying until they reach the bike, which was now soaked with bee spray.  Once they had most of them off the bike, Tony quickly reached down and grabbed the bike and pulled it far away from the nest.

Now the bike is completely covered in bee spray, and we all know how good that stuff smells, so they have to completely wipe it down before Tony was able to get back on it and ride back to the trail head.  What an afternoon!!

So if you’re out on the 49th Avenue blue trails in Ocala, be careful.  That bee hive hole is right next to the trail.

Ride, live, have fun – Cindy 🙂