You can dig back to the 80's and 90's for my cycling history, and know that it's always been a central part of my life. Commuting to school, work or to chase boys - every pedal stroke meant I was going somewhere. I'm about to embark on another journey with bikes being central.
Being chosen to fill the reputable shoes (or plane and bus seat) of Cyclelicious on a blogging tour of Taiwan during their "Taiwan Cycling Festival" is not only an honor, but a perfect next step as I come out of a full year of immobility.
TWITTER MADE ME DO IT
Deciding to go was easy, the randomness in which the opportunity knocked is full of sweetness and quirky moments that make you ponder "is it coincidence?" or "did I make this happen" kind of moments. The surprise is that suddenly, with one week's notice, I am flying to a part of the World that I now realize I know NOTHING about! What is a familiar addiction to Social Media (especially in this valley of silicon and technology geeks that can't walk down the street without checking our iPhones only to notice Steve Jobs just drove by) it's no surprise this happened. A moment of pause in my life, I look at twitter to see if anybody has anything entertaining or new to share, and there it was... "I can't make the Taiwan Blogger trip, if you have a passport - ping me in the next 30 minutes"-- Cyclelicio.us.
YOUR BIKE IS (STILL) SHOWING
Things were moving for me. This is only a couple weeks after returning from the annual gathering of manufacturers, dealers and a gazillion skinny boys dressed like little jockey's with oversized messenger bags, many with shaved legs, and tons of beautiful shiny bikes and bike parts and wicking clothing, I was in the "bike zone" you could say. It had been 2 years since I attended Interbike. People showing bikes, bikes showing their shiny new hubs and lugs. *sigh* a gadgety dream.
I went to not only support two clients I did collateral and booth graphics for - but to network and let all my "old" cycling colleagues know I was still around, still designing beautiful catalogs (www.beverlygarritydesign.com) for bicycle's and accessories, still around to coach beginners the basics of mountain biking and other cycling skills, still around to share a tequila shooter in the Vegas bars post all the business card swapping. Why was this significant? Well you could say it's been a while since I felt up for this.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS PLEASE
About 2 years ago my mobility had been so impaired that even orthotics and taping from the best physical therapist nurturing my "holy" ankle with a large cyst trying to fill said hole - was not working. All from a decade ago sprain that cause a microfracture in my Talus. So the end of August, 13+ months ago, I went under the knife. I had no idea what "Major Surgery" meant. Heck - ladies at my gym are pacing the lap pool weeks after knee replacement, how bad could stealing a couple bone & cartilage plugs from my knee and stuffing them into the ankle's talus hole be? What... you have to break my leg to get there? 2 titanium screws?! "Whatever" I said, "I can't walk now, so let's do it!"
What does absolutely no weight bearing for 10 weeks mean? Questions like this start haunting you at about 6 months into a recovery. When does one actually walk again? Is that huge black heavy "walking cast" ever going to come off? I lost the crutches, what if cane is becoming part of me? Can I let go of this new crippled identity? One year later, I ditch the monkey on my back, and decide, yes I DECIDE to not be cripple anymore.
WORLD'S BIGGEST SMILE
Wheelchairs are awesome for helping you get water from the sink and get back to the couch. I borrowed a handcycle attachment from my client RioMobility. Once my leg's swelling finally went down from double the size, allowing it to bend I could roam my street 1x a day with the handcycle. While those gadgets were nice to have, they were cumbersome and got me only yards away from the house. That's why accomplishing a 1-2 ride with moments of actually getting out of the saddle, are major wins, and make me smile like a child. Make me yell out with a WOO HOO! Exclaim that my life is so good, and I never take for granted the luxury of self mobility. Of my legs. Of a freedom of riding a bike.
I LOVE MAPS!
I needed to draw a map to try and get the concept of "other side of the world/Asia" meant. Ironically I live in a predominantly Chinese/Japanese/Indian area of California, signs are in Mandarin before English - and frankly just don't have a clue how to even say hello! After doing this sketch I am embarrassed to admit I didn't know that coastline at all. I had know idea how close I'd be to Korea, Hong Kong, heck... Sumatra for that perhaps a cup of coffee! Well "Close" is relative after the 15 hour flight.
OCTOBER 13-25, 2010
Follow along with me as I learn about Taiwan, it's lovely East Coast, and chase the Taiwan Cycling Festival with fellow cycling evangelists and adventure travelers. I'll try to post items of interest - trivia - beauty and fun! Thanks to the Taiwan Tourism Bureau for sponsoring the trip - and for this incredible opportunity. I'm lucky I am a contractor, and lucky I have a husband that who's steady job allows me to be a contractor - and lucky to be at the right place at the right time.