Just before the end of 2015, on December 28 in fact, I reached a new benchmark and the goal I was aiming to achieve by the end of the year: 10,000 km ridden on my FES bike in 3 1/2 years (4200 km in 2015 alone). that’s a lot of distance covered by a pair of paralyzed legs! If you are able-bodied, how far did you cycle last year?
Here is a copy of the summary page of the online log of all of my rides, as recorded by the bike manufacturer. In addition to the total distance ridden so far (6329 miles as of January 15, 2016 = 10,185 km), you can also see the distance I covered in each session (in red, and by others with my same physical condition in blue), and the average power output during each session. I appear to be working much harder than others in my situation. I have no explanation for this other than that I love cycling!
I also manually log all of my rides on Strava, and you can see my profile and stats there.
My workout warm-ups are important, and not just for the role they play in getting the muscles moving. I do pretty much the same routine all the time, only occasionally making slight changes to my workout. By sticking to one standard, I can look at my performance during the warm-up and use it to tell me whether I should go easy or hard during the rest of the workout. If I am weak during the warm-up, perhaps it will be a good day to just take it easy. On the other hand, if my muscles are performing better during the warm-up, this might suggest that I have the energy to try harder workout.
Below, are the results from two of my workouts. You can see how the resistance (and also the RPM) increase over a number of steps during my 20 minute warm-up session. During my good warm-up, in the first graph, you can see that the average power on the hardest step of the warm-up was 26 W. In the not so good warm-up, in the second graph, the average power on the top step is only 19 W.
well, this pretty much says it all…
But until my moment comes, I’ll say…
I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken bone, I swear I lived.
Here’s the story of a woman in the Netherlands, Funda Müjde, whose father immigrated there 50 years ago. On a trip back to Turkey for a vacation, her taxi was struck by a 19-year-old car driver, and she became a paraplegic. It took a while, but eventually she got her mojo back. Her motto? Never give up!
One of the things that helped her regain her physical strength as well as her mental strength and attitude was the act of getting back on the bike – very special bike called a Berkel Bike, which moves by arm power, and optionally by leg power as well. Even if you can’t move your legs, the bike will move them for you. In addition, you can add functional electric stimulation, FES, and then generate power with your legs even if you are completely paralyzed. Funda got the idea to ride from the Netherlands back to Turkey to celebrate the first immigration from that country. Here is a story about her plan to make that journey:
And lastly, here is a short video about her triumphant arrival in Istanbul after completing the 4000 km ride. It’s in Turkish, but the images are compelling.
2014 was a good year for me, exercise wise, as logged in my training calendar on Strava. Thanks to my FES bike, I was able to cycle around 3600 km in spite of being a high level quadriplegic. I rode 200 times during the year, mostly exercising my legs, though I also exercised my arms once a week for most of the year. That’s an average of 70 km per week, every week of the year.
How did you fare with your own physical activity program last year?
( Since I don’t have any hand function, here’s a big shout out to my fiancée Julie, my daughter Ceara, my son Andrew, and the therapists at Spinal Injury Alberta, without whose assistance none of this would have been possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you!)
Previously during my warm-up routine, I had been exercising with the stimulation frequency around 40 Hz, and a pulse width of around 300 µs. Now I have made a change, and increased the pulse width to 500 µs. Immediately I noticed an improvement in the warm-up results: at each level of increased resistance, the stimulation required is lower. A couple of times I have been able to go all the way up to a resistance of 5 Nm before the stimulation hits 100%. Why is this? A higher pulse width causes stimulation to reach more muscle fibers. Something to consider for those of you that are riding FES bikes.