It’s six-and-a-half weeks since I was assaulted by the truck.
I should probably be in India or northern Vietnam, depending on which way I turned at Bangkok. Then again, I should probably be dead.
Instead of which, I’m at home in the UK. Which is a bit frustrating.
However… After 42 days of pain, gradual improvement, and a phenomenally sedentary lifestyle, the last week has seen (in my limited little world, at least) some momentous changes. I’m down to one paracetamol a day, basically just to combat some back stiffness when I wake up in the morning. And on Tuesday, I tried driving for the first time since I left on the ride in July. It worked! Which was a major step forward.
But the really good part is that I’ve been on the road on a bike again this week. The first, tentative miles on the way back to touring.
The shoulder and back are still not fully fixed (not entirely surprising, I suspect). The muscles in my right arm have wasted from weeks in a sling, and, although I’ve got a decent range of movement now, I’ve got very little strength. Those nasty cracked vertebrae in my back severely limit the time I can be active before needing a nice sit down and a cuppa. And my breathing on the hills is a bit constricted by the cracked ribs, and possibly some internal bruising (incredibly, I still have bruises working their way to the surface after all this time).
But I’m riding again, which is the main thing. I trundled a whole ten miles (16km) yesterday. Pathetic in comparison to the 50 to 80 miles a day (on a 40kg rig) which I considered normal a couple of months ago. But, importantly, that ten miles was light-years ahead of the four miles I managed on Monday. And those four were a big improvement on the wobbly mile-and-a-half I put in on Sunday’s first ride.
It’s all going in the right direction.
It’s strange riding in the UK again after so long overseas. You notice things you’d ordinarily take for granted (I guess I’ve still got my traveller’s eye in).
It’s slightly alarming to ride on roads with no hard shoulder, until you remember that the driving standards here are actually pretty reasonable. And that I rode perfectly safely on these roads for years when I was a kid. And that I was riding on the hard shoulder in Thailand when the truck hit me, so the safety provided by a line of paint is illusory in any case.
It’s surprisingly pretty around here, too, which you forget after being connected to a place for several decades. And you also forget that there are thousands of miles of quiet country lanes in England (like the one pictured above), where there’s hardly any traffic at all. Bit too much horse manure, though…
Of course, it’s not all rosy.
After yesterday’s sun, it’s raining today (all day), which is pretty typical for an English spring. And somehow or other, the country managed to be so intimidated by scare stories about the ‘risks’ of Scottish people that we’ve instead voted for the risk of breaking up the EU and the UK within the next two years. Which seems a bit bizarre to me.
Still, things are definitely on the up. I’ve pencilled in a fairly tough Sportive ride (135km distance / 1900m climbing) in mid-July to give myself a fitness target. I’m hoping I’ll be ready to do something before that, though.
Just need to keep building up those miles until I get back to a decent level again…