557 Miles for February, 2013

By Bill Lang,

The Casa del Valle bicycle club surprised me Friday, March 1 by honoring me for my accomplishment of over 500 miles on my trike for the month of February, 2013.
Normally this would be something that does not qualify for being a major event, but for me, it was an accomplishment. I never ever believed I would be on a bicycle/tricycle pedaling to places again. I thought my cycling would be limited to riding around the park, not getting out on the roads again.
My first fear I had to overcome was riding. I was afraid to ride again. That is one reason I found many excuses why not to purchase a trike.
My second fear was riding on the streets with traffic on a slow trike where I had very little acceleration or speed.
I was given the trike by a lady friend who was dying of cancer. She departed the park last spring for the last time, never to return again. She was returning home to Wisconsin to die. She passed away in January, 2013. At first I was reluctant to accept the trike, not knowing whether I could adjust it to fit me. With some help from another friend in the park, we were able to adjust the seat so I could ride the trike. He helped me do some much needed minor maintenance and on November 1,2012, I started riding the trike. At first, I rode only within the park. I would do some laps. My cruising speed was somewhere around 7 to 8 MPH. Not very fast. Another friend convinced me to ride to breakfast at Felix’s located about one half mile from the park. This trip was my first adventure outside the park since January, 2010. I was back on the streets again. As I became stronger, I bicycled further. I cycled 201 miles in November, 2012. I continued to cycle further and was becoming faster. December I cycled 355 miles, and so it went. January was 338 miles, and February, the furthest was 557 miles. I had no goals. I just did it, while exceeding all my expectations. My speeds increased to a cruising speed of 10 to 12 MPH.
The reasons I cycled more was because I enjoyed it, like in the past. The reason I cycled was because of my friends. I could not have done it without their encouragement. Team McAllen Cycling is one group of wonderful people that encouraged me and assisted me in obtaining the proper equipment, such as cleated pedals, lights, and tire repair equipment. My other friends here in Texas also encouraged me and supported me through my trials with the cancer. My friends at Casa del Valle encouraged me by cycling with me to the Friday morning breakfasts. Sure, the furthest place for breakfast is only 4.2 miles away, but for me, that was an accomplishment. Other friends from the park encouraged me to ride with them to different places outside the park. We rode to the avocado orchard, shopping trips, a lunch ride to McAllen, the flea market, and other places. They gave me the “canned air” since it would be very difficult for me to pump up a tire away from home. I realized that after having a flat and my friends had to assist me with making the repair. And others here in the park have given me help and words of encouragement that kept me going. I cannot forget my cycling friend from back in Illinois who not only donated a pair of cleated cycling sandals to me, but also shipped them to me in Texas. I also want to thank my cycling friends in Illinois, who have kept my spirits up and have never forgotten me when I could not ride. Their encouragement has kept me going even when, at times, it seemed that my cycling days were over. I have cycling friends from all over the country that I keep in contact with. They too have provided me with the support and encouragement to keep on going. I am so grateful to all my cycling friends who have returned me to the pleasures of cycling.
My cancer will eventually kill me. Cancer will eventually win the war. However, I believe the cycling has made the battle both more difficult for the cancer, and easier for me physically and mentally.