After 10 years in the City of Brotherly Love, I moved to Yardley in 1999. I marveled at the Delaware Canal being a block away and the options it afforded me for purely recreational cycling. I’d regularly do canal loops to Washington Crossing or New Hope (and one particularly ambitious ride from Easton).
I only recently started road cycling (not counting my years navigating the streets of Philadelphia on a mountain bike). It started with a suggestion by my physician. Years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition that causes stiffness and weakness in my legs). I had mentioned how cycling up and down the canal had been therapeutic. My neurologist was an avid cyclist himself. He suggested joining a riding group so I could take it more seriously, and that it could both relieve symptoms and protect my mobility. Some people with my condition eventually need canes or walkers to remain mobile, and I intend to do everything I can to remain on my feet.
I fondly remembered the PFW event I had participated back in 2002. I picked up a vintage road bike online and decided to join.
The time I’ve spent with the Freewheelers has been educational and motivational. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know what a cycling pace was until I saw them listed on the group ride list. (Traveling 20 blocks in Philadelphia from my apartment to work, traffic was the limiting factor, not my speed). And I was never in a hurry, disappearing for hours on the tow path. Learning to safely ride on roads (and remembering to look in my mirror) was a major benefit from PFW group rides. I now make it a point to try and run errands via bike whenever possible.
In addition to the occasional group ride, I am known for taking bikes with me on vacations whenever possible. I visit the Adirondacks regularly and love the challenges that terrain offers. On a recent multi-family group trip to Virginia Beach, I failed to set foot once in the ocean, instead logging 200 miles on roads and park trails there. On day two, I heard the question “You’re going on another bike ride?” and I had to laugh. (I brought all three of my bikes with me).
Riding has become both a therapy (and an addiction). I am so lucky that this form of physical therapy is something I love.