Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I can ride because.....

I have a cell phone. Really. It's what let me start again in '04. I hadn't ridden in years, but it was always something I loved to do. I was afraid to. I have this minor heart problem called paroxysmal atrial tachycardia (PAT). It isn’t considered serious, nor is it fatal (in and of itself, but they never tell you the whole story - I won't get into it). Anyway, it causes my heart rate to jump to 250 bpm, sometimes staying there for nearly an hour. It's extremely uncomfortable, I have heard it feels somewhat like a heart attack, and can be scary. Since it's not predictable, I was always afraid of going for a ride, having an episode, and being unable to continue, or get home. In '04, with my blood pressure consistently so high there was no way I could continue to avoid medication, I decided to do some sort of exercise to bring it down. We had just gotten our first cell phone, and, in a short fit of intelligence, I thought -why not ride my bike. If I got in trouble, I could stop and call CJ to come and get me. So the old Fuji that had been sitting for nearly 10 years, unused, in my shed got pulled out, and away I went, rotted tires, rust, and all. I haven't looked back. The health bonuses - no blood pressure meds. I went from consistent 170/110 to consistent 120/70 with no changes to anything I was doing, just riding. I lost, over the first two years, 40 pounds without changing my eating habits - well, I actually eat more now. An additional benefit is the PAT has nearly disappeared. That first year I called CJ two or three times. The second, once. Since then, I haven't had to call her at all, and I no longer even think about it. If I had known cycling would make it go away, I'd have been on the bike all my life.

Now the cell phone is used for flat tire pick ups, and to let CJ know I'm still ok when I'm gone too long.

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