Claire and I recently signed up to volunteer for the Foundation for the Blind and, take visually impaired members out for a ride on the back of a tandem.
Our first ride had us pedal a ‘stoker’ (that’s what they call the pillion passenger) from Lincoln to Little River, on a dis-used converted railway line connection, now a cycle rail trail.
My member had never ridden a tandem before, let alone the distance being approx. 44 kms one way, and so was absolutely thrilled to make it the whole way. A grin of achievement – a grimace of a sore bum however, it was worth it.
Claire’s member rode both to and from Little River meaning over 80 kms on the bike seat. So did Claire actually making up the tandem numbers! Her member was as equally euphoric.
I rode the tandem bike back without passenger for moral support.
This would have to have been one of the best micro-adventures we have ever involved ourselves with.
To enrich. To be enriched.
The moment the mountain bike soared up leaving the ramp, I knew I was in trouble.
Instinct unfortunately froze to let gravity do its thing … and gravity didn’t disappoint. Having gone over the front of the bike’s handle bars, my helmet and shoulder took the full impact of body hitting the dirt track hard. And the ground was unforgiving.
It was my last interface with a Project K student I mentor for 2014 and we chose to do an activity he is passionate about – BMX riding. I was riding my mountain bike with clip in shoes and it only took a momentary lapse of concentration to change the Christmas festive season holiday break like no other.
The arrival of the paramedics assured me that the lump in the shoulder was a bone split into two. The ambulance personnel referred to the word “broken” in a number of sentences; and the hospital x-rays confirmed that I had indeed severely snapped my clavicle. I was admitted to hospital pending an operation to insert a plate to re-align.
Four days later, on the eve of Christmas, the reconstruction surgery eventuated.
I got to encounter the coming and going of Santa, as I did BClaire and Cameron whom joined me briefly on the ward to consume their ham and cheese croissants, as I scoffed traditional turkey and cranberry sauce hospital cuisine style.
Ticking all the boxes on Boxing Day, I was discharged to start the process of time and heal.
What a fascinating experience. New friendships made over the bond of broken limbs. Being pampered by a realm of brilliant caregivers at the push of a button. The pink pills to make all the blues of pain go away. My place of employment value my contribution to offer peace of mind recovery support. And the number of face book friends who ticked ‘like’ when someone is hurting had me smiling.
Finishing off my Christmas shopping; working through as part of the skeleton team; taking our recently purchased second bedroom on wheels for a tiki-tour around the South Island on the stat days; playing ‘zombie’ tag with the child campers invading our slice of paradise over the holiday period; ramp up the fitness training so as to complete the Motatapu mountain bike ride followed by the St Clair half marathon – evaporated as soon as I went soaring up and over.
It was certainly a Christmas holiday break like no other.