Sunday, August 1, 2010

Riding Again

In February I broke my arm.  I fell while roller skating and broke the end of my radius in my elbow.  The bone itself healed quickly, but the soft tissue damage in my elbow reduced my strength, mobility, and dexterity for several months.  As a motorcyclist, this injury was really awful.  It just hasn't been safe or comfortable for me to ride throughout most of this season.

A few days ago, my bike had accumulated fewer than 200 miles this year, way down from a typical year when I'd have ridden at least 5000 miles by now.  Although my arm continued to improve every month, I seem to have reached a point where it wasn't getting much better.  I still can't straighten it all the way.
The trouble has been that even though most of my strength and motor control returned, with my arm stretched out as pictured, it hurts.  It feels like I am already pushing it past the locked position of the joint and into mild hyper extension.  And the riding position on my bike puts my arms almost that straight.  I just don't have much more extension left to use and what there is hurts to use.

So I settled on a solution.  I installed a small part on my motorcycle to raise and move rearward the handlebars.  This makes a small change to how much I have to bend my elbows in ordinary riding, helping me remain more comfortable and giving me some arm extension in reserve.

In this picture they are the grey bit directly above the top triple clamp, right under the bottom bracket for the handlebars.  It isn't a huge change.  Perhaps moving the bars 3/4" closer to my shoulders.  But that is enough to change the bend in my elbows a little bit.  Although I'm still not 100% comfortable, this one little change does prevent my arm from getting really sore in just a few minutes.  I'm probably not up to a cross country trip, but I can ride.

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