Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Fork in the Road

Haven’t posted anything in a while ‘cause I’ve been busy. Spring has finally arrived, so I’ve been busy riding. More than that, I’ve been busy thinking (never a good thing – I’ll admit). See, I’ve had a few tense moments while riding over the past few weeks, the memory of which I’ve tried to sweep under the carpet, but I haven’t had much success as they keep sneaking back out of my subconscious mind. Mundane little screw-ups, really. Like releasing the clutch too quick at a green light and lifting the front wheel for a few feet. Told myself that I was just a little rusty and after a few hundred miles I’d be fine.

Problem is, I’m not fine.

I hurt my back last year while doing some work at the cottage. Doesn’t yet make sense to me, as it wasn’t really backbreaking work to begin with. Just typical chores around the yard. Then I woke up one morning with a numbness in my left arm and hand. By the end of the day, the numbness had turned into partial paralysis. Not good. So I went to see my family physician, who sent me out for some x-rays, then I went for an MRI, and finally was referred to a neurologist. By then I was getting a little nervous about the whole mess, as I’ve rarely been sick in my life – honestly, this was only the second time in my thirty-six years that I’d seen an x-ray machine, and obviously the first time I’d been sent into the belly of an MRI (noisy bugger, it is).

Diagnosis: osteoarthritis... spondylosis to be precise. In laymen’s terms, arthritis of the neck. Osteophytes (bone spurs) grow off my neck vertebrae, which in turn compress the discs, which pinch the nerves, which finally causes all sorts of havoc in my extremities.

So I’ve been doing my exercises, seeing my physiotherapist, and generally being a good boy. Things have gotten better – but they still aren’t great, as evidenced by my sloppy clutch work lately.

I don’t like the feeling of riding without being in full control of the bike, so I’m considering selling it as the temptation to ride is liable to make me do stupid things against my better judgement (human nature: passion over logic). I haven’t talked to my wife about it yet, but I know she’s suspicious of something. I’ve been out riding quite a bit over the past few weeks, and I always find some excuse for her not to tag along. Truth is, I don’t want to risk riding with her on the bike.

Meanwhile, I keep thinking about my next move. I’ve thought about those new automatic crossover bikes like the Aprilia Mana, or maybe the Honda DN-01, but they’re both too pricey for my budget. Maybe I’ll try to find a used maxi-scooter like a Burger or SilverWing.

For now, I’m still looking at that fork in the road.