This write up will relate more towards the older Fable’s readers, but it may hold meaning to the younger guys too. Injuring my knee in February has taken me off of my BMX bike. Almost 4 months without riding is the longest stretch I have ever had, and has made me start thinking more and more about my time riding and when it will end. I have tried to fill this strange bike void in my life with riding my road bike and single speed, which I enjoy greatly, but it leaves more to be desired.
|This is the actual picture I took that led Justin to his knee injury.|
This feeling has given me “BMX Mid-Life Crisis”.
As much as anyone will say they are in BMX for life, there is the harsh reality that someday it will end. For most of you reading this, your love for BMX has passed it’s first test: the license. I have seen so many kids get their license or a car and their bike becomes an after thought. I suppose the second test could be a girlfriend or all of your buddies not riding anymore. Eventually these things will lead to more tests: getting married, owning a house, having a career, and having children. Will your love for riding endure through these things? Say it does survive these walks of life, what happens once we enter our 50s and 60s? There will be no more crashing and just bouncing back up to try it again. We can already expect that when we make it to that age we will have the aches and pains as lasting memories of our younger days.
These are just a few things that I have thought of in my time off. The funny part is, if I was riding and never got hurt, these thoughts would have never crossed my mind. Its been a hard pill to swallow because it always been more than just riding a bike to me.
Jumping a BMX bike has been many things for me in the last ten or so years… a hobby, stress reliever, a sport,a lifestyle, exercise, an introduction to friends, a reason to roadtrip, an escape from everyday life, and working on them has even become a job. It is the one thing I have always just purely loved to do, that sense of joy only someone that has ridden can understand, and I appreciate the people and experiences it has brought into my life. I will be truly saddened the day I can no longer ride that little kids bike.
Justin H. Gamache
This is where I weigh in and say that I can more than relate to Justin. I have spent more than a few months off my bike from one injury or another. But that’s where the similarities end.
Having had multiple knee surgeries, I had almost 2 entire years off my BMX bike. With that much time away from riding, it makes you almost forget about it. I mean for a few months couldn’t even walk or drive let alone think about getting back behind the bars of my bike. And yes I too even had the thoughts of that being the end of riding. In fact I was told by my doctor that I was never gonna be able to ride again. That in itself is a very scary feeling. Having someone tell you that the thing you’ve done for the longest time and enjoy, is gonna end from this point forward. Just being told that I was determined that I would do just the opposite. If I was gonna have to stop, it would be because I wanted to, not because I was told it wouldn’t be possible.
In the time off I tried to find other activities to occupy my time, but nothing could or would ever be able to give me that same feeling. With a bad knee those activities are very limited anyway, so for the most part I just sat around and got fat. Being injured I gained more than 60 pounds and was in the worst shape of my life. I was pushing 280 pounds and on top of having a bad knee that was weak, I was hurting my overall health by turning to food and booze to help me cope with my “loss”.
Once my knee was feeling better and I could walk, I started pedaling a road bike. I realized for the first time I my life that I didn’t need to just ride a BMX bike to enjoy riding. The road bike gave me a whole new perspective on bikes. I could literally walk out my front door and ride for miles or hours and get a fairly decent workout and travel around. For awhile it became kind of a challenge for me to see how far I could travel and where I could go and find my way back home. At one point I was riding 50/60 miles a day. Anyway this is for another time….
So back to the BMX. When I first got back on my bike I was more than a little timid. I didn’t want the same thing to happen all over again and spend another year on the bench. ( For the record. I tore my ACL, MCL , dented my femur, and did extensive cartilage damage) Again being told by my doctor that I’d never ride again had me a little more than scared, because if I messed it up again I knew that was it.
I convinced my doctor I was gonna attempt it and begged him to write me a script for a knee brace. So off I went, riding for the first time in literally years. I was rusty, but damn I was pumped! I was like it was brand new all over again. Ya I sucked and my knee was weak, but with time I picked up where I left off and at one point was progressing like I never had before. I guess all that time made me appreciate it more than ever and I was gonna make up for lost time. The event I’m referring to was about 10 years ago now.
Fast forward to today. My knee hurts almost on a daily basis. I know my limitations, but I’ll be damned if I still don’t go out and have fun! Some days I wanna really ride and try stuff, others my knee is straight junk from a long car ride to a far spot and I shoot pictures. My point here is, there doesn’t have to be a life after BMX. You can chose to put your bike down and pick up something else. Or you can just forget about it and think it’s something kids do. Maybe you got other things going on in your life and you can’t find the time. I don’t know what your situation is, but I do know this: If you enjoy riding then no matter if you ride once a day or once a year and you have fun when you touch your bike…..it counts! Or if you can’t ride from an injury, but your still involved in it somehow, be it taking pictures or making T shirts or writing a blog. BMX is in the blood, it’s not just something you do, it’s something you are! I’ve stared down the barrel of the gun, and I’ll tell you it’s not over til you want it to be!
|My old ass, Fufanu on a rock sub at a secret pool|