Wednesday, July 9, 2008

From Tricycle To Bike To Tandem


By Kimberly Jensen

Two weeks ago I spent two days with my elderly father in Logan riding in the MS 150 ride. I've done the ride for over five years but it was the first time I left my road bike at home, rented a tandem cruiser bike and headed north for a weekend with daddy. My dad is 73 years old and has Parkinson's Disease. The disease has taken his balance, his concentration, his smile (sometimes) his driver's license and most recently, it is taking hold on his mind. He now requires 24/7 care. Two weeks ago, he was under the care of my sister and I. Many years ago, we acquired a love of bike riding from our father and wanted to share that love once again with him. He has gone from tricyle to bike back to tricycle again (he rides a three wheel mountain bike everyday on the roads around his neighborhood) But for this weekend, we rented a tandem because he wanted to see how many miles he could do. Who are we to tell him, "no?" My sister came along with her mountain bike and road behind us. I steered the front of the bike while my dad peddled on the back. We arrived in Logan, got settled in the hotel, ate dinner and gave my dad his medications ,which amount to more than your local neighborhood pharmacy. We got up early the first day and took off, tandem. The three of us were the last on the road, but we decided to let daddy sleep in, get some breakfast and let his meds kick in. We rode the route backwards in hopes of catching the rest stops that were still open. We rode 25 miles together that first day and my dad pumped his skinny legs the whole way. His meds stopped working the last five miles and his breathing became labored, causing concern for surrounding cyclists and medics but he wouldn't stop until we came into the Logan fairgrounds. The next day, we were once again the last ones on the road, but that day we rode an amazing 35 miles around Hyrum lake and back to Logan again. My dad wanted to do another ten miles, but we decided not to push it. We loaded the bikes in the truck, got my dad a cool drink and drove home. The three of us wore sweaty, salty smiles the whole way home. As we drove down into the valley my dad turned to us and said, "I better get in shape for next year. I'm going to do the whole 150 miles next time." Determination. Pass it on.

4 comments:

Janet Kay Jensen said...

Kimberly, that's a remarkable accomplishment! Amazing that your father could do that many miles. The tandem was a great idea to accommodate his needs. Sounds like you all had a great time. It's been plenty hot here in Cache Valley!

Janet

Stephanie Abney said...

What a wonderful post!! Thanks for sharing that. I miss my folks but neither one of them would have done such a bike ride. That's awesome. Your dad has a great attitude.

Blessings,
Stephanie

Shirley Bahlmann said...

How touching! My dad had Parkinson's before he died. I remember the pile of pills. I love how you're spending time with your father.

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