Getting Back On The Bike by Sam Cohen

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1042.I wrote the following few paragraphs back in March of this year. The Grandpa in question will be pedaling himself all over the Quad Cities in two weeks to eat tasty grub and drink a long overdue beer:

Without a doubt, my grandfather Larry has fostered my interested in cycling more than any other individual. From early long rides, to days of RAGBRAI, to waking up early to watch the Tour and convince each other Lance wasn’t cheating; dude was all about it from day one.

Last September, after only a little cajoling, he joined me for the Quad-City Culinary Ride. The day was going great until at about mile 20 he crashed – his first in over 15 years, thousands of miles, and numerous RAGBRAIs. He broke his hip, elbow, and the cup of his shoulder. By the way, he’s 75.

It was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had – holding that old man’s arm together until the paramedics arrived – knowing I invited him on what would likely be his last ever bike ride. Two hours later and heavily sedated in a hospital bed, he assured me he’d be back on his bike, someday.

He underwent surgery for his hip and elbow, and remained in the hospital for weeks. Since then, he’s recovered faster than any of his doctors, physical therapists, or relatives (myself included) believed possible. In November he was walking all over a steep hill with only a cane to watch me race a bike poorly (thanks Gramps). By January he was caneless. I just got off the phone with him, and he told me he rode his bike today.

Six months after a wreck that left him bedridden for weeks, my 75 year-old grandfather rode his bike on nearly the first nice day of spring. He didn’t even get bigger tires like I suggested, still rocking a road bike with 25c tires. So, shoutouts to the toughest person I know; and thanks for the two-wheeled life and sweet middle name.