My Airdyne


I’ve written many odes to my Schwinn Airdyne over the years. Today I was riding through the Austrian Alps toward a glacier I would love to see but never will. The road is wonderful. I’m grateful to Bike the World — whoever they are — for all the rides I’ve taken with their videos as I ride my stationary bike.

As most of the readers of my blog know, I have damaged knees, two of them. The worst one suffered an ACL tear that was not repaired with surgery because I had no insurance. Yeah. I live in THAT country. The injury happened in 1992. It was treated with a leg brace and crutches and after that I was told not to hike for another six weeks.


It was almost 4 months in total before I was allowed to hike again. I got a mountain bike in that interval because a leg that is immobilized soon loses muscle mass. I know a lot of people — particularly women of my generation — don’t think much about “muscle mass” but I’ve realized in my sunset years that nothing was more important to me back then than keeping on the trails with my dogs. In 1992, I was 40.

The leg healed and I continued to run on it until 2004 when my right hip went south with osteoarthritis. This stuff takes a toll. I had surgery — hip resurfacing — on that hip and was supposed to be able to run again afterward, but I couldn’t. The three years between the first sign of the damage and my surgery were harrowing in many ways. The physical pain became excruciating, and it was very hard to get on any trails in that kind of pain. By the time I’d rehabbed from the surgery, my running muscles were gone and a repaired joint is not the same as the original. Ever. It’s good, but different. I tried running and it was so awkward and strange like I had someone else’s body. I have run since, occasionally, but I also know that high-impact exercise wears out man-made joints — of which I now have two — more quickly than does low impact exercise and that surgery and rehab is no picnic. I don’t want to do it again if I don’t have to.

My rehab back then — 2007 — involved an Airdyne just like the one I have now. That and an old-school Nordic track ski machine.

Where was I going with this? OK, so for more than 15 years now my primary sport has been riding an Airdyne. Today I was riding and thought, “Why am I doing this? What’s the fucking point?” A little voice answered, “There’s no point, maybe, but think of how it might be without it?”

I don’t know how it might be without it. I do know how it IS.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends an upright stationary bike above all other kinds of exercise for people with knee arthritis — both osteo and rheumatoid. So where would I be without it?

I don’t know. In worse physical condition overall, certainly. The Arthritis Foundation gives it several thumbs up for reducing pain and maintaining mobility. So maybe my knees would hurt (which they very seldom do) and maybe they wouldn’t work even as well as they do.

So I will persist…

My Airdyne is like the one in the featured photo but mine has racing stripes. I love the irony.

10 thoughts on “My Airdyne

  1. Pedal onward!! I’m thinking of getting a treadmill so I can walk in the winter without danger of breaking bones in an icy fall!

  2. Hopefully this doesn’t show up twice because I thought I posted a comment but it isn’t there…I don’t think I can blame it on word press…I’m sure it is me… Anyways, I was saying something about how important physical exercise is as we get older and I wondered where you will ride to next after Austria?

    • There are a lot of options—in summer I like to “ride” in high mountains where there is snow. I don’t like the rides that are just a lot of switchbacks, or go through towns, or don’t climb. My favorite is Picos de Europa in Spain. I’ve been doing this a while… 😄 I think exercise is majorly important— I just sometimes feel sorry for myself because there are things I can no longer do. But the big picture is there is so much I CAN do. ❤️🐾

      • I think we all cycle through those low moments. (no pun intended!) But, we end up coming back to the positives. One of the ladies in my hiking group “The Prairie Wanderers” has been hiking her way through Europe on her treadmill.

  3. I nearly fried my keyboard spewing coffee out my nose when I read the
    WTF is the point line, but, now I know, when reading your blog, best to shove the keyboard out of spew distance – until done reading – – 😀

    A gal after my own heart! 😀

    I am babying my knees after I spent the 10th day of ‘back in garden’, really gettin’ er done, thinking I had done so well, after wintertime, I could kneel, squat, up, down, plant, weed, dig holes, pick up heavy things, twist to move them from here to there – OOPS! the exercises done inside this winter sure didn’t keep those muscles around my knees in their best shape!

    Sigh – didn’t jack it up as bad as in 2016 (thank goodness!) but now on day 3 of resting, acupressure and EO rubs, and fretting over the last 3 chokecherry bare root plants, that sit in a wheelbarrow, with their roots covered – instead of safe in their new home – – hopefully, today – very, very, carefully! 😀

    • Take it easy out there — I can do everything but I limit it because my big goal in life is to keep walking my dogs. Gotta’ dream…. 😉

  4. My first significant purchase after starting my first real job was…a stationary bike. I knew I needed a way to stay active indoors during harsh winters. I bought a Tunturi. That was 1984. I still have it, still ride it regularly, don’t know where I’d be without it, especially during times like now when I’ve been unable/reluctant to run because of a nagging overuse injury. So many books I’ve read while riding that fake bike. So many videos I’ve watched! If I have to die in a dramatic way, expiring while riding my Tunturi (at age 99) wouldn’t be half bad.

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