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In 2008 I turned over with my bike and broke my knee. I underwent surgery during which the surgeons inserted at metal plate with ten screws into my lower leg. I had to stay in bed for 3 months because I wasn’t allowed to put pressure on my leg. I had to use a knee CPM (continuous passive motion) machine 7 hours a day to learn to bend my leg again and had to practice a lot. I walked on crutches for 6 months after the accidents and it took me a year to fully recover.
I said: I’m never going ride a bike again. But I loved doing it. My husband bought me a carrier tricycle. I dared to ride a bike again, but I had difficulty pedaling because the carrier tricycle was heavy and I was scared of the turns because I could still topple over. Six months later – I was sick and tired of this bicycle – I got back on my old bike and I was no longer scared. We sold the carrier tricycle.
In the summer of 2016 we bought a lightweight city bike without pedal support because I thought I was too young for that (57 years). In November 2016 I came close to a collision with a car and turned over with my bicycle again. This time it was my other knee; it was completely shattered. Two more surgeries followed along with a lot of pain. Another two months in bed, again the knee CPM machine. I had to walk with crutches again for 2 months and I went through another 1,5 years of convalescing. I would never again be able to kneel, squat, run or bend my knees more than 100 degrees.
For two months straight I cried in my bed because I would never be able to ride a bicycle again. I loved bicycling: to my work, for groceries in town. On the weekends we loved long rides: 50 kilometers, or 30 kilometers on a summer evening.
I had recently said: “Nothing makes me happier than long bike rides. Through the meadows, past the farms, rides through unfamiliar city neighborhoods... All that would be past? I was devastated. It meant that my whole life (and that of my husband) was going to change. I would always have to ride that dull car, while I loved being outside.
Until one day my husband came home from the in-home care store with a Van Raam Brochure. The in-home care store had the Easy Rider tricycle from the brochure. When I saw the photograph of a woman riding the Easy Rider outside, I cried. I would be able to go on bike rides again! I still wasn’t able to bend my knees and walked on crutches, but we went to the in-home care store. I tried the Easy Rider but wasn’t enthusiastic because what I saw was a bicycle for “invalids”. I, the sport enthusiast, did not see myself like that.
We made an appointment at Van Raam in Varsseveld. We were helped by Nico who had a tricycle with a crank shortener readily available for me to try. The crank shortener is needed for people who, like me, can’t bend their knees properly, because it allows for a smaller turning circle. I tried the Easy Rider and the Balance. Riding the Balance went well. I loved riding a two-wheel bicycle, but my fear of falling kept my awake at night. I didn’t dare to do it. I was scared to ride the Easy Rider too and I struggled with the pedal support. I cried the entire ride back home (2 hours) because these bikes were nothing like what I was used to. The Easy Rider made me feel handicapped, but I really didn’t dare to ride a two-wheel bicycle.
I was barely able to walk with all that metal in my legs. What if I fall? What will I break then? Will I be able to walk at all? After a few weeks of overthinking, I ordered the Easy Rider, but not gladly. In the mean time I was able to, against all odds, bend my knees 130 degrees so I could do without the crank shortener. I needed the delivery time to get used to the idea, but I didn’t look forward to it. We went to get it on June 1st and I rode it home without using the pedal support as the supplier had told me. It was tough and I didn’t enjoy it at all, so I cried again.
I went for a ride with my husband every day. My physiotherapist told me to always use the pedal support. I didn’t like that we differed in height. I didn’t like that we weren’t always able to ride side by side. I tried bicycling very carefully and was scared to fall in turns or on ramps. Even on slightly sloped brick roads I was scared to fall. I felt super handicapped and constantly thought people were watching me. And everyone was so terribly nice to me. I felt like crying every time I rode my bicycle. This was so different from riding a regular bicycle.
My husband no longer enjoyed bicycling with me. I would only ride on paved roads because I was scared to fall. I said: If I still don’t like it a year from now, we will sell it.
We went on a holiday and on our way back home I thought: “Now I have to ride that bike again.” That’s when I flipped the switch and I thought to myself: “Now you’re going to enjoy bicycling and stop complaining. At least you’re able to ride a bike.” This wasn’t fun for me or my husband. I’ll stop being so afraid because there’s no way I’ll fall. That was the moment I decided to have fun with it.
I started very slowly and told my husband: “Give me time. I need to overcome my fears and regain my confidence.”
I rode my bicycle as often as possible: to my work every day, rides in town. I no longer cared that people were watching me. I thought: “They better get used to it. This is me from now on.” I even started riding on brick roads and said to myself: “There is no way I’m going to fall.”
I started bicycling faster and faster, but would slow down in turns and when going downhill. My husband and I enjoy going on long rides again. I enjoy the sun, the wind and the surroundings. It’s lovely to bike through the meadows. I bought a wicker basket for on the back of my tricycle. I’m actually happy that I didn’t buy the Balance, because I think I wouldn’t have been able to overcome my fears on that one. Now I am no longer afraid to fall.
Now I enjoy riding my tricycle. I am very happy I persevered. It’s just such an amazing bike. The seating is very comfortable and I enjoy the electrical pedal support despite still feeling too young for it (now 58 years old). Bicycling has become a relaxing activity to me. I ride my bicycle for fun and am no longer scared. I even went for a ride when it was freezing outside.
I hope my (long) story will win people over to buy the Easy Rider tricycle and start enjoying bicycling again. I hope to grow very old and take many long rides with my husband on the Easy Rider. We even think about going on a bike holiday.
I am very thankful that Van Raam marketed this tricycle because otherwise bicycling would have no longer been possible for me.
Saskia van Sprundel - Nederland
Model: Easy Rider
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