Keeping close to the line

Hi readers. First of all, re the banana question last week. This was a real question, as all the cycling clothes I have, and specifically the jacket, tend to have pockets in the back. Due to the reclining position on my trike my banana would get squished. I am going to design a bracket!

A mixed bag as usual this week, and an exciting sighting of Lord Bragg!

But first these..

A purchase of two hand exercisers. “Keep those muscles moving!” With every muscle affected in the body by MND, some don’t receive the attention they deserve. So I decided to address this.

“The toffee I hear you ask?” Well that’s a mouth exerciser!  Not joking either. My physio recommended chewing gum instead. Do Cadburys make chewing gum?

So to the point of my post. MND is a progressive disease. That simply means a continual deterioration . Typically the decline is pretty relentless and on average takes about only 2 years to death. There is, however, great variation between sufferers. Sadly, half of those diagnosed experience a decline that is so rapid that all the fighting will not help.

However, a percentage will have a slower decline. It’s generally accepted that the decline is linear, i.e. at the same rate, although there may appear to be plateaus. There are very good explanations for these apparent plateaus which I shall not go into here. A topic for a later post. However, in my mind, the key is doing as much to keep the gradient as shallow as possible.

So the hand exercisers and toffee are both ways I use to keep “close to the line”. Exercise the hands and the mouth! I know it sounds crazy, but it makes sense!

Keeping close to the line is also an important cycling strategy. Always dominate the road, and be nearer to the centre line than the kerb. Cycling on public roads is all about observation and being defensive. I like speed, just like any would-be Louis Hamilton. However, I have always considered myself ultra-safe in towns and villages. We have a 20mph speed limit in our village, and I thoroughly enjoy holding up traffic in both my car and trike! Knowing a road and always looking out for the dangers makes for a safer experience.

Arhh, that reminds me of yet another old Lee true story. On a work trip to Chicago, I picked up a rental car at the airport. It had this new real funky technology, Sat Nav! A huge box in the boot (trunk), with an aerial and it was fascinating.

One of the things I used to be s*** scared about when travelling alone to the US on business was the drive from the airport; Maps, following signs etc as well as being in a foreign country where they don’t speak English! Can any of you remember driving before Sat Nav? In strange places, at night it was hairy to say the least.

But this time, I entered the hotel address. I started the drive. Thirty minutes later, calm, without perspiration, or being shot at, I arrived at the hotel. Wow! I was addicted. For the next week I drove everywhere; work, dinners, etc using this miracle technology and was really chilled. I just didn’t think of where I was going, I let the technology do the work.

One night after a particularly long day, a few of us decided to go for a meal in deepest Chicago. After dinner, I jumped in the car, and started the guided drive back to the hotel. About 200 yards into the drive, PING, the Sat Nav went off-air and would not re-connect! At the time I was being directed into the “tunnels of hell”, as I call them, a covered freeway in Chicago which I had only seen in murderous movies on TV. No signs. I was awakened from my Sat Nav dream world. The tunnel was flashing by, and I am sure the graffiti on the long walls said “we r going to kill you…..***”. I was lost. However, I did know roughly in my head where the hotel was. Each stop at a red light was like an eternity, I just wanted to be moving!

After about an hour I pulled into the hotel car park after the most scary drive of my life. My American friends might call me pussy, but I am certain that Chicago is probably not a place to be lost in late at night, yes? I got out of the car, opened the trunk, and there was the loose wire staring me in the face. I was now even more worried, had some killer trucker loosened it and was now following me?!

I have now, today, checked google maps, and the road is called Lower Wacker Drive. It has been used in many movies, and at midnight I would not want to break down there.

My “blonde” cyclist in last week’s post received some attention in comments this week, including one from a fellow MND sufferer who noted he couldn’t resist a peek at his carer’s cleavage! Don’t feel bad, what else is a cleavage for but staring at M’Lord? Think about it? Mind you his carer’s name is Dave!

I restrung my guitar this week, for the first time in ages. I have decided to practice again as a way of keeping agility in my hands. Loss of flexibility in my fingers was actually another of my early symptoms. I remember trying to strum and finding it hard to play in time. I am going to have to chose very specific timing songs. Of course, singing is totally off my radar. My voice is slurred, slow, husky, nasal etc. Mind you that didn’t stop Bob Dylan. I might try it. Perhaps I will go for a drunk Rod Stewart voice.
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Listen to this appalling version of Bob Dylan’s wonderful song  Just like a Woman sung by the great Bob himself. I sound a bit like that, but worse! Perhaps not, I might record a section for a future post.

Ok, that’s it for this week, but on the subject of tuning, as promised we have managed to locate Lord Bragg. We are trying to “time tune” to 1999 and his fame as a Chef, but we are having severe issues.

However, during tuning this week we managed to find a short film of him. Unfortunately, we find him at rock bottom in 2009…….. Easily offended readers might not want to watch this. No complaints will be accepted.

Same time next week readers.

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