Two ABI’s Went Cycling

Ready to set out

Two ABI’s went cycling… If you think it sounds like “Two lawyers walked into a bar…” let me start again.

Two ABI’s went cycling to check out a railroad bridge and enjoy the scenery. That would be me and my friend Sijmen. Being ABI’s our 15 kilometer event needed some careful advanced planning. I can’t just decide to bike 20 or 50 kilometers on a whim as I did pre-ABI.

Doing the trip with another ABI made me more mindful even though Symen has many more years of experience with ABI.

Let me name six things that stood out for me as I look back on the (rather short, very successful, most enjoyable, heart warming) bike trip.

  • While I might have just headed out the next morning with little thought about the weather, I asked Sijmen if he was fine with the weather forecast of the next day.
    • Fortunately the weather turned out ideal – 21 C partly cloudy.
  • While I might have overlooked the need to pack a lunch, I reminded Sijmen to have snacks, lunch and drinks with him.
    • That left me scurrying to put my stash together.
  • While I might have biked the whole 15 km without stopping, I asked Sijmen several times as we were biking whether we should stop for a break.
    • I would have been done the ride much too quickly.
  • While I might have biked too fast for my own good on my own, I suggested Sijmen set the pace and I would adjust my speed.
    • I would have averaged an extra 10 km/hr and needed time to recover.
  • While I would likely have decided to bike back after arriving at the end of the trail because I still felt fine, I agreed it would be better that we not push the limit on this trip. We accepted a ride back to the trail head.
    • I would otherwise have arrived back at the trail head worn out and challenged to drive myself home.

      Trestle Bridge Near Omemee
  • While I would have forgotten to monitor so many things had I done this cycling excursion on my own, riding with a fellow ABI made me much more aware.
    • I would otherwise not have been mindful of monitoring how things were going and setting reasonable limits.

I was surprised by my ability to be mindful in a way that allowed me to not lose track of time. I did not get caught up in my own space and forget to remain hydrated… to take a nutrition break… to eat lunch.

Biking with Sijmen, I was continuously pulled out of my own space. I would see him biking. Seeing him was the visual reminder to be mindful of monitoring how things were going. Being mindful of Sijmen meant I was automatically being mindful of myself and engaged in the necessary habit of self-monitoring.

When I got home I knew I had done well. I had started the bike trip with a low grade headache and by the end of the ride my headache had eased a bit.

For Sijmen, the trip was memorable because it was his first experience of joy with such intensity in a long time.20160623_113232


Author: Jasper Hoogendam

After 36 years as an educator my career ended due to a TBI. Renewable energy as part of 'walking lightly on this earth' has been and continues to be my interest since my teen years. Since early 2015 I have been learning to live with ABI (Acquire Brain Injury). I don't want to let my ABI limit the goals I set for myself. I'm living with a different brain, not a lesser brain. In sharing my day to day successes and struggles, I am better able to understand how my life had changed and begin to accept the change. In sharing my experiences I'm hearing from caregivers and fellow ABI's. I'm encouraged when my experiences are helping others understand some of the complexity of living with ABI.

5 thoughts on “Two ABI’s Went Cycling”

    1. I make my posts public because many people want to have a better understanding of people who deal with disabilities. Each disablity has it’s unique challenges. The increased understanding will allow all of us to live in a more empathetic society.
      By all means feel free to link to my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

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