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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Diff-Ability is empowering, but safety still rules!

While most of us have heard the phrase that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the abstract meaning can sometimes be overlooked. It's the sort of thing that can happen despite having the best intentions of protecting yourself from a sports injury, for example.

Case in point: While out on a mountain bike ride about a week ago, I went through my usual safety checklist. My helmet, my shoes and a glove to protect my right hand were all on, and away I went. This time, though, all my usual precautions weren't quite enough. With the drier weather came more cyclists and once-firmly packed trails became sandy.

Being new to riding a mountain bike once again and with only one arm at that, I concentrate more on my steering than ever. But the slick tires with a higher inflation pressure felt downright slippery, and that can equal danger. It's time again for tires with some tread and without as much pressure. Presto! I've got a safe ride once again.

Details like these I consider "rookie mistakes," because I'm so used to road cycling from my pre-accident days. My learning curve on a mountain bike is still steep. Plus, even though I haven't forgotten how to ride a bike, riding with only one hand (and off-road, no less!) is something brand-new to me. I literally am learning how to ride a bike again.

It's all part of being diff-abled, and I accept and understand it. It's a great way to turn those rookie mistakes into a habit of thinking about things in a safer context.

So, while people I meet on the trail often stop to cheer me on as I pass by, I'm nonetheless reminded that being diff-abled is great - but there's no need to add to the challenges I've already got!

So, everybody, happy trails! And, as I like to say tongue-in-cheek, Keep the rubber side down!

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