Category: bicycling after hip surgery

One of the World’s Most Traveled Bicyclists, and the School of the Americas (SOA)

george-to-SOA
George christensen rode his bike from Chicago to Columbus, Georgia to participate in the SOA-Watch demonstration. To read about George’s bicycling exploits, go to http://georgethecyclist.blogspot.com/

george-dw-soa
Every morning we rode around the historic and beautiful city of of Columbus, Georgia

There is not an official log for who has ridden the most miles on a bicycle ever in a lifetime. The only good logs are self-kept. One has to trust the integrity of the cyclist on this one.

#1. Freddie Hoffman has ridden his bicycle over 1 million miles, and he is still riding.
#2. Then there is Chris Davis, a 70-something Englishman who has ridden at least 960,000 mile.
#3. And then, George Christensen, who has perhaps 700,000 miles and still counting. Most of his miles were with a fully loaded bike. George carries 60 pounds of gear with him when he is touring. That is twice what I carry. He has done it by bicycle touring, by only traveling with a bike (no car) and by being a bicycle messenger.

I first met George in the late 80’s in Chicago. A mutual friend took us to dinner. George was mostly the silent one at the table. What he said was interesting, but he did not volunteer much. I was working heavy in high tech in down town Chicago at the time while he was, of all things, a bicycle messenger. It wasn’t like I thought we had a lot in common. But periodically, George would ride his bicycle out from downtown Chicago to my home in Skokie, about ten miles north of downtown Chicago, for a visit. At the time I thought, “Wow. A long way for city riding.” We had known each other for years before he thought it worthwhile to mention that he had ridden his bike from Chicago up to Alaska, down to the tip of South America, across Australia, the USA, Europe, and numerous other places. When the Chicago Bears was in the 1986 super bowl, George rode his bike from Chicago in 15 degree temperatures to New Orleans. Then he stood out front with a sign asking for a free ticket for the super bowl. He explained to Bears fans how he had gotten to New Orleans. He did not get one, but he enjoyed watching the game in a local bar.
“George, why didn’t you tell me that?”
“Well, you didn’t ask.”
???
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Testing my new titanium hip with a bicycle

A month after my hip replacement surgery
A month after my hip replacement surgery

I have not posted any bicycle journeys for 2 years. This was because I had developed an increasingly severe, crippling pain in my left leg and hip. I had begun walking with a limp. I figured that in my late 60’s, this was arthritis and simply the price of aging and that the bear had not caught me. In the archaeological record, men rarely lived beyond 40. So, be it.
A doctor examined my leg and told me I had a torn groin muscle. Ow, because by the Spring of 2015, it was beginning to hurt terribly. I was teaching at Missouri State in Springfield, Missouri and I had managed to ride my bicycle the two miles EVERY day (like in EVERY) for the first seven months of school. I had also climbed the 94 stairs to my office EVERY day without taking the elevator once.
But then one day in late March of 2015, it happened. I could not get out of bed. The pain was too bad. I have always thought that I could take pain with the best of them. But now I found myself paralyzed. I could no longer walk without crutches. Time to get an MRI.
The results came back with urgency. I had no torn groin muscle. I had a completely deteriorated head of my left femur bone. No cartilage remaining, with floating bone chips and a deteriorated acetabulum on my hip. I also had some internal bleeding. This explained the bruising on my left thigh.
My choices were simple: walk with crutches and a walker, in pain, for the rest of my life, or hip replacement surgery. The radiologist and doctor said that I had waited too long before getting my MRI and I now needed emergency surgery. There was no other choice. When would I be ready? Right now. They put me on a waiting list.
They had to first test me to see if I were a good candidate for surgery. The EKG, urine, and blood tests were all fine. Good basic systemic health. My problem has always been wearing parts out: cartilage surgery on both knees, double hernia surgery, trigger fingers. Just too much much running, jumping, climbing, hiking, and pedaling in my life. I wear joints out, but I guess I would not have it any other way. I would not give up activity.
A few days later, the hospital calls me back. They have a break in their schedule. Could I be ready in two days? Sure. So I show up at sunrise, and after many details, I am anesthetized. And then in the next hours, they cut off the end of my femur, reem out my hip joint, put a titanium insert into my femur, attach a chrome-alloy femur arm onto it, put a stainless steel femur head on the end of that arm, and attach a polyurethane acetabulum in my hip, along with a few screws to hold it all in place. I also come out of surgery with a deep, 6-inch-long forever-scar on my left thigh.
For the first week of recovery, I am mostly on my back, taking pain pills for the first time in my life. I experiment with not taking them, and ohhh it does hurt. I can count my heartbeat in my hip. I find myself in a state of suspended animation, waiting for the pain and swelling to go down. After a week, I begin doing mild exercises. I can only walk with crutches or my walker.
Then I start going to physical therapy. I decide that I am going to be the world’s best patient. I will do everything they say, every exercise, as many repetitions as they say. And I do. I add to this by going to the gym. After a month of physical therapy, they sent me home early and told me not to come back. They said I did not need them or the crutches or walker anymore.
So I worked out more at the gym, doing very specific exercises to build up my still weakened, somewhat atrophied, left leg. The doctor forbade bicycling for three months. His main worry was that I would fall hard on my left side and do damage the the healing muscles and joints.
Finally, after 3 months, I started cycling again. But I had a new problem. I could not lift my leg high enough over my Cannondale touring bike. It had a standard men’s top bar, and my left side was just too stiff to lift my leg that high. So I bought this. .

new-bike-dw
My new ‘step-thru’ girl bike — NOT a girl’s bike. 🙂
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The Wild Years

Dwight Worker The Wild Years A series of autobiographical stories about Dwight Worker’s life, running from the law…before Lecumberri. THE WILD YEARS is available in paperback and ebook.

Escape from Lecumberri

Dwight Worker Escape from Lecumberri Only two people ever escaped from the infamous Lecumberri Prison in Mexico City: Pancho Villa and Dwight Worker. This is the true story of Dwight Worker’s amazing escape. ESCAPE FROM LECUMBERRI is available in paperback or Kindle.

About the Author

Dwight Worker is an American professor, activist, adventurer, and fugitive. He escaped from the Mexican penitentiary Palacio de Lecumberri in 1975 along with the book and movie Escape about the story

Throughout his life he participated in civil rights, anti-war, and environmental movements. In 1991, Dwight volunteered to serve in the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Worker is a former professor at Indiana University, where he created the Information Security program for the Kelley School of Business before retiring in 2008 to farm, write, and travel.….READ MORE