A Second Chance for Biking

Julie at the Portland Tweed Ride 2014

Julie at the Portland Tweed Ride 2014.

Most of my adult life I worked in the field of exercise. I taught weight training, yoga, aerobic dance, individual exercise programs, and was the Director of Recreation at a Correctional facility. In my spare time I enjoyed racquetball, weight training, cycling, tennis, hiking, dancing and jogging every day.

In 1982 my life changed in ways I could not imagine. I became fully disabled with Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria. I lost the ability to do all of my physical activities. Thirty years of trying to figure out how to live with severe hiving, skin pain and disfigurement was remarkable. I became a sedentary person. I walked, if I did not have hives on my feet or blinding me with eyelids closed from swelling. If I could walk 30-45 minutes two times a week that would be a good week. Also my healthy eating habits went south from depression and chronic pain. I was eating over my feelings of the loss of that gal I once knew.

On July 22, 2014 I went into remission with a new drug that enabled me to do so many activities that I had to put aside for thirty years.

I have a great mountain bike my Dad gave me. He wanted me to have this when my hives left my body. I got on that bike so fast and have been riding it pretty much every day since I went into remission. My eating habits changed dramatically with daily cycling and I am now a healthy gal.

When I started cycling I decorated my bike with 15 yellow flowers and a basket. I wore a neon pink bike skirt, sandals and let my hair flow in the wind. My first day out I could bike fifteen minutes and I would be out of breath. Four months later I biked 17 miles! I am not saying it was easy and I did want to call for a ride four times but I kept going.

I love the freedom cycling gives me. I truly feel just like the person I was before the hives came. I don’t know how long this drug will keep me in remission so I am biking because every single moment counts. I fell in love with cycling and noticed everyone and their bicycles. I had a hard time going to sleep because I was so excited to wake up and bike again. I am not sure if I can write how free cycling makes me feel. I don’t want to walk anymore, but do now and then. I vary rarely use my car and save $50 a month on gas. I love helping the planet!

I was looking for lessons on how to ride safely and I found the best class! The course is CyclingSavvy. I contacted John Brooking and signed up that day. John helped me with questions during the month I was waiting to attend the class.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have taken over five hundred classes and I must say this course was done so well that I feel confident biking and it also made me a better driver. The class spent nine hours together learning every possible situation that could occur while cycling. It was the most intense training in many years. I like “hands on” training and that I got. A few times during the class I wanted to say I needed to go home but I stuck with it. I “took the road” like a real trooper and it helped knowing John was my cycling partner. I trusted his knowledge and expertise. Other times I “took the road” on my own. Fellow bikers were very supportive. It was one of the best days of my life so far.

I would recommend this course to anyone. I wish it was part of a school curriculum. More important is the need for motorists to learn about the rights of cyclists.

Cycling is the new Black and we are here to stay. I look forward to the day when I can be biking without vehicles blasting their horns at me, respecting that I have the same rights on the road.

I have changed my wardrobe a bit, wearing sneakers rather than sandals and I purchased all my safety equipment for my bike. I am not saying I would not wear my pink skirt again ’cause when one gal has the opportunity to “fly”, pink works! Biking is my freedom… my wings…

Thanks to my CyclingSavvy Instructors John Brooking and Bruce Lierman, I feel free, confident and safe.

– Julie, South Portland, Maine

7 replies
  1. Brenda Silverman
    Brenda Silverman says:

    I am so happy for you JULIE, that is your name??? lol … I cant imagine how wonderful u must feel. I am inspired by u + may need u to help motivate me, but I have always wanted to bike + one day do one of the bike treks around Maine. I think u should write a book. I love you!!!! U Go Girl!!!!! + where your pink + fly!!!!!!

  2. Valerie Bolduc
    Valerie Bolduc says:

    I am so happy for all you have accomplished in your life. You have had many health obstacles but you have overcome them the best way you know how. Bicycling is now a big part of your life. It has given you the freedom and joy that you need in your life. Enjoy every minute because you deserve it. Keep a positive attitude !!! ,your sister Val ❤️

  3. Carrie Y.
    Carrie Y. says:

    Julie you are amazing! I am so incredibly happy for you. Your life has changed so many times over and this time it’s an awesome and enjoyable change. Enjoy your freedom!

    • Julie Silverman
      Julie Silverman says:

      Hey Carrie,
      It has been so wonderful to go through all of our life changes together so far. Your honesty and love has helped me thru some of the roughest times.
      Love, Julie

  4. Julie Silverman
    Julie Silverman says:

    Brenda, and Gail I would be more than exicted to go biking with you. Let’s make a plan now. Thank you for all your love and support.

  5. Julie Silverman
    Julie Silverman says:

    To Valerie, my sis
    Thank you for celebrating all that I can do now and honoring my determination to keep going.
    Love, Julie


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