Arthritis, Exercise and the 40 year old woman

I have a dilemma. I’ve had this dilemma since about March. I’m losing my parking space at work, which, in London was very useful. I had originally been given one that the company rented, but the owners took them back and I was given a temporary space within our building. The reason I had one is that I have a form of arthritis called AS (Ankylosing Spondylitis) and I have limited neck movement and had a major flare up in my knees in 2009 and had difficulty walking. It’s better now and under control with long-term medication. However, my company can no longer justify giving me this space (I have fought it, but I’ve run out of ammunition).

My first idea was to pay someone in a neighbouring street for the use of their driveway. It can be very lucrative for people and there are lots of websites where you can advertise your driveway or garage for short-term or long-term rental. I couldn’t find anything nearby so I did a leaflet drop, but got nothing. I then discovered that I could rent about 5 streets away from work at a cost of £100 a month. However, another 4 streets further and I can park for nothing. It would mean a 25 minute walk which would prove a little too far for me with my condition and very tight on time when I have to dash from school/nursery run to work.

So then, I came up with an ingenious plan. If I bought a fold up bike, park for free and ride to work, I could probably do it in about 7-10 minutes. No weight on my knees and provided I didn’t push myself it shouldn’t be too painful. The added bonus is that I can get some much needed exercise (admittedly not much, but 20 min a day for 4 days is ok).

Flaw to the plan? Well yes there are a few.
Firstly, the cost. Whilst I could get a cheap fold up bike, reviews aren’t great and they don’t fold brilliantly so I’ve fallen in love with the Brompton bike. It is beautiful but it costs £810 for the most basic model (arghhhh). However, considering I was looking to pay £1200 a year for a parking space, then it is cheaper and I can get a finance deal with a bike shop.
Secondly, The Rain. What do I do when I’m in my work gear and it is pouring with rain. Well I’ve googled it, and a cycling cape seems to be the answer. It has thumb grips that allow you to hold on to the handlebars and effectively cover your legs. Might not work every time, but certainly worth considering.
Thirdly, my condition/age. I’m not that fit and some days are worse than others in the ole knee department. I haven’t found the best idea for this. If I happen to be having a bad week I could appeal for a temporary visitors space at work I guess. Fitness wise, I am hoping I’ll get better and better as it goes on.
Fourthly (if that is a word), wearing dresses and skirts. Well thankfully I don’t wear them that often. I have a few ideas for this. I could occasionally ask the receptionist for a visitor space and if there is one, I could opt to wear a dress then. Or, I could consider wearing trousers into work and then changing. Although I really want to avoid this if I can.

I think it’s the right decision. I think once having a Brompton we’ll find lots of scenarios where it will be helpful to have a fold up bike. Hubby might find it useful (a ticket just to Waterloo and a bike ride onwards would be cheaper). I could meet my family and friends nearby by cycling there and coming back by car.

Am I mad or is this the best decision ever?

What a clever little bike


About freefallinginto40

I am 40 years old. I blog about how I'm coping with my "new" age at . I'm a married mother to two after years of infertility. I have a 6 year old called Pickle and a 3 year old called The Monster. I work 4 days a week. We are also planning a move to the country! I blog about that at
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10 Responses to Arthritis, Exercise and the 40 year old woman

  1. chezmummy says:

    As long as you use it regularly like you intend, I think this is a good idea. There are always pros and cons to everything but this sounds like it could help

  2. Pingback: The Weekly Showcase 18-06-12 | Love New Blogs

  3. Louise Lloyd says:

    Sounds like a plan to me! Hopefully the regular and gentle exercise might help your knees a little? Also does your company not offer the Bike to Work Scheme? A lot of London companies do, to encourage you to bike (good for the environment etc) if so they would help towards the cost of the bike. Might be worth looking into it – its a government scheme. Good Luck – look forward to reading how it all goes X

  4. I think it’s a great idea. Increased exercise actually eases my pain over time, and surely it wouldn’t be too hard to put a lightweight skirt into a backpack and wear cycling trousers on the way? Good luck with it all anyway 🙂

    • Very true. I’m sure I will work out finer details in time. Thanks for the good luck. Shall no doubt post a pic when I get it next month.

      • Corby says:

        Any updates on your bike? I’m 47, male, and in a similar spot transporation-wise. I was diagnosed with AS in my early twenties and bike part way for my commute each day since parking near the campus where I work is insanely expensive. (The Brompton H6R I’ve been considering would cost the same as two years of parking.) Most days I would like to skip my car entirely, ride the Brompton to the bus stop about a mile away from my home, and then about another half mile to campus on the other end. Anyways, I’d love to hear how your plans have worked out, even if you decided against purchasing the bike. (Bromptons are beautiful, but undoubtedly expensive!) I hope you’re doing well in battling your AS. It can be really harsh sometimes, can’t it?

      • Hiya. It has worked out very well. Unfortunately last December the permit area was extended so I have to park further away which has meant the 2 days I do childcare drop offs/pick ups didnt work. So I pay for parking those days, but I still do Brompton on Mon and Tuesdays. Love it!

  5. Pingback: Update on the exercise | Free Falling into 40

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