It’s been one month since I was sidelined by gout, as detailed here, and I finally felt I could get back on the bike. My plan was to wear some soft shoes, not my cleats, and take a nice, easy ride to get back into the rhythm.
The Haneda round trip is mostly flat and largely on the cycling course along the Tama river, where rather than worrying about being hit by cars I have to worry about pedestrians stepping into my path without warning.
The shoes were a bit tight at first but soon loosened up. They don’t have any tread, so my feet were slipping around on the pedals a bit. It doesn’t seem to have been too big a problem, though, as I made slightly better time than I did in March, the last time I was on this route. My foot was fine as long as I didn’t mash down on the pedals, for example when a hill climb followed a red light. On the plus side, not having the cleats meant that I could avoid putting too much pressure on the big toe when I did need to mash a bit.
While it was overcast when I left home, the sun was shining brightly by the time I reached the river. At the first rest stop, I put on my mask like a good little boy.
When I reached Haneda, after taking my usual photo at the peace shrine I retired to a tiny park with a bit of shade to enjoy the rice balls that my partner made fresh this morning. As I was eating, a man walked by with two Chihuahuas on the leash. As they passed, one of them turned and looked at me with baleful eyes. I smiled and continued eating. The man soon reached the end of the park and turned around. This time as he passed, the Chihuahua again turned to look at me and then froze in his tracks, refusing to move. After cajoling the little dog for a moment, the man picked him up and continued on his way.
The ride home was uneventful. I was with the wind now and so I just spun my pedals, making my usual speed or a bit better without putting much effort into it. When I got to the one climb of note on the route, I just lowered gears and continued to spin. I was soon at the top without having put any stress on my foot.