The freedom of riding
By Julie Matuszewski; photos by Lynn Zahorik
Fatigue, dizziness, and imbalance were words that soon became physical disabilities for Carol Gransee. Disabilities that she thought would keep her from her passion of bike riding. Carol has been on a bike since she was a child and has never stopped riding. Diagnosed with progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2001, Carol began to experience bouts of imbalance and dizziness, which made traditional bike riding more difficult and dangerous. A woman who has always been driven, found a way to get herself in the seat riding again.
In her early diagnosis, doctors recommended that Carol rest her muscles and omit physical activity. Carol loved biking too much to give it up. Bike riding is the primary reason she is upright and walking today. Her husband, Steve, shared that Carol has always been a true fighter. “She does not let her MS or anything else get her down or in her way,” he said. According to Carol, if you really want to do something and it becomes too difficult, you can always find a solution. Carol is riding twice a week through the neighborhoods of Castle Pines and Castle Valley.
With the help of AngleTech, a bike shop that specializes in bikes for handicapped individuals, Carol is now riding in a three-wheel ICE Sprint 26 adult recumbent trike. Designed specifically for the hills of Castle Pines, Carol’s new trike provides her the balance she needs to ride and the peace of mind that she is safe. The hills provide Carol with the hard exercise she needs while maintaining muscle integrity in her legs. Even with the hills, she enjoys logging ten miles with each ride.
As previous Aurora residents, Carol and Steve enjoyed endless bike rides on the paths of the Cherry Creek Reservoir. In 2010, the Gransees packed up their bikes and moved to Castle Pines. They are the neighbors you greet from the street and a couple you cannot help but visit with over coffee at Starbucks. It is hard not to be excited around Carol, as her zest for life and enthusiasm for the community are contagious. Her positive approach to her new lifestyle has kept Carol doing what she loves most, riding her bike. Carol may walk with the assistance of a cane, but she rides with the freedom of young girl.
Biking for Carol is more than just a physical need or an adrenaline rush. Riding is freedom and joy. She loves that she is on an even playing field with every other biker. Using her leg muscles, she makes it up and down the hills just like other riders. She used to be slow going down hills breaking all the way, but now she loves going as fast as she can. Riding on three wheels with low road clearance, Carol feels more stable and safer than ever before.
When Carol is not on her trike, she continues her fitness program with yoga, weight training and aerobics. On bad weather days, she will ride indoors on her upright recumbent bike even though she prefers the great outdoors. Carol rides solo and loves that each of her rides is different. She enjoys riding through the Castle Pines community meeting new people, sighting birds and animals and hearing the sounds and smells of nature. At the end of each ride, she takes a moment to reflect and asks, what is not to love?