I knew the features I needed in order for my bicycle to work for me. I cycled through my spiel at each bicycle shop I visited. I went something like this: I have rheumatoid arthritis and I’m looking for adjustable handlebars. I want to be able to raise them up in order to lessen the weight on my wrists. My knees hurt if they bend too much, so I want to position the seat so that I’m comfortable and safe.
It was an exercise in frustration, as the salespeople either didn’t listen closely or kept trying to push me towards bicycles that they thought I needed.
I eventually found a bicycle that worked for me, but it took some doing. No, it wasn’t the perfect fit like you see in this Global B.C. news segment, but it was optimal for me and my condition. So much so, that I was able to enjoy a variety of rides over dykes, trails and on the street.
Having rheumatoid arthritis does not mean an end to everything. I was diagnosed when I was nineteen. For at least twenty-five years after that diagnosis, when I wasn’t flaring, I cycled, windsurfed, played racquetball, swam and cross-country and down-hill skiied. A flare-up does not last forever. With good treatment and fantastic self-management skills (which I’m still practising), you can still do some of the things you love. Modified.