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September 30, 2008



I'm very sorry you'll likely be unable to bike in future, but glad that you'll be continuing your column.

Have you asked your doctor whether you might be able to ride again using a recumbent bike with a wide seat?


Hi Kate,
When I first was diagnosed in 2002, I e-contacted a couple of recumbent makers to get their take on the matter, and none wanted to officially recommend a recumbent (liability, I'd guess).
My doc is a bit of a hard case on this. I suggested getting an Electra ("flat foot technology"!) since I would not be bent over, or pumping so hard. He asked where I would ride such a bike. To the corner store, I said. Could you walk there, he asked. Yes, I said. Then walk, he said. I am still looking around for other views on the matter...


I've been following your blog for some time now and always look forward to the new postings. I must say today's post was a surprise, really sorry to hear the news. I, like you, feel that cycling is an important part of my life and who I am. If I was in your shoes, I can't imagine feeling any different. Really glad though you came to the decision to continue with your blog. The more I become interested in cycling advocacy, especially as promoting it as an alternate form of mainstream transportation, the more I feel it needs voices like yours. Best of luck.


Thank you for sharing your story, Bill. I've seen others share similar stories about various cardio-vascular afflictions that can be masked by fitness, only to incur a tragic threshold event without warning. I've shared my story about hip replacements with many, so I know that sharing helps more people than will ever get back to you and let you know that you made a positive difference in their lives.

Bill, your decision to continue with Take-the-Lane is good news to all of us who care about cycling, and perhaps continuing will be a bit of therapy all by itself.

You might consider an e-bike. They're environmentally-friendly, low-impact transportation and not much more expensive than a decent bike. It would allow you to comment on multi-modal transportation issues from an entirely new perspective -- partly powered, yet still slow and vulnerable in traffic.

Life is filled with choices, some of them difficult to accept even as we know they're necessary. There is a multitude of ways to channel your cycling energy into outlets other than being on the bike. Take-the-Lane is one of those, and has very high value. I'm sure you'll find others, and I'm rootin' for you.


Bill, you're handling this situation with extraordinary good grace. Thanks for sharing.


Hey Bill -- Sorry to hear about your health challenges. I can identify well, suffering an near-fatal aortic tear in July 2007 at the age of 37. My dissection was in several segments and was also "twisted". Some segments had shown signs of healing and may have happened earlier. After reading this, I have to wonder if my (relatively moderate) cycling could have been a factor, along with genetics (I have Marfan's Syndrome). I have since made a nearly full recovery and cycle frequently, but with moderation. Take care.


Hi Michael,
Thanks for the kind words. I suspect there are more of us out there -- active cyclists who have aortic and iliac aneurysms and dissections, thanks to our cycling positions, but there just doesn't seem to be any person or agency willing to do the info gathering. Enjoy you riding (and your life) but keep in touch with your doctor. Best wishes.

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Bill Bean

  • North America is eventually going to figure out that, for all the right reasons, we need more bicycles on our roads. Dust off your bicycle and go cycling. And if the gas-burning dinosaurs start to crowd you, it's your road and you paid for it. Take the lane for yourself.

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