Too Sick To Bike?

For the past week I’ve been battling (yet again) my sinuses. And because of it I’ve been off my bike (and even sequestered away at home a few days too).

It’s a weird feeling to not be biking, but I honestly haven’t had it in me.

The thought of breathing in the cold damp air has me running for shelter. My sinus passages are just that sensitive at the moment. And my teeth/gums feel sensitive too. Not a good combo to be breathing in the great outdoor midwest winter air. All of specialists who tend to my healthcare (general practitioner, dentist, eye doctor) all know about my bike commuting lifestyle and never have discouraged my riding. In fact, they do what they can so that I can keep riding.

In the past I’ve biked through sickness (having no limits to my biking parameters) but this time I’m listening to my body – which is screaming “mercy” – and resting… Resting from being always on the go, resting from being out on the bike. Surprisingly, I think I’ve been too sick to miss it much, but now that I’m going back to work for a full day, I think I will.

What has sidelined you from your bike and how have you dealt with the time away from your bike?


  1. Jed

    Sinuses don’t keep me off my bike. When my sinuses get pretty bad, I try and fit in multiple sinus flushes a day, and use some Simply Saline at work to help keep the pressure down. When I have a cold and it affects my balance (like when woozy or weak) is when I curl up with cats and the laptop on the couch and work from home under a blanket.

  2. Elizabeth (Post author)

    @Jed – sinuses usually don’t sideline me either. +1 on the saline spray to keep the pressure at bay. This time seems to be more than a mere sinus issue, though. It was enough to send me curling up with my cats. 🙂 I think that’s the best medicine.

  3. Eric

    I broke my knee and avulsed my ACL in a crash back in January. I had surgery for both in early February. I still can’t walk w/o crutches and have been pretty much couch-ridden since the accident. I’m going nuts not being able to ride and am getting worried that I might never ride again.

  4. Elizabeth (Post author)

    @Eric- hope you have a speedy recovery. I’m sure you’ll be back riding this spring. A knee injury is what initially turned me to my bike and I haven’t looked back.

  5. karen

    Absolutely, it is illness because, although I don’t get sick that often when I do I’m a big cry baby. The other thing is snow! The bike lanes get used for plowed snow and the bike trails are low plowing priority. Unfortunately, too many tourists come here who are not experienced at driving in the snow and I just feel too vulnerable.

  6. a

    I have one simple rule: If I’m too sick to ride, I’m too sick to work.

  7. Elizabeth

    @ a – that was my rule up until just recently …. when work obligations have prompted me to seek alternate (non-bike) ways of getting where I need to be. Plus… if I stayed home the entire length of this sickness, I would have been home over a week! Then again, maybe staying put would have healed me faster? Oh — who knows?

  8. Jed

    @Eric – best wishes on your recovery. I met a teacher who had a back/leg injury and invested in a recumbent trike to help his recovery.

  9. Iron_Man

    I think that bike commuting helps me keep the seasonal bugs out of the office. If I’m too sick to bike then I take a sick day. I imagine quite a few office germs get passed around because it’s easier to be too sick to bike than it is too sick to drive. I know a few coworkers that are guilt ridden about taking a sick day that they drive in only to turn around before noon and head home. It’s as if they are saying “I didn’t want to keep this sick thing all to myself, so I made a special trip into the office just to pass it around.”

    That said I bike a bit sicker than some of my coworkers drive as they love to play the sick card.

  10. Sean

    If the illness is below my neck and/or a fever – I don’t ride.

    If it’s a head cold and I don’t have a fever – I ride.

    If my body is exhausted – sometimes even when I’m not sick – I take it slower or sometimes do a multi-modal commute instead of a full commute.

    Feel Better!

  11. Thomas Kohn

    Hey, one thing I didn’t mention in my comment on your more recent post that asks about Dayton: the Miami Valley is also a source of sinus problems. It’s far better here to treat yourself defensively to avoid sinusitis. (Though I have a set of smashed sinuses from a bike accident, you should note.) I take a daily Claritin, a daily double-puff of Nasacort, and an as-stuffiness ensues enema through the nostrils with my Netti Pot.

  12. Bob P.

    I have been missing my ride because of sinus issues also. I use a saline rinse, but this time it barely dented the pressure.

  13. Elizabeth

    I found Zyrtec-D to be helpful for a while. This latest sinus aggravation, however, is worse than ever. It extends into my gums and my teeth literally hurt – like they could fall out. Dentist says I’m ok, though. So— sinuses to blame? Allergies? My last allergy tests (2 years ago) came out clear, as in no allergies. Humbug. I don’t know.

  14. BluesCat

    The only reason I stay off the bike when I have a head cold (as I have had for the last week) is a tendency in the past for it to progress to a full-blown bout with the flu; and one time it led to walking pneumonia.

    Not fun and something I will be a wimp about and stay off the bike and rest.

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