Life Is Like A Bicycle

That great US Statesman Claude Pepper once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. You don’t fall off unless you plan to stop pedaling.”

Well, I don’t plan to stop pedaling any time soon and last week something rather exciting happened to me.  As a mature woman I took possession of a new bike…possibly only the 4th bike I’ve ever owned!  Cycling at my age is still an option, only riding my new bike is somewhat different from previous “wheels” because it is motorized!

Styles of bicycles change over the years, but cycling is timeless and my super new white bike (with green trimmings of course) is what the cycling trade call an eBike by GTech [I bought it online as I do or most things nowadays]! It looks like rides like a conventional mountain bike, but has an added boost of electric power which gives me an extra push.  This “push” reminds me of when as a little girl my Dad would give my back that little extra “power push” as I wobbled off on my first 2 wheeler bike.

My new bike is just so thrilling to ride pedaling like on a conventional bike but making the ride easier by giving that extra boost of power when needed, such as up and down hilly slopes.  It’s suitable for young and old alike with its electric power helping one travel for longer and making the journey enjoyable.

At first I was concerned that my new form of transport would not do the job of helping me to keep fit.  However, it is such a pleasurable experience that I get on my Ebike two to three times more often, riding out in the fresh air fearlessly covering longer distances than I did on my conventional mountain bike. I can go fast if required thanks to its small light motor. This doesn’t make the bike at all heavy and its light enough for me to carry up my front steps. The electric motor’s detachable battery comes inside with me, to re-charge in the kitchen alongside my mobile phone. How 21st century am I?

As I’ve proudly pedaled along on my new GTech eBike I’ve met several people for whom manual cycling had become too painful because of arthritis, back, knee problems and hip replacements. In their 60’s and 70’s they have all splashed out on eBikes. They love the freedom of cycling, feel fit and tell me their electric bikes are the best thing ever because they can now cycle further without pain.

It goes without saying that we were all wearing safety helmets and reflective jackets. You don’t get older without getting wiser!

Q1 – Skin tags

Please can you advise me what to do with a couple of small flesh coloured growths that are hanging off my skin? One is on my neck and the other in my armpit. They don’t hurt but I really dislike them and they don’t look very nice! Jennifer Armitage…Salisbury

A1 – Skin tags

Well Jennifer, I do understand your concerns. But, skin tags (acrochordons) are small harmless growths that look similar to warts; they are very common, knobbly and hang off the skin, whereas warts are usually flat. They’re particularly common in older people and people with diabetes.  Pregnant women may develop skin tags, caused by changes in their hormone levels.

Mostly flesh coloured or brown they vary in size from a few millimeters up to 5cm wide and are often found on the neck, armpits, under the breasts or around the groin, under the folds of the buttocks or on eyelids.

Overweight people with excess folds of skin and skin chafing, may develop tags where skin rubs against skin – or clothing. Skin tags are harmless and don’t usually cause pain or discomfort.  If skin tags are small with a narrow base it’s possible to remove them yourself, by tying off the base of the tag with dental floss or cotton thread. This cuts off its blood supply and makes it drop off.  Or you could cut it off with fine sterile scissors.

Some skin tags die from a lack of blood supply and just fall off if the tissue has twisted. Don’t attempt to remove large skin tags yourself, they will bleed heavily.  They can easily be burnt or frozen off so talk to your GP for advice. However, removing skin tags is regarded as cosmetic surgery and rarely available through the NHS. The NHS will only carry out cosmetic surgery procedures if the problem is affecting your physical or mental health.

If the unsightly tags are upsetting you, or snag on clothing, Jewellery and bleed, you may still want them removed. You usually need to pay for this procedure so consider making an appointment with a privately practicing GP. Sometimes they can be surgically removed using a local anesthetic.

Q2 – Comfortable house shoes

Dear Diana, I work from home and spend a good part of my weekdays around the house. I’m also a fidget so leave my desk 100 times a day to do little jobs around the house, up and down stairs, etc.   I tend to wear slippers for comfort but I’m realising this is not good for my feet. My home is cool, even in summer, so I’m looking for a recommendation for a ‘house shoe’.  Here is my wish list. Kind regards, Anna Everitt …. Bristol

Essential;

  • Comfortable – for all day wear
  • Supportive – for all day wear
  • Suitable to wear socks with

Nice to have;

  • Modern style (neutral and inconspicuous)
  • Light outdoor use for taking bins out
  • Washable

A2 – Comfortable house shoes

Phew!  Anne this is a bit of a tall order but I have a few suggestions.  Like you I work from home spending my time at the PC and taking regular breaks to do a few chores around the house and garden.  Consequently, my requirements are somewhat similar to yours so I look for shoes made of natural, supple, durable leather with a fabric lining.  Leather allows the foot to breathe and can provide long term comfort and gentle support.  Shoes need to have a generous space in which to be able to spread your toes naturally, with soles that are shock absorbing, non-slip and provide underfoot cushioning.  Probably like you I don high heels and dress up for special occasions or conversely fall into the habit of slopping around the house in non-supporting “ballet type” light, flat shoes.

Neither shoe is good for feet if worn over long periods and both can cause back pain, so look instead for comfortable shoes with posture correct heel height to encourage a good walking position.  Feet vary in both length and width, but happily many of the great shoes around this season have adjustable Velcro fastenings or laces to ensure a great fit.  These comfort shoes are no longer just practical and fuddy duddy, but come in exciting colours and designs to suit most tastes and can look great with both trousers and skirts. The best selection of shoes and sandals I have discovered recently are by Padders, Hotters and Clarks.  Happy ambling!