Ever since I was a young child, I always loved biking. In fact, it is my favorite sport. I love biking to new areas of Montreal, discovering new parks, streets, and bike paths. An exhilarating sense of adventure overwhelms me as I bike, since I never truly know what will be around the corner. I am quite a simple person. Even finding a new tree or chair excites me. I take each new experience as something valuable.

At the same time, nature itself is beautiful. As you may have guessed from my winter sports blog post, I absolutely adore the outdoors. Being with nature brings me a sense of peace, especially when I bike through the nature parks in Montreal. There are times when I am biking on my own and no one is around. Only the expansive trees, the singing birds, the tall bushes, and the warm sunlight surround me. It is wonderful to be alone in this kind of environment.

The biking itself is enjoyable as well. I love the fact that I am propelling myself forward through my own efforts. I especially like cycling very quickly, the speed is very fun indeed. I do think that biking is a good way to get exercise while exploring the city. It is definitely a great experience that I would recommend everyone to try.

For some background info on me, I personally grew up in a pretty overprotective household. My grandmother is quite scared of the outside world and never let me go out often when I was younger. Even now it is a struggle to go for a walk without an argument. It felt really restrictive, especially since I love the outdoors so much. I’ve seen the inside of my house enough; I’d rather be outside. And so, when I go biking, I gain a sense of freedom. I get control of where I am going and at what pace. Biking allows me to travel quite far away from home and discover so many new places. It feels so nice knowing that I can go anywhere.

Okay, now that I have fully explained how much I absolutely love biking to my core, I now need to explain how it was taken away from me for 3 years. As a warning, if you are a bit squeamish, I would suggest skipping the next paragraph. So, the last time I went biking was in August of 2018. At the time, I was getting a bit bored of biking honestly. I felt as though I biked through Montreal and that there were no more new areas to discover. But then, on January 2nd 2019, something happened. My back began to hurt. Then, by January 4th, I was in excruciating pain. My lower back had turned purple and started expanding in size. I had a hard time sitting or even walking. Then by the end of that day, I noticed that the bump that had developed on my back started bleeding. It was at this point that my mom and I decided to go to the hospital. At the hospital, the doctors told me that it was a quite large pilonidal sinus.

This is when an ingrown hair becomes infected and starts to produce pus, which creates a cavity underneath the skin. What the doctors had to do was cut an opening in my back and suck out all of the pus that had accumulated underneath my skin. I was thankfully asleep for this procedure. This led to a 4cm deep hole to be left in my back. And so, for the following 5 months, I had to frequent my local CLSC to change my bandages. The nurses would take a wooden stick and push a cloth (called a ‘mesh’) into the infected hole 3 times a week. It honestly felt like my flesh was being scraped. It was so excruciatingly painful, I hated it. This was the most painful experience of my life. And as if things couldn’t get worse, I would need to pull down my pants for the nurses to clean my wound, as my infection was on my lower back, which was kind of embarrassing as well. I am definitely not accustomed to being so exposed in front of strangers. After the 5 months, I needed an additional surgery to cut out an 8cm long (6cm deep) hole in my back, which was even more painful than before. This new wound took an additional 9 months to heal. Apparently, even after the wound is closed, you need to wait an additional year to do any strenuous exercise, and so now finally, spring 2021, I was finally able to go biking again. I am sorry that this fun blog post became a bit gross, but it is all part of the story. I am also telling you guys this because it is important to be aware of these kinds of medical issues, since this is a common condition in young adults and teenagers. If caught early, only antibiotics may be needed as treatment, and you will avoid all of the pain I went through!

Right, so now I would like to tell you about my first-time biking in three years. It felt amazing when my foot finally touched the pedal for the first time. I felt so powerful in a way. I pedaled as fast as I could, which to be fair, wasn’t especially fast as I am out of practice. For my first bike ride, I traveled to Parc Maisonneuve. This is actually the same park I went cross-country skiing in for my winter sports blog post. Time does fly. As you can see from the photos, the snow has completely melted to reveal the green grass that was trapped beneath it. You can also see the Olympic Stadium looming overhead. There were many people biking, running, skateboarding, scootering and picnicking at the park. Many families joined together to celebrate the return of the warm weather. The scenery was so breathtakingly beautiful, I had so much fun just looking as I rode my bike around the park. I used to be quite sad when I was younger, and so even when I was surrounded by such picturesque scenery, I wouldn’t really feel anything. I couldn’t appreciate it because I just felt so miserable. But now that I have grown into a much happier person, I was finally able to appreciate it! It was great.

I’m not sure how else I can describe my experience. It is now up to you, the readers, to experience biking through Montreal for yourself. As the weather becomes warmer, I definitely recommend you guys go biking. There are so many bike trails around Montreal, many of which can be found at: https://exo.quebec/en/trip-planner/bike/bike-paths. If you guys do decide to take my advice, I hope you have as much fun as I did!

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