Pat Bushman is 50 pounds lighter and still losing weight!
We often believe things didn’t exist until we discovered them. This was the case with my introduction to the Trikke, but since discovering this quirky machine, I’ve become a devoted disciple, preaching the benefits and fun to everyone I know. It’s good that riding a Trikke is a little quirky because I’m something of a quirky person. I couldn’t help turning out a bit offbeat, since I grew up in a neighborhood where I was the only girl of my age for miles around. (To be completely honest, there was that one little girl who wanted to do silly things like playing with dolls and playing dress up with her mother’s things. I was much too energetic for such docile play.)
You see, I grew up with three older and one much younger sister and five brothers. I liked the things the boys did much more than the boring things my sisters did, so it became a matter of survival to learn to do everything the guys could do. The only catch was that I had to do everything better than them, or they wouldn’t let me participate. So I became one of the best in the neighborhood at sports, playing baseball, football, basketball and even becoming the best at catching fish. Squeamishness at putting worms on the hook just wasn’t an option.
“I would never have believed that in my sixth decade, I would be able to adopt this new hobby and actually begin mastering it.”
My dad was a building contractor and I learned everything the boys did about building a house, from pouring cement to fastening roofing materials and electrical work and plumbing. I did later learn to embrace the girlie things in life, like getting dressed up for a night of dancing, but it’s still handy to be able to fix whatever is broken in my home.
My childhood upbringing has served me well and, of course, made me a consummate overachiever. Two college degrees. Four professional licenses. The corporate financial management position I currently hold. By age 18, I was enlisted in the Army where I worked in Washington, D.C. (of course, I did. My brothers were already serving), and spent much of my time in and out of the Pentagon, having acquired a high level security clearance. I quickly moved up in rank and was promoted to Sergeant in less than two years, which was virtually undoable for a female at the time.
At the same time I played third base with my Army softball team, helping to lead the team to three consecutive championships with my hitting and fielding. I was young, energetic, a virtual whirlwind of activity and having more fun than I could ever have imagined. I made regular weekend trips with my friends to New York and Boston, sailed on the Potomac, and explored Washington’s sights from end to end. I often participated in a game we called “to the top”, which consisted of running up and down the 897 steps of the Washington Monument as many times as we could without stopping.
Later on, I discovered running as a healthy exercise and it became a daily passion. I had never in my life had to think about my weight, there was just no way an ounce of fat could survive on my always active one hundred pound body. I was strong, tough and self assured. Some might call it egotistical, but I had learned early on that you had to be equal to any task if you wanted to succeed and I preferred to think it was my rightful due for all the hard work it had taken to get there.
“…there is no Trikke-carving point too fine for me to want to dissect, discuss and explore.”
While still in the Army, I met the man who would become my husband for the next twenty one years. We were married with full military bearings in the Fort Myers base chapel. I was a happy, healthy, athletic, energetic and successful person and all remained centered in my world until my mid-forties, by which time my husband and I had drifted apart and my reliable body began to fail me. Seemingly overnight my knees began to demand attention and I tried to ignore the pain that regularly followed any form of physical activity, especially running. As my knees gradually deteriorated, I wrapped and iced, sought out solutions from my doctors, hired a personal trainer to help me learn how to stay active despite the pain, and refused to accept that my athletic days were over. We all know how well that works out.
By age 50, I was divorced and my children were grown up and out of the house; I’d dealt with thyroid cancer and fusion of vertebrae in my neck, acquired ulcerative colitis, endured the death of my closest friend and ally, and my knees were completely shot. Giving up was no more an option for me then than it had ever been and in my own time and way, I set out to reinvent myself in my new solo role.
I took up ballroom and country western dancing, learned to play the violin, bought a second motorcycle because of my love of speed and began to enjoy my new somewhat physically limited persona. I had no choice but to reduce my daily workouts by half and over the next decade, I was scarcely able to run at all and able only to exercise by walking on my treadmill, work with weights and play softball at the cost of the next day’s pain. My weight continued to accelerate with each reduction in activity until the miracle of the Trikke.
If you believe as I do that everything that happens and everyone you meet always comes about exactly when and exactly how and why it should, then you’ll understand from my story so far the when, why and how of my being introduced to the Trikke. In July 2012, one of my employees showed me a picture of a Trikke she had just purchased. It was literally love at first sight for me. I had to have one and immediately wanted to know if my knees would allow me to ride this strange contraption. I didn’t want to invest more than $500 to find out, so I ordered a knockoff for a couple hundred dollars and waited excitedly until it arrived. I began to try to ride the thing, flipped it once and bruised my entire body, and realized pretty quickly that I needed some instruction.
That same employee had met Trikke Trainer Debbie Bumgardner and gave me her contact information. I had my first lesson with Debbie toward the end of July and within two months, I owned three Trikkes and had relegated the knockoff to the junk heap. Under Debbie’s expert tutelage, I’ve made steady progress and enjoy riding so much that I’m out there almost every night. I think Debbie would attest that there is no Trikke-carving point too fine for me to want to dissect, discuss and explore.
I became inspired to revamp my diet and between the dieting and Trikke riding, I’ve now dropped just over fifty pounds and I’m still losing. I feel great and it’s nice to get to buy new clothes every month or so because the old ones have become way too big. A secondary benefit: my knees are actually feeling pretty good, better than they have for a very long time. A special bonus: I’m playing softball better than I have for a lot of years.
I would never have believed that in my sixth decade, I would be able to adopt this new hobby and actually begin mastering it. In my characteristic way, I am determined to become the best, which is a challenge with all the really great riders in Southern California. I’m not twelve anymore and it’s been a long time since I needed to challenge my brothers, so I guess I’ll be happy to become the best 65-year-old Trikke rider on the trails and the very best rider I can be.
If there is a message in my story, I would tell people to never give up on yourself or the Trikke. You can do more than you think, no matter what your age or physical condition. Get some help from a trainer if you’re struggling with your three-wheeler. It’ll be well worth the minimal cost. You can achieve more than you realize and have so much fun doing it. If it helps, just pretend you’re competing against my five brothers.