A Customer Story – Fran Gardner – 2023

Fran – at the finish with her Raleigh Motus eBike

I fell in love with e-biking from my first ride five years ago – so much so it has changed my whole attitude to my fitness & physical/mental well being – very important for a 71 year old! 

Gradually as my cycling confidence increased so did the range & distance of my rides – 50 mile rides over the Cotswold Hills became the norm. Hence my fitness, muscle strength, flexibility, energy levels, weight management all improved dramatically. 

In June 2022 I became unwell due to work related stress & after tests & discussions with doctors, I was diagnosed with a severe heart valve problem which required major surgery. 

I was completely stunned by this diagnosis – I had a perception of myself as a fit, healthy woman in her 70’s, getting plenty of exercise & eating a healthy diet. The thought of open heart surgery with all the associated risks & lengthy recovery period was immensely daunting for me – I was in slight shock & finding it difficult to process what was happening to me. 

Having met the cardiac surgeon to discuss details of the surgery, I researched pre-operation fitness and nutrition. It was obvious that e-biking would be enormously beneficial, helping my body to cope with the shock of the operation & speeding up my body’s ability to recover. I also increased my intake of fruit, vegetables, pulses, nuts & seeds to improve my gut biome, which I hoped would reduce inflammation post-operation. 

Two days before the operation the surgeon told me he was confident that the operation could be performed by “keyhole” or minimally invasive techniques. I was delighted with this news but completely underestimated the seriousness of heart surgery. I thought I would be home after 3-4 days! 

The operation took 9 hours & I was in the Cardiac Critical Care Unit for 4 days before being well enough to be moved to the Cardiac ward. I was discharged home after a week in the Heart Centre & then started the slow, sometimes painful, climb back to normality & fitness. 

However within 5 weeks of surgery I was walking up to 4 miles a day – but getting very restless, particularly as the spring weather improved! I asked my surgeon if he would allow me to resume some gentle cycling – making full use of the PowerAssist on my e-bike. He agreed & so it was with some nervousness off I went, pedaling gently up the hill & out of the village….freedom! 

On my rides I monitored distance, my heart rate & was very mindful of any signs of fatigue, pain, or discomfort. It was essential to strike a balance between pushing myself & avoiding overexertion. 

My goal was to be fit enough to compete in the Broughton Castle Sportive Cycling event on 9th July – 14 weeks after surgery. By mid-June I felt fit & well so registered for the 50 mile ride at the

event. I gradually increased the intensity & duration of my rides & incorporated tougher hill climbs to prepare for the event. 

I completed the 50 mile event ride in 4 hours 29 minutes (a respectable time for me), on my Raleigh Grand Motus – supplied by the incredibly supportive Electric Bike Sales Oxford team . 

If you are preparing for surgery or are post-surgery & think e-biking would help you, it’s essential to discuss your plans with your doctor to ensure you get advice based on your individual circumstances. 

There’s no doubt the health benefits of e-bike cycling are huge, particularly as you get older, offering low-impact aerobic exercise & mental well-being. And e-bike cycling can be a fun, sustainable alternative to traditional workouts, making it easier to maintain an active lifestyle. 

Have a question? Contact me via ElectricBikeSales.co.uk – https://www.electricbikesales.co.uk/pages/contact/

If your health or recovery could benefit from exercise where you’re in control of your exertion and you get to enjoy all the feel good factors of life outdoors an electric bike could be the best thing ever. If you’d like some advice we are here to help – just ask.

Fran completed her cycle on the Raleigh Motus electric bike.