Still, as I count the days until I can breathe freely and stand up without feeling dizzy again, I look at my roadbike with a touch of dread. I know it will not be the same again the next time I ride it. "The bike" will feel slower. And I will feel frustrated, set back, discouraged. This makes the post-flu phase a tricky, delicate time, because it can lead to riding less, which will only make things worse.
When it comes to riding with others at times like these, I never know what to do. Almost everyone I normally ride with is a stronger cyclist than me, and even in my best shape I already feel guilty for holding them back. So after being off the bike, my instinct is to ride on my own for a bit until I get back to the state where I am worthy of these superstar riding partners. The trouble with that approach is that I don't push myself as hard when I ride alone. If I join the others right away, I may feel embarrassed and overwhelmed for the first couple of rides, but I'll get back into shape faster.
Getting back into riding for transportation is easier, and makes me appreciate just how little effort cycling can take. I simply switch into a low gear, pedal softly, coast as much as possible, and eventually I'll get there - with less effort than walking. Of course the bike is still slower than it was before I got sick. But that's how it goes. It should be back to its old speedy self in a week or two!