This topic is the entire reason I joined, and this is my first post. I’ve had FM for 9
years. I’m a guy, something I understand to be rare with FM, and the pain is
indeed very fierce. 6 years ago I was in a power chair just so I could get around
more. I have since made some serious changes to my diet and lifestyle, kicked the opiates on my own (not advised-detoxing should be supervised), and
recently got into biking last year after moving back to CA from Phx to escape
I can now ride 5-20 miles of off road trails at a time. Granted,
I cannot ride at this moment due to a horrible flare up that is now 5 days deep.
I do think it’s the heat. If it’s hot outside I tend to hurt, even if I’m in
Anyway, I have found a couple of things that work extremely
well for me. Not that what works for me will work for you, but here are my thoughts:
Expensive bikes are worth it. Walmart bikes will collect
dust whereas a well-made, well-fit bike will get used. It sucks, but it’s the
truth. Ride as many as you can before you buy one. Demo bikes when you can
(they let you take the bikes out and really use them, either for free or a
Good bike shorts are really worth it, it’s all in the
Ergon grips are very good for my hands.
29ers are the only way to go. They soak up bumps really,
I ride singletrack, which are narrow paths through the
woods. There is climbing, descending, and going over obstacles. I get muddy, and
sometimes I fall, but oh my God, do I feel alive again! Road bikes are out for
me because there is no suspension and I can’t handle car exhaust.
I ride a full suspension 29er that is air sprung with Fox
shocks (high end). It is light and efficient. I feel like I’m floating over the
terrain. It’s actually a race bike, but it works so well for my needs, and at $2300
(yikes!) it was the cheapest bike that had what I needed to be comfortable.
Having the bike fit properly is super-duper important. The
wrong fit can cause pain and quickly end your interest in riding. Moving my
seat forward 1.5 cm was the difference between riding 15 miles or getting a
nasty leg cramp in just 3 miles. If they can’t fit your bike with a plumb bob
on your knee, find a new bike shop.
What I have found is that if I ride a good trail 1-2 times a
week, my flare ups are fewer. It’s no cure, but it is a fun activity that
inspires confidence, distracts you from your illness, provides serious exercise
that is (hopefully) low impact, and in my case has been an extremely rewarding
I found that since I am used to pain, the pain from riding seems less
significant. I had a bad fall that left my entire right arm and leg really
scraped up, but compared to my FM pain it was nothing, so I kept riding to
the astonishment of the other riders. Pushing through cycling pain is a
cakewalk compared to pushing through FM pain.
I have to be more careful than other riders, there are days
when I can’t ride, and days when I have to take many breaks, but overall I am so glad I got into it. The way I ride, you
can’t help but be in the moment, dipping and dodging, rolling down hills,
taking corners and (small) jumps. When I’m done it’s a positive hurt, and an amount
of relaxation that is extremely hard to attain with this illness. I’m still in
disbelief that I can even ride, so I ride every chance I get.
The most prohibitive part for me was the expense. The bike
was very spendy, parts and service, helmet, gloves, nutrition, proper bike shorts,
hydration, etc takes a big chunk of change. That said, for me it was well worth
Not sure if anyone else takes it to the level I do, and it
is pretty hard to explain how I can actually ride with this condition, but I would
feel like a jerk if I didn’t share it with other FM patients. If someone with
FM gets relief and a little fun from riding like this, I would be ecstatic.
Given the pain we suffer from, what I do is so incredibly counterintuitive, but
wow, I am so grateful I can do it. That it actually helps is just awesome.
Be careful and listen to your body when riding, but most of
all try to have fun. It’s all too easy to forget what fun is when you have FM.