Robot’s Useless Reviews – RUIs

RUI stands for repetitive use injury. It’s the injury that happens while you’re just doing what you always do. No need to go over the bars. No need to tag a tree with your handlebars. No need to overlap wheels. It’s a JRA injury, and it’s the province of anyone who does one thing too much.

RUI is also, in some way, a close cousin of ROI, return on investment, as both are the net outcome after all debits and expenditures have been tallied.

What are some examples of RUIs? Well, just from my own personal experience: IT Band Friction Syndrome, which I copped after too many seasons of pushing too big a gear on an ill-fitting bike; Handlebar Hand, which is a numbness in pinky and ring finger from the slightly awkward cant of a wrist on a handlebar; QL (quadratus lumborum) strain from a poorly levelled saddle and trying to make too much power from the lower back.

That’s a short list. Friends of mine have developed RUIs in feet, ankles, knees, glutes, backs, hands, elbows, shoulders, and necks.

I suppose, too, all of this is to be contrasted with UIs, or use injuries, like the time I broke my collarbone using the ground as a brake.

Most of my RUIs let me know they’re coming, with a developing ache, or an unexpected jolt. I invented a term, actually, for the point at which those aches or stabs of pain become actual injuries, the “dissociative threshold.” The idea is that, in pursuit of cycling glory and/or the daily dose of wellness I receive from riding my bicycle, I will ignore whatever emerging discomforts I encounter. “That’ll clear up on its own,” I might incorrectly surmise.

Then at some point that pain reaches my dissociative threshold, and I am no longer able to pedal along in blithe denial. Now I’ve got an RUI which will require liver-bursting quantities of ibuprofen, regular sessions with my close, personal friend the ice pack, and quite possibly a course of physical therapy, which normally is as boring as it is effective.

Currently, I’m battling a recurrence of Achilles tendonitis I copped during a brief foray into ultra-marathon running. STAY IN YOUR LANE, ROBOT!!!

So, what are RUIs good for? Well, first they’re a good reminder that you’ve plowed a LOT of time into riding bikes, maybe, possibly, too much time. Second, you’re getting older. You knew this, but see above re: blithe denial. Third, they let you know that you might finally need to heed the conventional wisdom that suggests some weight training, some mobility work, and a good bike fit are prudent, if tiresomely good, ideas.

Join the conversation
  1. khal spencer says

    Oh, the joy. My personal RUI is patellar tendonitis. Have been blessed with that since the days in the early nineties when I fancied myself a bike racer and was pounding myself silly on some criterium practice courses. Got to the point where I could barely walk.

Leave A Reply

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More