You’ve heard the expression “it’s just like riding a bike.” This is intended to be a statement implying that once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget how to do it. The skill required to ride a two-wheeled bicycle becomes ingrained in your psyche.
Think of all the things we say are “just like a riding a bike.” Hmm, let’s see, there is driving a car, whistling, swimming, mixing a martini, birthing babies, making babies, I mean, making babies laugh, (that’s totally what I meant). There are some things in this life that you simply never forget how to do once you are taught.
I am the exception to this rule. Riding a bicycle fifteen years after you last owned one, after you’ve had children and entered your holy-crap-I’m-forty decade there is nothing whatsoever familiar about riding a bike. Nothing.
And yet, I wanted to try. I wanted to feel the wind through my stealth arrow-dynamic helmet. I wanted to feel my thighs tense up with muscular strength and my heart pound with the exhilaration of life downhill with no breaks. I wanted to race my children and show them that their Mom is not just another pretty face (or nasty morning person, as it were). I visualized my victory over their primary school arrogance, as I out-peddled them on the beautiful natural trails that stretch across our county.
Actually, first I just wanted get on and not tip over.
The Carpenter, who has a supportive yet patronizing sense of humour, decided to indulge my free wheeling fantasy. For Mother’s Day, he bought me a women’s bicycle. It was a thing of beauty; a shiny blue metallic frame, chrome handle-bars and rugged trail-ready tires. Built for speed.
File this under “it seemed like a good idea at the time.” With the children cheering encouraging words and the Carpenter’s bemused expression challenging me, I decided to hop on. Perhaps hop is not the right word. If only the right leg would bravely straddle the iron bar, then surely, I reasoned, my backside would reach the seat.
You call that a seat? I call it a triangular torture device that might as well have been made with concrete, because I was certain my bottom was going to have the same issues it would have if I sat on wet concrete in January. Ouch. My boney bottom could not find comfort, and my gluteus maximus went from being a reasonable human facsimile to marshmellows of doom.
The Carpenter handed me a matching blue helmet, a gift given with the prediction that I would surely need it. An insure policy for my noggin.
I could do this, I told myself. I could ride a bike again. How hard could this be? I’m still in good shape. I can totally do this. Absolutely. I would be riding the trails in no time. Easy.
Wobble. Wobble. Woops. Wobble. Oh no. I’m on. It’s good. Wobble. What does this button-thingy do? Uh-oh, that’s a hard gear. I just made a hard gear. How do I change gears? What’s this one do? Wait, now it’s like a hamster wheel. This I can do. Peddling like nothing. Geez. I’m not getting very far. This can’t be good. Stop sign. Brakes? Brakes? Um, right is front. No, no, that’s not right. Left is front. Wobble. Jiggle. Squeeze. Fred Flinstone stop. Skid. Clentch. Whoa, stop already.
Yep. It’s just like riding a bike. Hmph.
Writing has been my passion since I learned how to hold a pencil (which I still cannot do properly). Despite my father’s insistence that I would starve to death in this career, I remain well fed and eager to write more. They say you should do what you love: I love to write.