Thursday, January 9, 2014

Just like riding a bike...or not

It was my sophomore year of college.  Like many other college students, I did not own a car.  Walking everywhere is okay, but it robs you of plenty of valuable time during the day--and dammit I needed that time!  There was only one solution left for this car-less and poor college girl; she needed a bike.

Being supportive of this idea, my mom took me shopping for a bike.

On the way there, I grew nervous of the thought of trying to ride a bike after not riding one in years.  I thought to myself, I am pretty sure I have no idea how to ride a bike anymore.  How do you keep the thing balanced?  Oh God.  Maybe we should just turn the car around.

Something had to be said to my mom.  I tried just passively hinting at my concerned feelings.  I said things like, "I haven't been on a bike in like ten years...that's a long time."  My mom smiled and nodded.  She clearly wasn't understanding where I was going with this.  I knew I had to cut right to the chase so I said, "Mom what if I don't know how to ride a bike anymore?"  She laughed.  Then I laughed.  We laughed because it was so ridiculous--a 20 year-old that didn't know how to ride a bike.

When we walked into the shop, I got even more nervous.  My mom spoke for me.  "My daughter is looking for a bike to ride around campus."

The man gestured to the rows of bikes.  I began to browse until I found it.  IT was a fuchsia Raleigh cruiser.
My mom suggested to the salesman that I take the bike for a spin.  Immediately following her request, my mom and I burst into uncontrollable giggles as we recalled our conversation we had about me forgetting how to ride a bike.

The salesman gave us a perplexed look before responding, probably because he was wondering why we found any humor in this.  Nevertheless, he showed us the way out the back door which lead to an open parking lot.

There I was out in this vacant parking lot with my mom and the sporting goods salesman.  This was it.  I had to get on the bike.  I had to ride it around this parking lot.  I stood over the bike, assumed the bike-riding position, and took off.  Well, kind of.  It was a wobbly ride from the start.  Get your shit together, I thought to myself.  I stared down at my feet and at the handle bars for a brief moment just to confirm they were doing their thing.  In the midst of me teetering from left to right and glancing down at my limbs, I teetered that bike right into a pole.

From that day forward, I learned to disagree with the phrase "Just like riding a bike."  My interpretation of that phrase is something like this:

At first, it will be very awkward and you will make an ass out of yourself, and you will possibly have some collisions along the way.  Do not give up.  Persevere.  You will make less of an ass of yourself over time.

And I did.  I figured out how to somewhat gracefully ride a bike again.  That is, until I was struck by a vehicle later that year, but that's a different story.

P.S.  Here is a video of Pheobe from friends trying to ride a bike.  This episode speaks to me on a personal level.


  1. OMG I don't mean to laugh at your embarrassment, but this post was hilarious. I too haven't gone for a bike ride in a long time! (Those stationary bikes at the gym don't really count haha). Way to face your fears though and getting that bike! :)

    1. Em, please feel free to laugh at my embarrassment. I laugh at my awkward, clumsy, ridiculous moments on a consistent basis. If I didn't, I'd be one miserable human being, because I have episodes like this bike incident quite frequently. It might not be bikes all the time; sometimes it's just walking on ice and falling flat on my ass in the grocery store parking lot.

    2. Needless to say, there most certainly will be similar posts from me in the future :)


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