It's just like riding a bike, easily forgotten and painful

It’s Just Like Riding a Bike, Easily Forgotten and Painful

Both of my kids are learning to ride bikes right now. Jack is on a balance bike and Norah is rocking a tricycle. I’m all for getting them onto their various modes of fresh air transportation and seeing them embrace their independence. There is a certain freedom about coasting on your own wheels and propelling your body forward into the great blue yonder.

But at the same time the very idea of getting on a bike makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little.

Mommy Needs More Wheels

Jack was in the basement and saw Glen’s bike up on the rack. He thought that was super cool and asked if Daddy could go on a bike ride with him. Aw, melt my all-American apple pie heart. Sure pal! But then he asked me where my bike was and it took all my strength not to say “in the seventh circle of Hell where it belongs” and instead say, “oh, I don’t have one.”

I learned how to ride a bike growing up. And I’m pretty sure I won a bike decorating parade contest once. Or my parents gave me a participation ribbon. Either way. I could ride a bike.

Fast forward a few years and suddenly roller blades were all the craze so my transportation method changed to something more totally rad. And then I started caring more about how wicked cool I did or did not look and didn’t want to wear a helmet, and I wasn’t allowed on the blades or the bike without it. #GoodParenting

Through my teens I was playing sports (high school) and eating buffalo chicken wraps (college) so bike riding just wasn’t a top priority for me. That was fine though. I mean, “it’s just like riding a bike.” If I wanted to get back on the bike, I could do it.

Except I totally couldn’t get back on the bike.

If You Like Pina Coladas, and Protecting Your Brain

My family went on a vacation to Cancun during my freshman year of college because WOOOO Family Spring Break!!! Instead of sitting on the beach for 7 days we decided to take a couple little excursions, which was the first mistake. Please just sit on a beach in Cancun.

One of the excursions was a bike ride to a zoo. We rented four bikes and felt really proud of ourselves for taking a break from pool side Pina Coladas. Merm, Pop, and Tom all hopped onto their bikes and kicked the cobwebs off their bike riding skills in about 4 seconds because “it’s just like riding a bike.”

But then I tried to get on the bike. And immediately fell over. Then tried to get back on the bike again thinking maybe I was just a little Pina Colada residual buzzed. And then I fell over again, and realized it was 3pm, I hadn’t had a fruity beverage in 24 hours and “it’s just like riding a bike” is patently incorrect. You can definitely forget how to ride a bike.

Shouldn’t these wheels be thicker? Is my body just disproportional? How does physics work? Why are we doing this??

Beam Me Back, Scotty

348 hours later I was still there trying to get on the damn bike. At this point my ancestors came down from the heavens and picked up my broken body and Angels In The Outfielded me down the road. There is no other explanation for how I got to the zoo on that bike.

To add insult to injury, when we got to the zoo, it wasn’t so much a zoo as it was a mosquito orgy. I remember seeing 2 monkeys and every mosquito in North and South America. I emerged as one giant mosquito bite and lost two pints of blood. At which point I had to GET BACK ON THE BIKE and somehow make a return trip back the resort. I fell at least 12 more times and then drank all the liquor in Mexico so the rest of the details are fuzzy.

Key Takeaways

The point of this story – if God wanted us all to ride bikes then he wouldn’t have invented Pina Coladas, cars, or sitting.

Also, Glen asked if I wanted a bike for my birthday and I don’t think my look of horror persuaded him enough not to do that. So, no, this post isn’t going to magically transition into something meaningful about learning lessons or revisiting your youthful spryness. It has a pretty singular, very literal purpose.

It's like riding a bike; painful and easily forgotten

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  1. Haha. That’s how I am when I try to ride a bike now. Maybe bike riding can be a special thing for them to do with daddy ? Like camping in my house. Lol

  2. Some people are just made for recumbent bikes. Hard to get hurt on that, drinks or no drinks (but preferably drinks).

    I need to check out those balance bikes and see if I can find one low enough for Norah. That child’s legs are so short that she *still* can’t fully do the pedals on her tricycle, and she’ll be four at the end of June.

  3. Oh my God! I totally had the same experience (kind of). Got on a bike some fifteen years later and it was terrifyingly high, fast, and uncontrollable. Honestly I wouldn’t have ever gotten on one if not for the cute guy who asked me to.

  4. Replace bike with skateboard and then talk to me 😛. Pretty sure hubs and kiddo are trying to off me with this one. He just keeps saying “But I put pink wheels on it for you!” And all I think is “You’re gonna die but look at your cute pink wheels!”

  5. I am pretty sure I can ride now, but I was the dorky kid who just couldn’t learn how to ride a bike. I think I was like 13. My parents bought me one for my birthday even though NO ONE ASKED THEM TO and my step-brother mocked me into learning to ride. I did not enjoy it at all and I have never had to rush anyone to the hospital on a bike. I now live in a very bike-obsessed city and I’m wondering if I owe it to the toddler monster to get her in bike mode early. Also, what are these balance bikes about? They didn’t exist a million years ago when my two oldest were kids.

    1. Haha! Colorado does love their bikes. It’s intense out there. Balance bikes are like regular bikes without pedals so kids learn how to balance their bodies instead of relying on the training wheels. My nephew had one and then learned how to ride a bike without training wheels really easily. Jack LOVES his. It’s so funny to watch him stride to get it going and then coast like a pro. For as much as bikes give me personal anxiety, I do really like the balance bike.

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