How often have you heard someone say “Oh, it’s easy…like riding a bike!”
I will never say that phrase again and I may be forced to slap someone should they be foolish enough to say that to me.
After 20 years of not riding a bike, I’m back to pedaling. My body has forgotten what it means to ride a bike…muscle memory be damned. I practice daily by hesitantly riding loops around the nearby cul-de-sac on my squeaky beach cruiser. As I struggle to get going and then get up to any sort of respectable speed, the neighbor kids sprint past me on their BMX bikes. The kids are agile and quick and compared to them I’m like a drunk person trying to complete the Tour de France. During a mountain stage. In the midst of a minor earthquake.
When I clumsily disembark from my chariot my arms and legs feel like pudding. I thought I was in at least somewhat good shape but I am definitely not. It’s been a humbling experience.
This is not an entirely voluntary adventure. We only have one car. Still. While in some places that wouldn’t be an issue, on a military base, it is an issue. It’s a considerable issue. There are some small, well-designed military bases out there, perfect for those who need to walk or bicycle to the commissary or office. I’m not sure where they are, but I’ve heard they exist. Ft. Bragg, while beautiful, is not one of those compact bases. I knew that once Little Dude turned one I would be able to go on bike rides with him and therefore expand our adventures just a bit more. We have explored every toy in our home, every inch of backyard, every kitchen cupboard. We need to get out more, so on the bike we go!
Little Dude has gone on a few of these test rides, and so far hasn’t panicked or expressed any ill will towards me or my cycling inabilities. He also hasn’t vomited from the lurching and swerving. I think this is an immense testament to his character and inner ear health.
One of our first rides out involved one of those bike trailers you see everywhere. I’ve never been fond of them but there was a stroller/trailer hybrid for sale at the store and I thought we’d try it. That first ride was also our last as my little Houdini figured out how to pull the safety harness fully out of the trailer. When I stopped to turn and check on him he popped off the Velcro hood and stood up outside the trailer. And just like that, we had a new stroller. Little Dude – 1 Trailer – 0
So now we’re using a Wee Ride which is like a traditional child’s bike seat except the child sits between you and the handle bars. You can see them, and they can hear you and see the same things you’re seeing. I like this arrangement better because there are no dismantling shenanigans that I can possibly miss.
Bicycling is getting easier every day and I’m starting to enjoy it more. My inner ten-year-old is happy and keeps reminding me that I used to be able to dismount from my bike while in motion. My outer 36-year-old keeps reminding my inner ten-year-old that not all things are still possible, but thanks for the memories.
I have high hopes for this new mode of transportation and think it’s going to work out just fine. I’m going to be the leader of the neighborhood biking pack in no time…just watch out BMX kids.