It’s Like Riding Bicycle My Foot!

I can’t think of another ‘old saying’ that is more wrong than this one. If you learn something, no matter how much time has passed, you never forget…because it’s just like riding a bike. Yeah.


When I was a teenager, I rode my bike everywhere. I’m talking year-round, if too much snow and/or ice didn’t keep me from it. There’s no way to even guess how many miles my trusty two-wheeled transportation and I covered, but it was hundreds.

Then life happened. Kids, jobs…and a multitude of other excuses, so fast forward about twenty years.

The kids were at a 3-day Special Olympic event. For those that don’t know it, my son is autistic, and my daughter went along to help out. Missing them, and wanting them to come home to a nice surprise, I had a wonderful idea. I’ll buy us all…bikes. We’d been wanting them anyway, and it would be good way to get my video game addict son out of the house.

Were the kids surprised? Yup. But I was even more so. First, these were ten speed bikes, and the gears and braking system meant I actually had to read the manual. Not too far into it, I decided I would never understand the gears, so I would just play around with them until pedaling was comfortable.

The brakes, on the other hand, were a different story. Two sentences stood out above the others. Always apply the back brake first. Because, if you didn’t, if you applied the front brake first…you could flip your bike.

Okay, so I was going to make very sure I remembered which side the back brake was on.

Time to ride. My daughter and I went alone that first trip. I’m sure it’s an experience she’ll never forget.

First, I found that my bike was too big for me. Even after lowering the seat as far as it would go, it was still too high (no, I wasn’t smart enough to try it out in the store). How humiliating to have to stand on the bottom step of the porch to mount the darned thing…

But that, I discovered, was the least of my worries. I wobbled almost as much as I had when my dad taught me to ride at five years old. After a couple of minutes though, I kind of got the hang of it again, and off we went. Sort of. My daughter took to it like a duck to water. I, on the other hand… Well, let’s just say that I’m sure anyone driving past us thought I was drunk…

The second problem came about a block and a half later, when my daughter zipped around the corner. Which side of the handlebars was the back brake on? I thought I was doomed at that point, but I made it. Whew!

The third problem arose as we approached the next intersection…and she stopped her bike!

What are you DOING?” I shouted, nearly running into her back tire as I tried to remember which side the stupid brake was on (my memory sucks when I panic).

Turns out she kind of had to stop…for the car that speeding down the road. Of course that meant I had to stop, too. It also meant I had to drag the bike to the curb so I could get back on the too high seat.

It was then I started to wonder why they make the seat so hard. And WHY were there bumps on each side of it? Big bumps. Shouldn’t a seat be pretty flat?

Let’s just cut a long story short. I didn’t fall off the bike. Not even once. I did, however, look like an idiot. And I was never so glad to get home as I was that day. As I dismounted the torture device, making use of the porch step of course, I wasn’t sure I’d ever get on it again.

For one thing, I had forgotten how to ride a bicycle. And for another, a certain part of me felt like someone had strapped me on a metal folding chair, to which they’d taped a couple of walnuts…and then driven down ten miles of  washboard dirt road really fast.

I’m not even going to mention the next few trips with my son – who seemed to see an invisible target on me and my bike…

I was going to add a funny video about other graceful cyclists, but turns out they weren’t funny at all, so after some searching, I remembered one of my favorite songs. Bikes play a big part in it…


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13 Responses to It’s Like Riding Bicycle My Foot!

  1. I haven’t tried riding a bike for the reasons you just articulated so well. thanks for reminding me and affirming my decision. definitely get a different bike. one that fits.

  2. Debra Kristi says:

    I haven’t ridden a bike in years. Maybe that’s because I don’t own one. My husband got one for himself and the kids. Guess I don’t need to play. 🙁 I remember the brake on the handle bars. I remember flying down GMR (that was short for our mountain road) and the dang thing flew off! I used the soles of my shoes to stop. Hey, I could think things out even back then. Bet my mom loved taking me shoe shopping. Better that then the splat that could have happened, though.

    I think you should get a different bike. Make sure it’s a girls so that the bar curves down and doesn’t go straight across. Contact the place where you got them and see if they will exchange the bike for you. It’s dangerous riding a bike like that. I’m just saying.

    So glad you got your boy out in the Special Olympics. That’s so cool!

    • Nice husband… 🙁

      I had a bike kind of like yours. I think it was a 3 speed, and when I was 13 or 14, the brakes didn’t work at all…front or back. So when I wanted to stop, I’d put my foot on the metal thing that curved over the front tire, press down, and coast to a stop. If I had to stop in a hurry, I’d run it into a tree or telephone pole (beat getting hit by a car, lol). Amazingly enough, someone stole it, and the house insurance covered a new one…with brakes that actually worked. 🙂

      I think I’m just done with bike riding. As I explained to Tameri, after the accident, and 9 months in physical and occupational therapy, I’m just not taking a chance. It took way too much work to get back to normal. I’ll just stick with my treadmill, on again/off again Pilates, and the pool. 🙂

  3. Bikes. Sheesh. I actually love riding bikes, but since that’s how I snapped my posterior tibial tendon four years ago and needed major reconstructive surgery to fix my foot, I’m a tad frightened of them now. Of course, it wasn’t the bike’s fault. I could’ve snapped it stepping off a curb, but I didn’t. I snapped it standing up to pedal the stupid bike up a hill.

    Did you keep the too-big-for-you bike? You should’ve taken it back and gotten one fit for you. That will actually make a world of difference! The upside here is that you got your son out and about. Anything we can do to keep them off the video games is a huge win.

    How’d he do at the Special Olympics event?

    • Oh ouch! Standing up on a bike…scary stuff. In more ways than one!

      I did keep the bike…and bought a seat with some actual padding, which made it even harder to mount the stupid thing. I have since given it away though. I haven’t actually tried getting on any bike since my car accident, but just the thought of falling off scared me enough that I didn’t want to try it. Never want to do the physical therapy thing again so I’ll just stick with walking, Pilates and pools. 🙂

      I didn’t actually attend that particular Special Olympics. It was up north, but he came home with a few ribbons. When I’ve gone to the local events (and even helped a time or two), he tended to ‘aim high.’ As in, you can’t sit on your butt playing video games day after day and then think you’re actually going to win a race where you have to run around the track 2 or 3 times. But he does give it his best shot, before he starts walking like he’s been in a desert for several days without a drop of water. 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for picking that song! I forgot how much I loved it. I’ve always had a soft spot for Keith Whitley…(tragic the way he died). Having said that, I completely understand where you’re coming from with the whole “riding a bike” thing. My mom tried it a few years ago for the first time in ages. When I stopped over to check on her, I thought maybe she’d taken up hockey with all her bruises…LOL! I may have to blog her story one day. Her telling was pretty hysterical.

    • Keith Whitley was a great singer, wasn’t he? And I just love this song…especially the video. It always makes me tear up when I watch it.

      Oh your poor mom!!! Ouch! The only thing bruised on me was what I used to sit on the seat with the bumps on it. Fortunately I never did fall off, though I worried about it every time I got on. 🙂

  5. John says:

    No fun at all being ‘older’…

  6. Ah Kristy. Isn’t it fun getting older? Not! Just think how much fun it was to spend time with the kids. Bike riding is a wonderful form of excercise. Although mine is hanging from the rafters in the garage and collecting dust. Waiting for hubby to get better so that we can ride together. It was our dream to ride our bike around the beach. But not right now. So I’m sticking with walking. Actually, I think it’s safer since I read your post. 🙂

    • Yeah, I definitely think walking is safer! 🙂 And it was fun riding with the kids…except for the whole target thing. I swear every time we went out, my son saw a target on me or my bike. I’m not kidding, I can’t count the number of times I had to get out of his way because he was aiming directly for me. 🙂

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