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Like riding a bicycle

September 9th, 2005 · 1 Comment

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On Monday, Ted and I rented bicycles for the entire family, including a trailer for Elisabeth, and went around on trails for about an hour. Our two older daughters have their own bikes with training wheels. However, this was the first time I was on a bicycle in close to ten years. I used to ride to work every day, when Ted and I were first married. It was a short commute, a couple miles on local roads to the university, but effective and efficient since we had only one car. Then we moved to California and I wasn’t as excited to ride my bike alongside the speeding traffic on Stevens Creek Boulevard. Cautious, during our infertility treatments, I stopped biking. Through years of pregnancies, my bike got out of shape and I did too.

I’ve never been passionate about biking – until Monday. Perhaps it was because I didn’t have a bike when I was a kid. I not only missed out on riding around during my childhood but also a bike – and my lack of skills – became a symbol to me of our family’s deficiencies, along with the divorce. I finally learned how to ride a bike when I was 11, pedaling the one my stepmother had used as a kid. I think I still have a photograph of me in my fifth-grade orange jacket posed proudly on her wide blue bicycle.

Ten years later, after college graduation, I bought my own bicycle. It’s the same one I still have now, a dark green hybrid, lying against the garage wall, in need of a tune-up. Perhaps part of the reason I let it get into disrepair is that I preferred running to biking. I’d rather feel the road beneath my feet. I like the simplicity and intensity of running. No equipment required.

But on Monday to my surprise, I found I liked biking as a family. At first I wasn’t sure if I would even be able to bike. I tried to test ride a bicycle and it was the strangest feeling. I couldn’t balance. I couldn’t move the pedals. It didn’t feel at all like riding a bicycle. The idiom was inaccurate! I didn’t think I could remember how to ride a bicycle. Embarrassing, especially since two of my daughters were already pedaling away on their selected bikes, wondering what was wrong with Mommy.

After a few tries – and Ted readjusting the gears which had been cranked high – I discovered I could bike. It did come back! More than that, I discovered I enjoyed the social aspect of biking. Running is my favorite sport and one I’ve usually pursued on my own, getting up early in the morning for some solitary time on the road before the day begins. Since college, I’ve rarely run with anyone.

I began biking at age 21, in order to commute to work. I don’t know why but I don’t remember Ted and I taking any fun trips together on our cycles in our younger years. I think I liked biking to work. I enjoyed the exercise. But I don’t think I often rode with others, except during one graduation trip. Perhaps due to my own insecurities about my skills. Athletics has not come easily to me.

Now, with our family, I think I can bike at least as well as our young children. And at the moment I don’t need to go any faster than them anyway. Someone’s got to bring up the rear and keep an eye on the kids!

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bike trailers are a great place to nap!

So, I’m looking forward to enjoying years of biking as a family! The kids liked it too!

And I’m realizing that many things can be like riding a bicycle…if you haven’t done it in a while, once you overcome a little awkwardness, you can get back into it again…almost as if you never left…

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Beth // Sep 11, 2005 at 8:03 am

    Julie – very glad to hear you enjoyed your bicycle trip! Cycling is one of the reason I *love* living on Bainbridge – not only is it a great place to ride, but there’s so many other riders (and it seems, so many residents aware of bicyclists, so most people give you plenty of room). Glad you had fun.


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