Saturday, April 3, 2010

As Easy as Riding a Bicycle

We've all heard things like "it's as easy as riding a bicycle" and "it's like riding a bike; once you learn, you never forget." What if you don't know how to ride a bicycle?

Riding a bike is a simple part of childhood for most people. I grew up in a trailer that was one of two apartments attached to a little deli and general store. There was traffic and a parking lot - not a very good area to ride a bike. I had one, sure...but I could never ride it far. It was just up and down the yard for me, which never gave me the practice I needed to ride without my training wheels. I tried, but I just wasn't able to grasp it.

Eventually all of my friends were grown out of training wheels, and I didn't want them to make fun of me, so I stopped riding my bike almost entirely. I haven't been on a bike in years, and I don't hold much confidence that I'd be able to teach myself now, either. Balance is not my forte, and I'm too skittish and jumpy to be able to correct myself if I started to tip over.

It seems like everyone is expected to know how to ride a bicycle, though. My boyfriend is out with his family today. His parents wanted to do something nice, and they had all kinds of ideas like going to a museum or New York City for the day. What did they pick? A bike trail a few miles long. Needless to say I was forced to decline this otherwise fun trip on a day with perfect weather. If it was even a hiking trail, not far off from biking, I would have gone.

Can it seriously be that easy that almost everyone can do it? My knees ache going up a short flight of stairs, I'm so imbalanced that I can't walk on level ground without almost falling over, and if my back isn't straight, I hurt all day. I'm sure someone would still tell me I could do it, though. I'm terrified to even get on one. I don't know if I'd ever trust myself to go down even a slight incline on a bike. I was always like that. As an only child surrounded by adults that were constantly afraid they'd break a bone due to a fall, I was raised to have a lot of caution when it came to physical activity. Too much, probably, but no one's perfect.

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