“It’s just like riding a bike. You never forget.” Lies! There are some obvious problems with that saying.
First of all, bikes have changed in design from when we were children. The handle bars are now flat and aligned parallel to the ground. As children, our handle bars were bent toward us, which made them easier to grasp. As a result, that also made the bicycle much easier to steer.
Sure you can buy a vintage bike (I like them), if you want to look like the wicked witch of the east. Speaking of which (or witch), let’s look at her for a moment…
The handle bars are facing her, so that’s a good start. There is still one problem though. The handle bars are lower than they are on a kids’ bike. Okay, I admit. It could just be that we got taller. In either case, in the picture above she looks like a pro.
But, look at her facial expression in this one:
That’s a look of fear and deep concentration. Look at how tightly she’s holding on to the handle bars. That poor lady is terrified! She forgot how to ride a bike. I’m certain of it. But it wasn’t her fault.
Back in the day, she was probably doing bike tricks and riding down the road with both hands in the air. Then, life happened. She got taller. She got older. Her body became harder to balance. Added pounds in new places probably set her off kilter.
Now with all of those changes, she’s supposed to be able to bend over, practically in a laying down position and steer? No, not happening.
A few years ago, a friend and I bought a couple of bicycles together. I was so excited to go out on a ride and I felt confident. After all, “It’s just like riding a bike. You never forget.”
Walking my bike out to the road, I jumped on and took off! Ha! Not hardly. I tried to jump on and the bike fell over. After a few tries, I was finally able to stay balanced and rode a few feet up the road. I was getting the hang of it!
Then, I had to make a turn. I didn’t make the turn. The bike kept going forward until I collided with a fence.
After peeling myself off the fence, I jumped back on. This time was much easier. I was speeding down the sidewalk at 50 mph. Okay, maybe not. Probably closer to 5 mph, but it sure felt like 50.
Soon we reached an intersection. Cars? I had to ride my bike near traffic and make a left turn? I didn’t. Out of fear, I hopped down from the bike and walked it around the corner. We weren’t even crossing an intersection. We were just making a simple left hand turn to stay on the sidewalk.
Discouraged and embarrassed I got back on the bicycle, rode it home, and a few months later we sold them. After that humiliating moment, I decided that bike riding was not for me.
I got another bicycle and I’m going to ride it. Wish me luck!