Our first bikes looked nothing like these. They came in an ordinary grayish tint with bulky gears and looked like they should be ridden up a mountain rather than around our tiny apartment complex. But it was not so much the looks that deterred us from using them because we were rather convinced that their ordinary state would also make them even less noteworthy. The first time we shlepped up the two flights of stairs with our shiny new purchases we looked at each other with ominous glances while wiping the sweat beads from our brows.
Oh dear! This was not what we had in mind when we decided bikes would keep us active! And then the second obstacle became immediately apparent. Where might the new members of our newly wed family go to rest until our next adventure? Certainly there must be somewhere in all of the 600 square feet we were proudly renting? I adamantly refused to put them in our bedroom due to my fear of tripping over them and breaking a toe in the middle of the night… which would, of course, hinder us from actually riding the contraptions. So they went behind the chair, which was next to the balcony door, which is where they eventually crept to in spite of the elements because no amount of rearranging the furniture would allow for their bulky presence.
And so on our first outing the lovely new bikes, now covered in dirt and pollen, squeezed their way through the balcony door, which only opened half way due to the chair. Then they were lifted over the couch, hefted across the dining area and lugged down two flights of stairs. By this time we were both sweating profusely and wondering if all that effort might deserve a bowl of ice cream rather than further torture.
But as I rode along with the wind in my hair, I sat back and relived those sweet moments when as a child I had glided along on my pink banana seat bike. Freedom and a sense of adventure filled my young mind and the world stood waiting to be explored! It was a perfect moment and was abruptly brought to a screeching halt as my Traveling Man insisted that he couldn’t go on. Red in the face and breathing like oxygen was a rare commodity, as a new bride I believed that my man might actually die from his first biking experience in over 15 years.
So we went home, drug those stinkin’ bikes back up the stairs, across the dining area, over the couch, through the door, and out to the balcony. Which is exactly where they stayed until we moved and were never used again.
And we haven’t ridden bikes since, which is exactly why I am terrified of what riding a bike again… in a place with lanes and laws and bike traffic lights and… people. That old expression, “It’s like riding a bike’? It haunts me, people! What if it is true?? What if we look like a couple of clueless, out-of-shape Americans?