on {bikes}

by Travelingmama on April 15, 2010


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?

Images: First image by Velorbis; second and third images by Thomas Leplus; third image by Mandalaybus; final image by madsflash

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Juliette April 21, 2010 at 11:06 am

=) you won’t look silly! Just tell yourself that bikes basically function like cars, and sometimes have their own little stoplights and signs, and you’ll be fine =)

Also – it’s mainly flat there, right? And if you go with the kids, you’ll have every excuse to go slow =) I think you’ll all be fine!

Oddly enough, my mother emailed me yesterday asking my opinion on her first bike purchase from REI, lol! She’s looking at Electras – so cute!!

Lisa April 21, 2010 at 4:59 pm

This is so funny that I’m reading this now because Drew and I have just spent the last couple days thinking of biking and bikes in Hannover. We are thinking of trying to trade in our mountain bikes for cruiser style bikes before we pack up our crate and move… so many choices!!!

Susie April 21, 2010 at 8:41 pm

I just discovered your website and it’s a treat! We just got a bike (real fixer-upper) too and I can fully relate to having no place to put it… I don’t even have the luxury of a balcony so right now it’s resting in my living room. LOL. I’m also terrified of laws and lanes so for now I just ride it around the neighborhood. Good luck!

kelleyn April 22, 2010 at 12:06 pm

My heart leaped when I saw the photo of the bikes. I have been dreaming of owning a bike like this for ages. Are you guys thinking of buying bikes. I think I saw more bikes in Denmark than anywhere else. Good Luck! p.s. you should google a bike called the taga. It is a bike and a stroller all it one. It is amazing. If we have another child. I think I am going to have to beg my husband for this bike as a birth gift.

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