Riding a bike: It’s as easy as riding a bike!

Psych. It’s totally not, and here’s why: Because if simply riding a bike were as easy as riding a bike, buying one wouldn’t come with instructions. Stay with me; I’ll get to my point eventually and add this final thought for your consideration — God save the novice bicyclist living in a hilly neighborhood.

Anyway. I’ve decided the best way to do this is to get it right out there, for two reasons:

  1. So it’s not hanging awkwardly in the air for the duration of this story, and
  2. So that you have ample time to accept the fact that I am, the majority of the time, a woman-child. Which, disappointedly, just doesn’t have the same ring to it as man-child, and my guess for that is because women mature faster than men and are therefore generally thought of as the more advanced, superior species. Which is crap, because let’s be honest – sometimes all we really want are ring pops and someone to play with our hair for hours while telling us we’re skinny and should spurge on that pair of boots because it’s fall and they go with everything.

Maybe that’s just me.

Twix break! I'll have you back to your regularly scheduled blog reading in just a moment.

Take two. Like pulling off a Band-Aid. One that blatantly rips off layers of protective skin in agony to reveal warm, endearing childlike wonder. Certainly not age-inappropriate, slightly creepy immaturity.

My parents bought me a bike a few weeks ago. Now before you go all “Awwww, how adorable” on me, let me say this one last thing:

I’m 26.

Yes, I have a big-girl job. Sure, I’ve jammed out to Independant Woman by Destiny’s Child a time or two in my day. I even buy my own groceries…most of the time. And I have my own apartment, abeit, I also have a cat. ONE cat. No, I am not a spinster, nor do I feel the need to defend myself. Yet.

Anyway. I was so excited because it came out of the blue. I didn’t even know I WANTED a bike until we were sitting at dinner one evening and they offered to buy me one, at which point I broke into a sweat and was filled with a desperate need to acquire one IMMEDIATELY. I may have even held out my hands and made simultaneous grabby motions in the air in front of me like a five-year-old reaching for a cookie. And I wonder why those job interviews aren’t just rollin

You mean you’re NOT supposed to ask when daily corporate nap time takes place during a job interview?


Unfortunately, this moment also led to an instant of misplaced self-discovery.

I’M THE FAVORITE!!!! (Brother, if you’re reading this blog, I’m sorry you had to find out like this. And the fact that our parents repeatedly say they love us equally or that they bought me a bike because years ago, they bought you a bike (or even that your bike was more expensive), is not relevant in this self-discovery. Obviously. Hugs-n-love!)

My thoughts were racing a mile a minute (as I would soon be racing on my new bike) as I envisioned picnics in the park, riding along dusty, beaten trails, barreling one-handed down a kid-filled street as I waved to neighbors and they waved back, smiling happily at my newfound freedom). I was instantly filled with a sense of adventure and fulfillment.

However, that sense didn’t last long enough to go out of my way and (sensibly) research bikes or to really have any sort of opinion on the matter whatsoever.

That’s how we ended up at Wal-Mart. And wouldn’t you know it that while wobbly testing out a few bikes, I would run into pretty much every professional coworker I knew, thus forever sealing my reputation as a woman-child (Eh, I’m cool with it).

My favorite run-in was quite literal and with with an old, frowning man who blatantly disapproved of my racing down the aisles and skidding to unforseen sloppy stops. I think his exact words were, “What do you think you’re doing?!”

Uh, shopping, man. And totally owning it, if I said so myself. Which I did. Under my breath. He was kind of terrifying.

I tested out two bikes before my attention span rapidly dwindled and I wanted to get the hell out of Dodge. I went with the baby blue and white one. I had no idea what brand it was, but sadly, that’s also not the saddest part. No, the saddest part came when I realized that there were bike accessories. The bike was instantly old news. Can you guess which one I zeroed in on? Was it:

A. The eco-friendly water bottle
B. The old-school metal bell
C. The charming, girly basket
D. The responsible, reliable combination lock

It's not how I envisioned stopping traffic as a grown woman, but it'll hafta do.

Ding, ding, ding! If you guessed the old-school bell, you win…well, nothing. But if you feel pride, then by all means, you scoop that pride up and never let it go. My gift to you.

As I was wheeling my new toy up to the cashier, I noticed something taped to the spokes of the front wheel and discovered it was clearly labeled “Instructions.” Although I haven’t read them yet, I’m desperately hoping they say something like this:

How to ride a bike
It’s as easy as riding a bike!

  1. Get on bike.*
    *Note: if you are entangled in spokes, you are not correctly on bike.
  2. Ride bike.

Did I say the saddest part was enjoying my bell more than the bike? I was still wrong.

In actuality, the saddest part came as my dad and I were waiting in line for the cashier. I noticed a friend in line ahead of me, and as I excitedly yelled at him to check out my bike, his first words upon recognizing me were:

“Oh, I didn’t recognize you. I thought you were a 10-year-old buying her first bike with her dad.”

Except that I was still in my formal work outfit. And he’s known me for years. And I’m 26.


I decided not to show him my bell.

So everything would normally be great now, except the bike is still at my parents’ house because I haven’t had “time” to grab it and ride it the two blocks back to my place yet. And also, who knew riding a bike by yourself wouldn’t be very fun?

Oh, yeah. Everyone but me.

Maybe I just need to buy more accessories to stay interested. Maybe the bike and I will just be great friends who have picnics in the garage while we (I) talk about our (my) day(s). Maybe that’s why many things can not be said as being as easy as riding a bike.

Such as riding a bike.

42 responses to “Riding a bike: It’s as easy as riding a bike!

  1. I think they should change the saying to “It’s as easy as riding an electric bike.” Riding a bike is hard — especially for “the novice bicyclist living in a hilly neighborhood” but electric assistance makes it a lot easier.

  2. LOL — I’m also 26 and just learned how to ride a bike two years ago. And I live in a hilly neighbourhood. My parents never bought me a new bike though — I am clearly not the favourite. 😉 Very entertaining post. 🙂

  3. a machine that mimicks a horse, you ride on it and it shakes like you are riding a horse, good for exercising the waist and buttocks.

  4. You are a damn good writer. None of that hoitty toitty the more big words I have, the better sort of writing. It’s just plain good. 🙂

  5. I just want to tell you that I am new to blogging and site-building and seriously loved you’re web-site. Likely I’m going to bookmark your blog . You definitely come with excellent articles and reviews. Bless you for sharing your web-site.

  6. I love the dissection of an over used euphemism. Easy as riding a bike, haha. Have you ever written for cracked.com? If not you should definetly consider it!

  7. Really, the instructions attached to the bike are a list of “warnings” that have come about from years of people getting injured doing stupid things they should have known were stupid but instead decided to sue the bike company for not warning them they shouldn’t have done it.

    I was most excited about the bell when I got my bike last year, so you aren’t alone (although I was 19, so it was maybe a little more understandable). 🙂

    • Hmmm, sue the bike company….that’s an idea! “The instructions didn’t include warnings about riding my bike over curbs with a steaming hot cup of coffee sans lid. Gimme money!”

  8. Enjoyed this post. =) I’m including in my list for the VBA award.

  9. Ahhhha, so someone else also thought streamers were cool. I hear they make awesome helmets these days too. Maybe Barbie or a Disney princess helmet would be appropriate. PS all parents REALLY DO LOVE THEIR CHILDREN EQUALLY AND SECRETLY KEEP SCORE JUST TO AVOID POTENTIAL SIBLING RIVALRY. A parent never knows which child will chose the nursing home for them. Happy Trails Cass.

  10. This is hilarious – and it inspired me to create a new word: Wal-Busted


  11. Pingback: Thought of the Day – 10/10/11 « Feit Can Write

  12. Incredible and Informative Post..Thanks For sharing. I am seriously impressed right now..

  13. Baseball cards (preferably old ones) in the spokes fastened with spring-loaded clothes pins (preferably old wooden ones) are highly recommended accessories. Vrooom!

    Great blog and enetertaining!

  14. The only way to ride a bike is to not think about the physics. It’s like the cartoons when someone walks off a cliff and they’re fine until they realize they’re not standing on anything.

  15. The bell is actually crazy practical besides being fun. That’s how you let silly, slow pedestrians know you are coming when you’re on a multi-use trail. Saying, “Bicyclist on the left” helps too, but ringing the bell is much more fun!

    I’m a big fan of cycling (half my blog is about it), so props on the new acquisition!

    • I never got the hang of saying “Fore!” on the golf course ( I tend to just watch my ball accidentally assault retired men in polos, wincing and in awed silence that I actually HIT the thing so far), so the bell is probably for the best!

  16. Hey! Have u got an iPhone or blackberry? Surely there’s an app that’ll help ya out. There’s an app for everything. I’m 37 and I love my bike. I love trails and paths cuz I crank the tunes when I’m squinting through the breeze with my eyes watering like fountains. Great post.

  17. What about the basket? You need a basket! And streamers!

  18. The last time my parents bought me a bike was also a surprise- and a great one! (please note the long dash seems to be absent from my keyboard) I was 16 I think… but if they bought me one now (16 years later… maybe) I would still be psyched. Also, riding by yourself can be therapeutic- try it.

    • There are a couple of great bike paths by my place that I’ve been itching to try out. Unfortunately, they cut through the middle of a huge, terrifying cornfield. I could see myself NEEDING therapy after getting lost in that after dark!

  19. Oh, my gosh! PLEASE go and get your bike. AND RIDE IT HOME!
    Bicycles are so friggin’ AWESOME!
    I’m 25. I got one for my birthday this year. Because I hinted at it incessantly. Hahaha. I WON!
    I rode it to and from work every day until I moved super far and highways away from work. Blah! Now I ride it after work, between my running days. It’s GREAT. Please. Just do it. You will LOVE it. SCREW OTHER PEOPLE AND THEIR STUPID BIKES WHO WON’T RIDE WITH YOU. Just go! With your cycling playlist on your mp3 player of choice. And look cool while you’re doing it. Like you’ve been doing it every day for years.
    P.S. You’re too friggin’ funny not to follow. K, thanks.

  20. Love it! I love riding a bike. I love the feel of the wind in the hair…so refreshing! Well written…kudos! 🙂

  21. I am 32, and I still haven’t learned to ride a bike…
    I tried as kid, failed…
    I tried again when I was 23, failed… again.
    My balance are not that good. I have to be careful with my balance with everything…

    • Agreed. Normal little girls take dancing. My parents encouraged me to taking tumbling instead. Now at least I’m an expert at making clumsy look GOOD. “Did you just trip over that sidewalk?” “Uh, no, I just wanted to do an impromptu somersault…” 😉

  22. Kinda worried about the need to attach instructions to a bike, I would have thought it was self explanatory! The bell is the most important thing. I’m 28 and I haven’t learned to ride a bike yet, well not properly or safely. Since running someone over I’ve been a little bit wary of trying again and my husband doesn’t seem to want to take me out either! Happy cycling. 🙂

    • I’m scared to read the instructions because I’m sure I’ll learn something I didn’t know before and feel like an idiot. Oh, this bike takes diesel? All this time, I was putting in unleaded!

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