Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bike days

When I was eight, I waited until there was no traffic and crossed Madison Avenue, building up speed on my bike to shoot down Lincoln, the road diagonal from my house. At a certain point I'd take my feet off the pedals and hold them out in front of me, coasting down the quiet Penndel streets under a canopy of trees, hair flying out behind me. Warm air went rushing by with an undercurrent of chill common to early June. Almost twilight, almost time to go home. One last ride around the big triangle that was my okay to ride alone ground.

Some point between there and when I got a 10-speed in junior high, bike riding lost its luster for me. I never rode a bike in high school or college.

I remember being in Key West for my Dad's 50th birthday, renting bikes with MFD and my brother. I had to re-learn how to have balance. I felt a little fear in my stomach. It's just like riding a bike never quite rang true for me, as you might guess. Falling seemed to be a bigger deal as I approached 30. MFD and Stephen were far ahead, MFD circling back around looking at me with concern and also a little how can you be so unsure of yourself on a bike?

That Key West trip was 10 years ago, and in those 10 years, I never got on a bike again until this spring when I took my new beach cruiser out for a cautious loop at the shore. I'm possibly more afraid of falling now than ever, and more unsure of my balance on the bike. Still, I envision myself recapturing the comfort I felt on a bike when I was young. Will it happen? I don't know. But I'm aiming for it.

Even though I've been on a bike twice in the past 20 years, when the weather starts to get warmer, I still think bike days are here again.

What thoughts does warmer weather usher in for you?



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32 comments:

  1. I'm a lot like you when it comes to bikes. I was all about riding my bike in our neighborhood until I was about 8. Then, we moved to another city, and my mom didn't know the neighbors and didn't like me having bike-riding freedom, so I just kind of quit.

    Fast forward to me being 32 and renting bikes in Barcelona. My girlfriend and cousin rode circles around me. I kept imagining hitting a bump in these old, unstable streets and splitting my head open in another country. I'm pretty fearless most of the time. But, not that day. I loved the experience, but I was most definitely shaky.

    Now, I'd totally want to cruise around on your beach cruiser. Go for it!

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  2. Oddly enough, my husband suggested bikes for us soon. So now I'm nervous, but as a child I lived on my bike. Of course, I had a couple nasty spills.

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  3. Biking on the canal path on my cruiser with Rich that started last summer is awesome. My first ride of 2016 on Monday night was wonderful even though I had s fall and a nice skinned knee. Thankful for strong bones. I like to ride on straight. Flat. No cars paths. Lol. I navigate best on my fast walking feet but the 13 miles round trip on the canal and by the river is perfect for me! Goddess speed to all. Love. Your. Momma.

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  4. It's been a long time since I've been on one as well. I actually had an accident when I was younger on one and had to get stitches from hitting a rock, but it was always one of my favorite activities growing up. Now that you've reminded me, I kinda miss it. Hope you'll gain courage to ride again :)

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  5. I love the idea of riding bikes. But I also am scared to death of riding one without a helmet...and helmets are dorky. Sigh.

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  6. Also, I LIVE for your mom's comments on anything and everything. Reading them on your blog or when she comments on Instagram...I LIVE!

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  7. I love the idea of riding a bike again. I haven't ridden since tooling around Key West and before that, when I was training for and later participated in the Boston-NY Aids Ride. I'm also afraid of toppling over and riding in traffic makes me nervous. Do you have a rail trail nearby? That may provide good "training wheels," so to speak. Safe and happy riding!

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  8. I have a beach cruiser stored at my mom's house I bought years ago that will eventually make it's way to me here. I bought it for a beach trip one year and while I too was unsure at first by the end of the week I was loving the wind in my hair and the places I could explore on a bike. The other great thing about a bike is during the busy tourist traffic month it allows you to get places faster.

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  9. I used to LIVE on my bike... the only way as a kid, right?
    & I havent rode in so long. I tried getting on my husbands bike & panicked because I couldnt touch the ground & then ran right into the fence. Yeahhhh... I need to dust off these skills. I would love to ride again. Just to feel that wind & those feet kicking in the air again.

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  10. Oh, I love this so much! Warmer weather always reminds me of playing in the yard sprinklers with neighborhood friends and tracking grass all inside the house when we would sneak in to get popsicles. So funny, like you said, I haven't done that since I was 8 or 9, but I still think of it every time the weather warms up!

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  11. I feel the exact same ways as you. I lived on my bike as a kid, and then I just stopped riding it at some point. My husband is an avid cyclist so he's a pro at biking of all types. And the times that we've gone out on the bikes, I feel like a total dimwit lol. I'm SO afraid of falling!
    I did enjoy riding bikes when we were at Kiawah Island in SC and able to ride in the streets that weren't busy. That helped me enjoy it more. I hope your summer is filled with lots of bike rides and no falls!

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  12. I haven't gone bike riding since junior high either. I wonder if I still could.

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  13. OK... Now, even more, I want a bike so I can be there to help if you fall...

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  14. I have a bike in my garage that I really should pull out and ride. When I first bought it I was SO unsure of myself, but I've ridden a few times since I was a kid so the skill wasn't totally gone. I used to love when the weather turned and we could take our bikes off the garage wall and strap on roller-blades and race up and down the street. (We lived on a cul-de-sac.) Such wonderful springtime memories!

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  15. I haven't ridden in a while, either. I remember being able to ride without touching the handle bars as a kid, arms at my side. Tried it as an adult and was unsuccessful.

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  16. Bike riding is definitely one of the most resonating memories from childhood, I think for most people. Last weekend we were driving through a neighborhood and all of a sudden were swarmed by children on their bikes so happy. Immediately made Jay and I reminiscence about our own youth. I hadn't ridden bikes in a long time until we rented them in Feb and it was the most fun day ever that we bought our own bikes right after. But we haven't ridden them yet (dangit!). We need to do that soon.

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  17. I recently (well almost a year ago now) got a new bike and I LOVE it! warm weather makes me think of being at the pool, popsicle in hand. It's the best!

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  18. I think that's awesome you can resurrect a childhood favorite when the weather is nice to enjoy, reminisce and also get some exercise! Win, win!

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  19. I love bike riding! I used one a lot at college, and we bike on vacations but I wish I had my own. We've been talking about buying them forever. Warm weather means lots of post-dinner walks for us!

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  20. Ever since I moved back to the 'burbs (and a beach town) I hopped right back on the 'bike bandwagon.' I loved riding bikes as a kid and I think it's a prerequisite to live in my town & have some adorable colorful beach cruiser (mine's purple). There is NOTHING better than coming home from work in the summer and to ride on the boardwalk while the sun sets. People watching, pretty skies, clear mind. NOTHING better.

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  21. I'm always super shaky when I get back on a bike, but yet I always think bike riding is the perfect idea for a vacation. I hope that you have a fun time riding a bike again during the warmer weather!

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  22. I've been wanting to get a bike for a couple of years but just haven't pulled the trigger on it yet. I felt so unsure at first on our bike tour, but as the afternoon went on, I felt a little more comfortable. I'm with you, though, the fear of falling was ever present, and I don't EVER remember being afraid of falling when I was younger (in spite of me actually falling and breaking my wrist during one of my bike "tricks")

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  23. It's just like riding a bike absolutely never rang true for me. the last time i was on a real bike, i acted exactly like i did as a kid - sticking my feet out as brakes, which my mum HATED because it ruined my shoes - and promptly fell over. in my head i would love to ride a bike everywhere or just once a month or a little bit but yeah.. i get on the bike and i'm like just kidding changed my mind. i do love your pretty bike though.

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  24. I used to love love love riding my bike!!!! When I was younger, I used to pretend my bike was a car and I would make ticking sounds like a turn signal when turning. I cant tell you how many miles I clocked on my bike in junior high when I rode the 2 miles to my best friends house nearly every day when we lived on opposite ends of the same neighborhood. I can't tell you the last time I was on a bike. Must have been high school? I would think I would be able to just pick it up but I dont know. Now that you say your fear of falling, I could totally see me being the same way. I love the idea of riding around the shore though!

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  25. I'm ready for sunny reading spots, floating in my pool, and having the sunroof open in the car!

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  26. Scott keeps insisting we get bikes to ride with Erica. I have terrible balance and keep reminding him that I have no desire to fall on my face.

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  27. Trust in your muscle memory. Riding along the shore sounds wonderful and quaint. Warmer weather ushers in thoughts of cloud gazing, honeysuckle, and symphonies of night bugs.

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  28. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I honestly don't think I remember how to ride a bike. I never really enjoyed riding my bike anyway, so I just didn't do it very often. I haven't ridden since I was 10 (I think), and I'm 31 now ... So yeah, I probably wouldn't be able to ride one now. Your bike is so adorable, though! I think it would inspire me to attempt riding again if I owned a cute bike. (Maybe.)

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  29. Sunday was the first time I was on a bike in quite a long time and I was a little nervous. I took a ride down my street to make sure I could still do it but I think I'm definitely going to keep it up. Loved this. The warm weather always makes me think of bike riding and being outside from 10 am (we weren't allowed out a second before) until almost 10 pm during the summer running around like little banshee children.

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  30. Riding on a cruiser-type bike isn't natural for me, so I know how you feel. We rode them at the beach one summer and I was all crazy and stressed-out on it :). I love my road bike though! Maybe we should buy a used trailer so we can ride with the kids. When the weather is nice, being at home feels like a waste so we just take walks, go to the playground, or drive J's car around the block.

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  31. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your bike and I feel your fear and uncertainty!

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  32. We were bike lovers as kids too. On them all day, everyday, especially in the summer going to friends houses or just to the track at the high school to ride around and around like idiots. I stopped when I got too cool, so, never. But really, probably 6th grade. Jacob cycles and my kids are into bikes. Since we have a pretty bike-able neighborhood with flat streets and paved paths through the woods I got a cruiser a few years ago. It's tough because the seat is extended all the way and it's still too short for me, but it works for little trips and I have no desire to do any more than that. It wasn't hard for me to get back on after all those years, but I have to maintain a certain speed, otherwise I'm wobbly and scared. Haha!

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