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Life is Like Riding a Bicycle

"Life is like riding bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
— Albert Einstein

[my new bike]

"To ride a bicycle is in itself some protection against superstitious fears, since the bicycle is the product of pure reason applied to motion. Geometry at the service of man! Give me two spheres and a straight line and I will show you how far I can take them. Voltaire himself might have invented the bicycle, since it contributes so much to man’s welfare and nothing at all to his bane. Beneficial to the health, it emits no harmful fumes and permits only the most decorous speeds. How can a bicycle ever be an implement of harm?"
— Angela Carter

"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.
~Iris Murdoch

[bikes taking over our foyer]

"When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking."
~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

[bikes in amsterdam]

"After your first day of cycling, one dream is inevitable. A memory of motion lingers in the muscles of your legs, and round and round they seem to go. You ride through Dreamland on wonderful dream bicycles that change and grow."
~H.G. Wells

[the girls won't wear jeans for anything else]

Did you ride bikes as a kid? My brother and I had a favorite route ~ down the hill next to our house, veer to the right to the straightaway, through the pack of kids playing 4-square, left around the curve (watch out for cars), sharp right turn, down the hill, hoping to gain enough inertia to make it up the steep, uneven, slightly spooky hill back to the top.

My kids don't have that. In fact, they are just learning to ride, at 9 and 11. My younger daughter is getting her sister's bike, so it was time for a new bike for my older daughter. And since I'm not ready for them to ride solo, one for me so that I can keep up. Did I mention I haven't ridden a bike in 25 years? That I'm not athletic, or coordinated?

We took a few bikes for a test drive. I was trying not to let it show, but I was really nervous. I mean I didn't know what would happen - but I just got on, pushed off, and started peddling. It just worked - I remembered. I don't even know how I remembered. As my younger daughter noted, "It was neat to see you on a bike. But you're a lot wider than the bike, mom."

[sidestreet in bruges]

Drawing has taught me that it is possible to get better at something with practice. In Carla Gets a Bicycle, Carla Sonheim describes the awkward feeling of learning to ride {or draw, or paint}. It is awkward. Yet adding something new to your life is really refreshing.

We returned with our bikes on a fancy black car carrier with 8,592 straps and anti-wiggle devices. Sunday, in a misty 50 degrees, we biked around a lovely park replete with ducks, cranes, walkers, bikers, joggers, skateboarders, dogs and cricket players! It felt like we were flying.... my daughter kept screaming with joy as we glided around.

So stay balanced everyone! And wish me luck! Now I must motivate myself to ride each week.

It was unreal. {I'm a little lot sore.}

Please, please, please tell me what you have tried lately, something that freaked you out, something you were SURE you couldn't do, something that you are so happy you tried, something new?

PS. Have you registered for 21 Secrets? {I'm Teaching!}

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Reader Comments (4)

Yes! I just began riding my bike again last October. We became a one-car family by choice when we moved to a central part of town...meaning....I can walk to just about everything I like to do (until my favorite coffee & breakfast cafes closed anyway). So, then I took a volunteer position with a yoga studio so I could get free classes but it meant finding transportation....dusted off the ol' bicycle that I hadn't ridden in five years & was languishing away strapped to the post of our covered parking. I did begin to ride with fear & trepidation. It meant riding in traffic. It meant riding in the dark. It meant ultimately a great deal of freedom & I loved it.

I was even given a sign that all was/is well. It was dark. I was riding an unlit residential street coming to a busy, dangerous intersection. I was anxious on dark night & making up all sorts of ghost stories when I looked up at the light pole where there was a portion of an advertisement left behind with only the letters "OM" remaining. I was so grateful & have ridden without fear since then (except for two months of brutal allergies that have required me to seek other means of transportation...hoping to get back to the bike riding this week.)

Thank you for this post. Loved it & I love your blog. Sooooo inspiring. Blessings & peace to you & your children.

03.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia

I Loved reading about your experience with the bike. Where i come from riding on your bike is the same like walking. And your right if once know you will never forget even when you don,t ride a bike for 25 years. For us it is a easy and cheap way to go from A to B. And i hate sport and i am not athletic, but i can ride my bike. So i wish you good luck you can do it.
And yes i registered with 21 secrets. So i see you there. I am looking forward to it.

Greetings Sandra , a dutch girl

03.29.2011 | Unregistered Commentersandra

Life is full of surprises and enjoyment... It is what we make of it :]
Thank you for sharing these pictures, and your bike riding experience.
Riding a bike can be so much fun!

03.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterApril Cole

I am trying to get up the courage to ride my bike again. Thanks for the inspiration!

04.5.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRainy

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