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It's just like riding something

Laura Wilson
By Laura Wilson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 20, 2005
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You always remember your first time

Whoever came up with the idea that you never forget how to ride a bicycle never met me. It's not like I was ever a champion cyclist, but I could pedal my little heart out ... when I was 7. Over the years enlightenment came in the form of an automobile, and my bike became the biggest dust magnet in my dad's garage.

I think at some point my parents got rid of the pink splatter-painted gem that I remember from days of yore; however, to ensure my love, they bought me a new purple splatter-painted mountain bike that sat in their garage for more years than I'm comfortable to admit.

While all of my excuses fell under the umbrella of "general laziness," most stemmed from the fact that I didn't like to sweat. The truth is that I knew I was out of shape, and didn't need to pass out while peddling furiously to class in an attempt to dissuade myself. As silly as it was, I walked 30 minutes to class, instead of riding in cycling style.

Over the past few months, I've made a conscious effort to improve my physical shape. I decided that I was too young to feel so old, and I started working out and eating well. I've lost 20 pounds in the past three months by, get this, working out and eating well. Aside from feeling great about buying smaller pants (seriously, the UA campus is not a place that inspires confidence), I've also felt great about the things that my new muscles can help me do.

My newfound muscles and I recently decided that I was ready to tackle the aluminum-framed beast of burden that my parents casually dropped off at my house one day. Instead of taking their kind gesture as an indication of the exercise they thought I should be doing, I decided to thank them by actually riding the dust-ridden mobile danger zone they stored for so long.

Not knowing much about bicycles, it never dawned on me that storage would leave my bike with flat tires and a mangled frame. After all, why should the tires be flat if I've never ridden the thing? Doesn't depreciation require use?

I postponed my inaugural ride for several weeks by telling myself that I needed a larger seat. After the seat was purchased and installed, I decided that I needed a lock and a light. Next came the basket that just looked cool on the handlebars. With no room for improvement (literally and figuratively), I was out of excuses. When I found myself without Kleenex and over-the-counter allergy medication one night, there was no reason not to ride my bike the three blocks to the grocery store.

Noticing that one of the tires was a little flat, I pumped it up before beginning my journey. Two blocks later, I realized that the other tire was also flat. Not wanting to return home and admit defeat, I continued on my epic journey. I made it to the store and locked up my bike, somehow scraping my knuckles in the process. Instead of embarrassment, I felt tough paying for my measly purchase with bloody knuckles.

Excited about finally using the basket that I had installed all by myself, I placed my grocery bag inside and unlocked my bike. As I did so, my bike crashed down on top of me, creating various gashes and brightly-colored bruises along my body, and my groceries scattered themselves throughout the parking lot. No one offered to help me, but plenty of people stared.

Twenty minutes later, I was at home and my bike was banished once again to life under a tarp. Unfortunately, I was too stubborn to leave it to gather dust; instead, I took it in for a tune-up, once I heard that bikes need such things. I'm hoping that someday soon I'll be able to ride further than the corner, but until then I'll be practicing by riding around in circles in my backyard.

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