Riding a Bike: Hard to Remember, Impossible to Forget

I have often heard people say that many things in life are analogous to riding a bike. You may not have done it in a long, long time, but despite the hiatus from that activity, you should still remember how to do it–how to balance and pedal once you get back on that bike for a ride.Is it really true for all things in life? That because you have done it in the past, you will definitely remember how to do it today???? And you can just resume that activity, as if you never forgot how to, like you never even had that long hiatus?


I am a personal testimony to the fact that it is not always possible to just get back on the bike and start riding. After four years, I still have trouble getting back on the bicycle. It???s been so long of not cycling that I have a tremendous fear of falling, of slipping and sliding, of crashing and burning.The fear is because of my last experience with cycling, where despite my supposed skill and intentions of biking successfully, I lost my balance and fell, flipped out and rolled over, breaking my leg. I was in a cast and on crushes for six months, the doctors having to put a steel rod into my leg. After my leg healed, I was able to walk again; the rod was removed, but still there were scars left from the accident and the surgery that was necessary for my healing.In the past couple years, I have wanted to start cycling again. I even bought new shoes and cycling gloves, and have been training in the Rec center with the stationary bikes. I really wanted to get back to cycling. So intent and desirous of cycling again, I consulted cycling trainers and other cyclist who have been on the bike circuit for a long time. I read books on the methods and techniques of successful bicycling, how-to???s and also how-not-to???s. Furthermore, I have even gone so far as going to various bike stores to check out what is available today in terms of bikes ??? new ones and old/used ones.I have on occasion found a bike that I wanted. Some looked really nice on the outside, but the parts and mechanics of the gear system did not fit my preferences. One looked good, but was an 18-speed while I wanted at least a 21-speed. Other times, I found a bike that had all the specs that I wanted, but the paint job did not look the way I wanted. There was another one that had the perfect gears, brakes and suspension, and even looked amazing, but it was just too expensive and out of my price range! Or, there was a similar one where the price just seemed way too good and cheap to be true. All in all, I have not ridden a bike in all these years.As I have mentioned, I have recently started training in the gym again, working out on the stationary bike and elliptical machine, getting ready to start cycling again. It has been a tiring experience so far, because I have not ridden in so long and am so out of shape. I wish there was another way to rid myself of the fear of getting back on the real bike, to build my strength and endurance, but such a training regiment pales in its effectiveness compared to just getting back on a bike and really cycling.And thus, I am seriously considering cycling again. I have found one bike that I???d like to try right now, and would like to commit to cycling with it. However, I still don???t feel like I know how to cycle; I am trying to rid myself of the fears of falling and getting hurt. Even so, I have been reminded on many occasions that the benefits outweigh the negatives.I just pray that I am ready for this, and hope that my heart can take it.(Originally published Aug.29, 2007; republished March 27, 2009)

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