Why I Don't Ride A Bike

Posted on July 21, 2010


Ropes course failure

The other day, my Now Husband Dan asked, “You don’t ride a bicycle?”  This was an interesting question, since we have known each other since December 2002 and have lived together/been married for the last four years.  Apparently, his astute powers of observation are limited to things like “Wow!  Look at that squirrel in that tree a couple blocks down!” or, when, we are driving at a fairly rapid clip along the highway, “Wow!  Did you just see that bird catch that mosquito!”  But he has never noticed that in all the time we have been together,
1. there is no bicycle on the premises that belongs to me
2. I have never said, “Let’s go bike riding!”
3. I have never used the word “bicycle” or “bike” in conversation unless I am referring to a child or to Dan’s motorcycle or scooter.

After I told him I didn’t ride a bike, he asked why. This was an anticipated question, since most people between the ages of two and eighty-five are out there, pedaling away in a blissful state of cycling-induced intoxication and optimal health.

The answer is that I don’t ride a bike for the same reason I no longer ski, I no longer hike, I have never ridden on a roller coaster, I would never go rock climbing or walk on one of those rope bridges in the jungles of Costa Rica, and I won’t go up more than a few rungs on a ladder. This is because:

I would fall down and kill myself. And even if the fall didn’t kill me, the fear would make my heart stop and I would be dead anyway. I have proof of this. Years ago, I did a “ropes course,” the exhilarating, bonding, life-altering experience in which you are expected to do what Green berets and circus people do on a regular basis. Everyone but me shrieked “OH! I AM SO TERRIFIED!!!” And then they did each activity anyway, followed by “OHMYGOD, I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD DO THAT! MY LIFE HAS CHANGED FOREVER!” and other drivel. I, on the other hand, said nothing, because my throat locked up (along with all of my heart valves) and I was unable to do anything but squeak.

After the owner of the ropes course watched me attempt to do one of the assigned life-altering “challenges” (Climb a telephone pole and stand on a small disc the top which has deliberately been secured by only one nail so that it wobbles all over the place, and then leap into the air and grab a rope that is hanging just out of reach), in which I got only about half-way up the pole and voided in my pants, he pulled me aside and told me I needed some kind of therapy before attempting anything like this again. He suggested starting with a small foot stool and working my way up in height.

I took his advice. I started with a small stool. I’m still working on perfecting that one. The bicycle will have to wait. I’m just happy to be alive and have clean underwear.