Why I Don't Ride a Bicycle
I have found that if you mention to someone in New York who has a bike that you don't have a bike, the reaction is usually "OH MAN FOR REAL? HOW DO YOU FUNCTION? I COULDN'T LIIIIIIVE WITHOUT MY BIKE!" They may also throw in some comment about how the subway is the worst thing ever invented in the world, and that they rather die then ever use it again. I think that if you have that strong of an opinion about a bicycle, then you are probably good at riding one. Believe it or not, there are people out there (me) who can't really function when it comes to riding a bike. I see all of these people on their bikes wearing dresses and high heels, looking like they just rolled right out of a catalogue, and it is pretty discouraging. I am not one of those people. I am the kind of person who can't start, stop, or balance on a bike. I have heard that these are three fundamental bike riding skill sets.
I actually can't comprehend how people are able to start riding their bike from a stopped position. In order for me to start up a bike, I stretch my legs as far as they can go until the tips of my toes are just barely scraping the ground. Then I frantically swing my legs back and forth hoping that the minimal toe-to-pavement contact will propel me forward enough to start pedaling, while simultaneously swinging the handlebars from side to side to keep from collapsing sideways. Meanwhile traffic on all sides will be trying to somehow maneuver around who they think is a brave soul with Down's Syndrome learning to ride a bike.
This is what I remember from my bike riding experience at least. I actually haven't been on a bicycle in eight years. The last time I was on a bike I was 14 and I was headed to a Girl Scout meeting after finishing my first week of high school. I already was well aware of my not-so-attractive bike riding style, and my not-so-attractive giant helmet, and my not-so-attractive bike which was black with big white flowers all over it, and I was well, well aware that I was going to GIRL SCOUTS. I was biking through the neighborhood heading to ol' GS headquarters, reflecting on the fact that I had just survived my first week of high school - I was basically a grown-up. Then out of nowhere a big white van of seniors came from behind me. I remember looking over my shoulder thinking, "what the heck is all that cackling?" and was met with an egg right in the face. It immediately exploded on impact, shooting yolk across my face and scattering shell fragments in my hair. It was so surprising that it actually knocked me over. I was this flailing, eggy mess, laying in the street, legs tangled in my bike, late for my Girl Scout meeting, with a van full of hootin' and hollerin' seniors leaving me in the dust. Thats right. "Hootin' and Hollerin'."
Don't worry everyone, I made it to my Girl Scout meeting, but because my troop leaders were really serious about their scouting, they were mad I was late, so I didn't have time to wash the egg off my face. Which had dried and crusted, and was starting to crack.
Basically my childhood is adorable. But that day I declared no more bike riding. I didn't even realize I had stuck to it for that long until I counted the years on my fingers just now. Its not like I am afraid I will get hit in the face with an egg again, I'm afraid I will get hit in the face with a CAR. If I get on a bike again anytime soon, I'm going to need an empty parking lot to feel comfortable. As for bike riding in New York, I don't think I can handle that anytime soon. I'm fine with the subway.