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Column: Just like riding a bike

The expression “it’s just like riding a bike” is prevalent when someone is reintroduced to something once a constant.

It’s been so long since I have been on a bike that I’m unsure if the saying would ring true, and I would probably fall off my first one to 20 attempts. It has probably been about 30 years since I took a bike ride, and it is certainly not something I am proud of, and I should do something about it.

I’m not quite sure what happened, but there was a time when I was on my bike just about every day, weather permitting.

Growing up in what is referred to as the “High Desert” of Wyoming, the two houses I grew up in were surrounded by miles of trails. I could ride somewhere new every summer day and still not scratch the vast open spaces where I lived.

Often I would ride with friends, but sometimes I would be told to get outside, and I would ride as far as I could so I could come back sweating and enjoy some time cooling off in the basement watching MTV. Sometimes if it were super-hot, I would misbehave, so I would get grounded and not be allowed to leave the house. At the time, I thought that was some next-level thinking.

Riding solo was never the brightest idea, and on one occasion, I went a little too fast down a hill and wrecked. I was probably unconscious for about 20 minutes and had to walk my mangled body and bike to the house. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I had a concussion, but I was ten and didn’t know what a concussion was.

On another occasion, my friends and I decided to take a ride and went a bit farther than we should have in the neighboring town about 12 miles away. No one seemed to care. I was an hour later for dinner; they were just happy I was outside.

As I reached junior high age, I rode a lot less. In high school, I’m not sure I road more than three or four times a year, usually in the summer when I was once again told to get outside and enjoy the weather. I always found that funny because the ones telling me to enjoy the weather were sitting in recliners. For the past few years, I have told the kids to get outside occasionally, and they laugh at me and get back to watching Law and Order.

I want to start getting in better shape, and we purchased an exercise bike a while back. While it is not the same as out riding in the hills, it is still a good workout where I can turn on music without being distracted by anyone.

One day I road for almost an hour which was a step in the right direction. The biggest issue is trying to do it just about every day. If I end up missing a day, it can end up turning into missing a month.

Once I feel I’m in decent shape, I might buy a bike and start enjoying the fantastic open space of Montana. Much like Wyoming, there is plenty of it.I hope I can keep upright and not end up concussed in the dirt. I probably should also let someone know where I am going and not travel to the next town over.

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