Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's Just Like Riding a Bike!

We've all heard that cliche', "It's just like riding a bike!"  People use this when they're trying to make the point that once you learn how to do something like ride, you never really forget.  Even if it has been years since you have been on a bike, once you get back on, it all just comes back to you.  There's no need to re-learn.  Well, in case you think this is headed in a particular way, let me just say that it's much more simple than that.  Over the last two days I've been thinking about that saying.  Why?  Because I got back on a bike.  And, surprise, surprise!  I didn't forget how to ride one!

It has been years since I have been on a bike.  The last time prior to yesterday that I was on a bike was when my oldest son was just a baby.  And that wasn't even my own bike; it was my sister-in-law's and the tire blew out on me.  For one reason or another I just haven't been on a bike since then.  But lately I have been getting the itch for one.  I kept thinking just how much fun it would be for me to join my husband and kids in their spring, summer, and fall bike rides.  They frequently go for rides; my husband attaches the bike trailer for my girls and the boys ride their bikes.  During these times, I usually enjoy some me-time, but I've been wanting to join in.  So yesterday, on a whim, I sent a text message to my husband:  Hey! Why don't we go buy me an inexpensive bike and take the kids out for a bike ride later?  His response:  Sure!  Why not?  Well, I didn't waste any time (thanks to technology) hunting down the perfect bike, calling the store, and asking them to hold it for me!

I probably wasn't on that bike for thirty seconds before I was grinning and couldn't stop!  Oh my goodness!  How great it felt to ride a bike again!  I had completely forgotten!  Now, don't get me wrong, I do plenty of things for myself:  I read, write, run, do yoga, and enjoy coffee dates with good friends.  But, to do something as completely carefree and enjoyable as going for a bike had been too long!  For me, this was complete bliss!  We were blessed with a sunny Saturday (which is out of the ordinary in Northwest Ohio these days) so I sort of talked my family into another bike ride.  We bribed the kids with a different location, a picnic, and some nearby water to throw rocks in!  Well...we all enjoyed another bike ride.  For me, once again...complete bliss!

I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only mom who has put her family's needs in the forefront and has momentarily forgotten what took her away as a child.  My family's needs are a priority to me (as they should be) because my family is my first ministry.  And, as I said before, I make sure that I get enough time to do things that I enjoy.  But, I think in each of us there is something we remember doing so often as a child simply because we loved it.  And maybe it was that same something that we could do to get away (even for a few moments) from realities that were tough:  struggling in school, not fitting in, or even just the simple childhood disappointment of not getting to do or have something we wanted.  We had something that could take us away!  Well, I guess at this point in my grown-up life, I still have that child-like desire on the inside of me to just get away and forget about responsibilities or tough realities.  I still desire to do something that feels--like it did as a child--completely blissful and carefree.  I need that.  Maybe it's just me, but I'm guessing that there are other grown-ups that feel this way too.  We have no intention of shirking responsibilities, but it sure is nice to feel carefree and child-like again, even if for a few brief moments.
As a kid, riding a bike wasn't always entirely carefree.  I do remember one incident in particular when I had my first bike accident.  I was 8 and still pretty new at riding without training wheels (my boys learned when they were 4), and my older brother decided to help me ride more safely.  We didn't ride with any helmets or protective gear then, as our kids do now, but my brother decided I needed a seat belt for my bike.  I don't have a good recollection as to what this contraption looked like, but it wasn't all that genius.  The only way it worked was to hold onto it with one hand (and I got to test it first!) see where this is going!  Well, my newly acquired riding skills were put to the test here, and they failed me big time!  I'm sure that my brother, to this day, would declare it operator-error (and there's certainly some truth to that) but I wasn't happy with him!  The whole family gets a good laugh over this story whenever it is re-told at the dinner table.  I'm sure my own children will have some good biking stories to re-tell as our family enjoys this activity together.  I hope they will!

For just a split second before I got on my new bike yesterday, I wondered if I could still do it.  Silly!  I know!  Then that old cliche' came to mind, "It's just like riding a bike."  And, of course, it was.  I was just fine.  Actually, I was more than fine...yesterday and today.  I was in my glory!  I felt completely carefree and blissful!  As I was gazing up at the trees and the blue sky while riding behind my son, I thought to myself, I need more of this in my life!  Can you relate?  Is there something you do or have done that leaves you feeling, somewhere deep on the inside of you--in that childlike part of you that we all have--I need more of this in my life?  Maybe it's all the green that I saw over the last two days (and green is my favorite color).  Maybe it's the way my cheeks and hair felt while the wind brushed past my face.  Maybe it's the memories attached to riding a bike, or that I'm now enjoying this with my children.  Whatever it is exactly, all I know is that I need more of this in my life!