Reconnect with the FUN of Bicycling


Me and all my fancy bike gear

Most of us began riding a bike at an early age and recall the exhilaration of independent mobility, proudly shouting “Look Mommy, no hands!” For a growing number of adults, bicycling is an ideal cardio activity, easier on the knees than running, and it is an increasingly practical and necessary mode of transportation in urban centers.

After a decade break from any bike, I finally got back on one in the early 90’s for both fun and function. But over time, I slowly forgot the fun part of bicycling and allowed elite cycle shops and bike club geeks to dictate to me the proper necessities for riding. But one day last year, someone asked me casually, “why do you like to ride a bike, Rue?” and I answered without thinking, “Because it makes me feel like a kid again”. I realized in that very moment that my current adult riding habits hardly resembled the carefree mount on my banana saddle on any given summer day in the 1970’s.

In 2009, I now had to remember the timing of when to shift to one of my oodles of gears. I required specially padded lycra booty shorts, a neon vest, two water bottle cages (with a protein/energy additive), fingerless bike gloves, nylon jersey, a clipless pedal system, and Italian hardware…OK…don’t get me wrong, safety items, such as a helmet and plain old water are critical, but all that other stuff? I don’t think so.

Shortly after getting clear about my real passion around bicycling, I decided to strip down my classic Bridgestone frame to just one gear, knocking off about 10 pounds worth of chain rings, derailleurs, shifters, and fancy pedals in the process. I also made my bike look sexy-hip with a new, bright white seat and chain — because as much as I love the sport of bike riding, sometimes I want to look cute while doing it too — so to that end, I also vowed to wear regular clothing on short bike rides to school and save the performance gear for less frequent extended rides.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have another fancy bike, loaded to the gills with tricks for the rides that require it. But for the moment, I’ll refrain from putting “twenty on ten” and instead reconnect with the little girl who simply loved to ride her bike in the sunshine with friends.


7 Thoughts on “Reconnect with the FUN of Bicycling”

  • Go ‘head on then Rue! Miss J will be getting a bike for her birthday, which I am already knowing is going to make me want one too. I can just see us all pedaling up a storm… its nice to know that for the most part all I will need is a helmet and a water bottle to enjoy myself.

  • NOT THE LYCRA BOOTY SHORTS!!! LOL!!! I love it!

    Remember when we were little and we would put the Ace of Spades card in the spokes so our rides made noise when we were coming and going? And “gassing up” at the “gas station” (read: bushes). And riding for hours and hours everywhere and nowhere–and loving to explore!

    Man, those were the days.

    I asked for a bike for Mother’s Day. Maybe I can reclaim a little of that with my girls.

    Great post!

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  • My husband and I have been saying for years that we’re going to get some bikes and really start riding again. You reminded me why we want to do that in the first place – minus the padded Lycra shorts, of course 🙂

  • @Barb I sure hope we can organize a family ride with Miss J and my kiddos!

    @Denene — the booty shorts were actually a fashion statement in the 80’s — ashamed to admit I remember taking in part of that…

    @Jennae — JUST DO IT — you’ll have the time of your life!

  • Rue, I totally loved this post. Brought back great memories of my childhood when riding my bike gave me the greatest sense of pleasure and freedom. Even in college, it was a cheap and reliable way to get around. Good times, good times. I am definitely going to get a bike this year.

    Thanks!

  • Thank YOU Gloria. When you do decide to get that bike, please give me a holler — I’d love share tips on what kind of bike to buy as an adult!

  • Congrats on the site!!! This is great and yes the lycra booty shorts….yes that takes me back to my BBD(bel, biv, devoe..just in case) days!!!
    And I’m sorry, but I feel a little swell of pride when I think about who that “someone” was that ask you about why you ride your bike…, but I could be too quick to presume it was only me….:0) I have to get out of my fear of falling off the bike..that is what keeps me from even thinking about it. I definatley used to ride when I was a kid… hanging with my boy cousins, but as an adult, nah! My mother picked up the bike at a later age and has rode with the YellowJackets and participated in various races. Hmmm… an African-American womens’ riding club???? Your definatley an inspiration for “single” mothers like myself..Keep up the great work!!!!!!!!!

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