*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
My mother and I learned how to ride bicycles when I was thirty years old, and she was a bit older. Tired of being the last kids on the block to master a two-wheeled bike, we rolled a couple of antique bicycles out of storage from our garage and set about trying to balance ourselves on them. It didn't go well.
I had attempted to learn how to ride a bicycle with and without training wheels as a child. The combination of my crushing anxiety and the number of times I fell onto the hard asphalt of our driveway kept me from making any progress.
At that age, other children were riding their bikes downhill and yelling, "Look, Ma, no hands!" I had already given up.
My nephew was proficient at riding his bicycle at seven years old. When he learned my mother and I couldn't ride a bike at our advanced ages, he was incredulous.
"You can't ride a bike?" he asked. "But everyone knows how to ride a bike."
I thought to myself, if everyone knows how to ride a bike, then I want in. Maybe it's time for me to try again.
I corralled my mother into joining me. After all, we had enough rusted old bicycles in the garage to go around.
The black-and-blues and cuts and scrapes started immediately. My mother and I were both a mess. We had holes in our jeans, and it hurt when we laughed. Both of us spent more time lying on the pavement beneath our chosen bicycles than actually sitting astride them.
I decided I'd probably be better at riding a bicycle if I went out and bought a brand new one. So I did, and it was actually worse. Three days after trading in my rusty old bike for a new one, my mother and I collided while pedaling in concentric circles in the backyard.
We'd had it for good. I returned the new bicycle to the store for a full refund and left the old one parked behind the woodpile in the yard.
My mother pushed her bicycle back into storage, and we both promptly forgot any urge we had to go bike riding around the neighborhood with the wind in our hair. As it turned out, my mother and I are perfectly happy being the only two people in the neighborhood who don't ride bicycles. At least now we know how.
I am perfectly happy never riding a bicycle again.
There are plenty of other ways to get around, and bikes just don't interest me. I don't like the way they look; I don't like how they feel, and I really don't like how I feel when I'm on one.
I know some people love their bikes, and that's great for them. But as for me, I'll just stick to walking, running, driving, and public transportation. It's what works best for me.