People like to say that one never forgets how to ride a bike.
Skipping the back story, I was invited to go bike riding this past Sunday. I liked the idea. Indianapolis has a rapidly growing bike culture that I have yet to participate in.
Two recent phenomena in town made the evening bike ride appealing. First is the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. This network of downtown pedestrian and bike paths connects various shopping, dining, and cultural destinations. The second is the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare program. One can rent a bike from any of several stations downtown, ride it locally, and return it to any of the other stations.
As it happened, the bike ride plans fell through. But I wanted to try out the bikeshare anyway, just to see if I could make it work. So I put on my exercise clothes, drove myself downtown, parked my car, and walked to a bikeshare station. The program must be off to a good start, there was only one bike available.
I passed the intelligence test of the computer that rented the bike to me. I pulled it off the station with great satisfaction.
Only then did it occur to me that I was standing in a public place with a bicycle. I haven’t ridden a bike since I learned to drive a car. That was four presidencies ago.I straddled it like a pro. I could stand there holding it all day. I successfully adjusted the seat for my height.I seemed to recall that I was supposed to start by pushing the pedal and lifting myself off the ground, simultaneously. More easily remembered than done.I did not, as you may suspect, fall on my face. Or any other body part for that matter. I rolled the bike in a small arc before I hopped off again and thought, How the hell did I think I was going to do this with other people?
I thanked my stars that I was alone. I made a toddler-esque loop around a parking lot, pumping my arms like mad and locking my knees. Somehow that seemed backwards.
My pride wouldn’t let me stay in the parking lot. As luck would have it, I found a straight, underused section of bike trail adjacent to the interstate. I made a few laps back and forth to tame my flailing limbs. With that warm up, I screwed my courage to the sticking place and ventured onto the Cultural Trail amid the pedestrians, vehicles and other targets.
I enjoyed exploring downtown without my car. One misses so many details by driving — plants, sounds, houses, stores and entire streets wash by. I found art installations, balcony gardens and lots of other bikers. I discovered that the Cultural Trail runs down a quaint alley underneath the raunchy gift shop attached to a gay bar. Who knew?
I might apologize to you for my long break from blogging. I’m actually still in the midst of my other projects. But I’d like to get back to writing. It’s cathartic for me, even if it’s a chore for you. In rereading some of my older posts, I found I can be rather depressing. I do apologize for that.
I suppose blogging counts among the things that are as memorable as riding a bike. But I always have trouble making time to write. Judging from my wobbly sea-legs after gracelessly dismounting the bike, I not sure how soon I’ll get back to either riding or writing.