Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"It's like riding a bike", they say



When I saw that the second prompt in Alyssa's Back to Blogging Non-challenge Challenge was Your best "hold my beer" moment, I immediately knew what story I would post.  I think of myself as pretty graceful and I haven't had many moments where I've fallen or been publicly embarrassed, so this story really takes the cake for me.

Now, it should be said that I have known how to ride a bike since before I can remember.  Growing up with three younger brothers, I had to show them that I was better at them in everything so we were constantly challenging each other in foot races, roller hockey, wrestling, skateboarding, and (of course) bike riding, among other things.  We would even build our own makeshift ramps to see who could jump the highest.  Basically, I know how to ride a bike.

Fast forward about 10 years, and I'm hanging out with a group of friends in someone's garage one evening while a few of the boys do tricks on their bikes on the street (it was about the time when the whole BMX thing was big).  Anyway, so of course I had to get up and do something because watching them do little wheelies and hops made it look soooooo easy and I grew up doing that stuff.  Easy, peasy.  Never mind that I hadn't ridden a bike since I was in elementary school, because as the saying implies: once you get on the bike, you'll remember how to do it.  So, I get on the bike.

As I start pedaling, I think to myself, "Yup, I know what I'm doing now.  No problem."  I pedal down the street and turn around.  Piece of cake.  So, I try another run and pick up speed.  By the time I'm heading back up the street, I'm going pretty fast.  I want to stop.  Unfortunately, this bike doesn't have the back pedal brake that I know and love.  This bike has two hand breaks instead.  And while I know how to use the hand brake, I can't seem to remember which brake stops which tire.  In a panic, I squeeze one.

WRONG.  I pulled the handle which controls the front brake.  Because I was going so fast, the back of the bike and my body are flung forward, over the handlebars and the front tire.  I crash ungracefully in a heap on the pavement, with the bike falling on top of me and my friends saying "oh, shit" in the background.  I get up with some cuts and bruises and try to smile and laugh it off to hide the tears of embarrassment that are threatening to come out.  Thankfully, a few minutes later, someone else told a joke or did something to draw the attention off of me so I spent the rest of the evening in the background trying to keep a low profile.
Needless to say, my career in BMX didn't take off like I thought it would.  These days, I always familiarize myself with the brakes as soon as I get on a bike and I no longer go so fast or attempt to do any tricks.  Falling on my face had a way of keeping my inner daredevil contained.

Moral of the story:  bikes suck.


  1. Oof... I winced as soon as you mentioned the bike had different brakes. I knew where that was going. I was trying to think of something for this prompt and I don't know if I have any "hold my beer" moments! Not because I'm graceful (heck no!), but because I never had any cool tricks to show off and therefore they could not go horribly wrong. :P

  2. OH MAN, as soon as you said "back pedal brake" I knew exactly how this was going to end. It's so awkward to have both your body and ego bruised at the same time and try and figure out how to carry on! Glad you were able to get up and dust yourself off after that one ;)

  3. ouch. i have a similar BMX story and i haven't been on a bike since. pretty much ended the same too, i tried to laugh it off and act all cool. i immediately started crying when i left though.

  4. Oh gosh! I haven't ridden on a bike in many years. I think I would be afraid to get on one now lol. Perhaps you do forget some things. Glad you were ok though!


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