Cycle of life

Today I decided to test the notion that you never forget how to ride a bicycle. In my case it had been about 20 years since I last rode a bike, so it seemed plausible that I might actually have forgotten. It turned out that while I was pretty inept when I got on the bike today, I was almost certainly better than I would have been had I never learned in the first place. It took intense concentration, but I managed to avoid falling over, colliding with anything, or ending up in the Hudson River (it turns out the trail has no guardrail between about 100th and 125th streets).
Some thoughts about the re-learning process:

  • Turning is harder than I remembered.

  • Actually, just going in a straight line is harder than I remembered.
  • Bicycle seats are uncomfortable.
  • Sharing the road with the New York City taxicab fleet is a somewhat terrifying prospect. Waiting until I got to the bike trail before I attempted to ride was a very good idea.
  • However, the riverside trail on a warm Saturday afternoon has its own hazards: hordes of pedestrians, some of whom are not very attentive.
  • Being an obviously incompetent cyclist in front of those hordes of people is embarrassing, but not as much as, say, walking through Times Square in a Starfleet uniform to see the new Star Trek film. Not that I have any experience with that.

I used a rented bike today, but I’m contemplating buying one. Anyone know a good bike shop in Manhattan?

9 thoughts on “Cycle of life

  1. Nick

    I started biking again recently, although I need either to get a new bike or clean up the one I have. The current one suffers from an uncomfortable seat, a rusted transmission, a shifter that doesn’t, and a front brake that did. It’s still really fun to ride, though, and picking it up again is surprisingly easy.
    The biggest troubles I’ve been having are with signaling (I need both hands to steer), and with confidence to be on main roads. The only thing crazier than the drivers around here are the cyclists and pedestrians.
    I’d like to start partially commuting by bike. Getting in and out of Somerville around rush hour is a nightmare, but by bike it’s not so hard. A friend of mine lives a few miles away and works a couple of buildings down from me, so hopefully I can get in a habit of biking to his place and carpooling in from there. I could certainly do with the exercise.
    I saw Star Trek last night in an IMAX theater — it was a lot of fun!

  2. Wren

    I finally learned, having somehow missed that particular rite of childhood. So now I practice by cycling around the local cricket pitch. (Learning to ride in Britain is exeptionally peculiar, since the traffic patterns are all the reverse of the US.)
    I got a used bike and have up/downgraded various bits to suit. I think it’s worked out a bit cheaper than buying new and has the benefit of looking too awful to steal.

  3. JSpur

    I have only one memory of your bike riding career as a boy and it has its own boxed and starred entry in the “Annals of Fatherhood Horror Stories.”

  4. Arcane Gazebo

    Mason: Would you believe that none of the 18 friends and coworkers I saw the movie with had a camera? Probably not. Ok, I could post the pictures, but making them available on the internet might ensure that I never date again. Sure, I don’t date much to begin with, but it’s nice to have the option.
    JSpur: I do have a few memories of childhood bike riding, but that exact moment when I went over the handlebars is especially vivid.

  5. Mason Porter

    Can I get a picture of the childhood incident too? 😉 How about sending a picture directly by e-mail for those of us who have no interest in dating you anyway. (Also, dating is overrated, and I imagine that anybody who would ever get that close to me would probably want to see pictures in which I look stupid.)

  6. Justin

    Pictures!! And isn’t your uniform Next Gen? Or do you have a wardrobe appropriate for every era? :-)
    Along the lines of what Mason said, you seem to be dealing with the wrong pool of potential dates if cool trekkie pics would count against you rather than working in your favor.

  7. Arcane Gazebo

    Well, I made the dating comment mostly in jest. But seriously, I look like a dork in these pictures so I’m not posting them for all the Google-capable world to see. I can e-mail them upon request. And it is a Next Gen uniform but I felt it was still appropriate.
    As for the childhood incident, no pictures were taken but unless you like blood and gore, you don’t want them.

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