Friday, August 27, 2010


After years of experiencing all the symptoms and never knowing why, I finally have the right diagnosis: CYCLOPHOBIA.

I hate riding bikes.

Don't shun me. I know I'm alienating myself from 85% of my American peers by telling the truth, but you know what? You can't like everything, and I've already made room in my life for such universally-loved activities as Office marathons, cookie-making, playing with babies, listening to Michael Buble, running, travelling, taking pictures, hanging out with friends, etc. Let me hate bikes, ok?

Me right before the crash landing on my face incident.
Note the lack of helmet. I thought I was so cool.
I have my reasons. The bike crash at age 11 that handed me severe road rash for a month and a 2" scar on one knee forever. The slight concussion I got after losing control of my (borrowed) bike and sliding down a concrete hill on my face. Never being able to pop a wheelie or successfully get airborn on a bike. The date where we biked 22 miles and I couldn't sit down properly for 4 days. That time we tried to bike to the coast in Belgium and had to give up after four sweaty hours without seeing an inch of coastline (jerky lying bike rental owner guy...). Oh, and the most effective cyclophobia trigger ever: I never transitioned to operating bikes with gears. I have no idea how they work, despite several friends' best efforts to teach me.  Is there some magical amount of pedalling I'm supposed to be doing at all times that shifting the gears takes care of magically? Which gear knob goes up when I go uphill again? I still haven't got a clue. And in most of my attempts, I just end up making more work for myself and destroying my thighs and my butt-bones and in some cases, the bike chain itself. Meep. :) 

I don't know what was up with my hair, but look!
There's my beloved Volcom hoodie that I will be resurrected with some day. <3.
My sole happy biking memory came in 2007, when we had to ride bikes through the Netherlandish woods to get to the gorgeous, intimate modern art museum, the Kroller-Mueller. I was riding the kind of bike that 8-year-olds typically rock, the kind that has one gear, where to brake you just have to push the pedals backwards. It was pure serendipity, I felt like Maria von Trapp and I definitely broke out with "Do Re Mi" in the middle of the woods. Ah, bliss. That was the day I unexpectedly came upon the live version of van Gogh's Cafe Terrace at Night, one of my favorite paintings ever. Mmm big cheesy grin while remembering that day...

Ahem. Like I said, I finally put the puzzle pieces together. Cyclophobia. The symptoms:

- walking everywhere and wishing fervently for a longboard

- demurring whenever your father asks you why you don't get a bike, and issuing the lazy-man excuse that "I never know what I want/I'll get one when I'm richer/when it's warmer/when I stop knowing how to run!"

- making snide remarks about those serious bikers walking around with the padded-butt shorts and clip shoes and winged helmets, er, aerodynamic safety gear. Seriously, you look RIDICULOUS, dude!!!

- excessive fear of pro bikers making fun of me as I toddle along on borrowed bikes

- inexplicable annoyance with the following otherwise perfect wedding announcement:
Get off!
- inability to tell the difference between a Craigslist junker, a mountain bike, and one of those $2000 numbers with 500 gears and laser-guided speedometer/gps/rocket launcher systems. (I DO know, however, that a good beach comber has a little metal fin over the back wheel and no gears and sometimes a basket and a bell and bright colors, which makes it my favorite if I had to choose one).

- Excessive whining during a jaunty bike ride along the gorgeous GW trail.

- Visions of losing control and plowing head-on into rush hour traffic on the GW Parkway that's right alongside the GW trail.

- Excessive fear of running over twigs.

- Excessive fear killing squirrels

-Avoidance of friends' bike gangs by invoking homework, tiredness, or a fake date

-Strangely enough, no fear of blowing a tire. Does that even happen with bikes? No, don't tell me, I don't want to know.

To anyone else who might be a secret sufferer of cyclophobia, I'm writing today to tell you you're not alone. In fact, speak out! We deserve to be heard! Bikes are scary and when you crash on them you hurt your head because you don't have time to get your feet under you like you do on a board and my quads hurt and I hate looking like a sissy walking my bike up this hill but there's no other way because my quads are literally burning through my shorts and look out for that car!!!! I'm so unprotected out here on this stupid hunk of tiny metal and rubber tubes, and that leaf is going to make me flip over and OW that was a big bump, I don't think I can have babies anymore, and I HATE BIKING!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happily, there is a cure for Cylcophobia. Its name is Car.


Raunee said...

I never learned to ride a bike, and I've never felt like I was missing out on anything! Chris said that one day he's going to get me a 3 wheeled adult bike. Ha! Great! Then I'll be old and look stupid all at the same time!

Kalisha said...

Gotta love this! I also rather loved our biking adventures in Europe, although admittedly shorter flat trails are much more enjoyable (like on the way to the Kroller Muller). Although I like biking, I dread biking in cities. I can't stand navigating traffic and am afraid of running into people (which I did in Bruges by the way). Also, I never know what to wear when biking! If you wear regular clothes, then you feel underprepared and are sweaty, but bike gear is just too crazy. This is certainly a dilemna!

Judy Anne said...

AMEN! Bikes and Horses...not for me! I like my car or a good strong 4-wheeler! Power to the Cylcophobian!!

Marissa said...

Oh darling.. I have this secret desire to ride around Richmond on a bike. Not a fancy bike for cyclists, but a beach comber. It seems so whimsical, but I don't think I could slow down THAT much. It would take A LOT of patience and A LOT of free time.

Either way - you look adorable pre-eating it in Vegas. Also love the red rocks!

MOM said...

It's name is Car.'re so funny. :)

Jayci said...

SOOOO funny. I don't own a bike. If I own one, I want a rain shield, and preferably only a few gears.. if any. I don't like riding on hilly roads. If I live in Oklahoma, I'll get one. Until then... oh! or if I live at the beach. But, I don't see that happening any time soon. :( Have you seen the kind that have kid-buckets on the back? That would be nice. "Get in kids, we're gonna waste some time." I do like driving Car though. So nice. And fast.

Erin said...

Linds. Did you know that I had cyclophobia for YEARS? I don't think I rode a bike from the age of 11 to the age of 21, when, as you outlined, I had the most magical bike experience OF MY LIFE. I am not kidding. That ride to the Kroller-Mueller changed me forever. It was pure bliss.

And when we got home, I bought a beach cruiser. Because like you, I never figured out gears. This one doesn't even have hand brakes, and I love it. That being said, I do not ever plan on strapping on bike pants and a helmet and whizzing down highways, or riding in the lane WITH the cars and doing ridiculous hand signals, or going up or down mountains on my bike.

It is pink, it has a basket, and it has a bell. And I think that you would be into it, honestly.

I really loved this.