29 January 2011
Post 308: One More Theory About Happiness
So...I never learned to ride a bike. Oh, I had one, but I never got past the training wheels stage. Part of this may have been my fear of falling. I have always been cautious about my footing and balance when hiking or even just walking down the street. I often hesitate before taking my first step, and sometimes this has actually caused more falls than it has prevented. This fear likely occurred because my awkward stage started earlier than most of my peers and lasted up until I was about twelve (when I stopped having huge growth spurts).
In any case, this did not bode well for me learning to ride a bike to begin with. The second factor was that my parents bought me a bike I would "grow into". It was not quite an adult bike, but it was definitely built for someone taller than my five-nearly-six-year old frame would allow. Sure, I was tall for my age, but the pedals were an awful long way away, and the ground was even further off. By the time I had grown into the bike I had already given up ever learning how to ride, mostly because I fell often, and when I fell someone was usually around to laugh at me... and it was usually my father.
In some ways I regret never having learned. On the other hand, I've surely avoided some pretty severe accident just by not putting myself on two precariously balanced wheels. While I may not have had an accident like Guest's that would have left me a quadriplegic, I may still have broken or fractured bones (I already had enough of those just walking...awkward phase was REALLY awkward), or even been hit by a car like my mother was.
I do think it's something I'd like to learn, but I'm not sure I'm really in a hurry. I've gotten through life pretty well without knowing how to ride a bike so far. Besides, America isn't really built for biking anyway. Maybe when gas goes up to $5/gallon and we start seeing more bikes on the road I'll be more inclined. People are just too careless, encased in their ton or so of car, for me to ever feel safe on something so fragile and spindly. I do sometimes wonder if I missed out on some social opportunities as a kid because I couldn't ride a bike. Then again, I don't recall ever being asked to go for a bike ride with anyone...
A decent review can be found over at the Bookslut blog. I gave it two stars and a waffle (on Goodreads two stars is "it's okay".)
LibsNote: Free copy received from the publisher's booth at ALA 2010.