Riding a Bike

Jean Oshima
5 min readJul 11, 2017
On a ride in San Diego
Paris
Geneva
Balboa Park, San Diego

I’m so glad that riding a bike is well, like riding a bike. No matter your age if you’re in fairly decent shape and still have pretty good balance you can ride a bike pretty much your entire life. There aren’t too many physical activities I can think of that you can say that about.

I got on a bike for the first time in almost a year the other day to demo my new bike. It was scary. Not for any particular reason I can think of other than the fact that I hadn’t been on one in so long, and the fact that I’m in a new city. And when it comes to riding a bike, especially in an unfamiliar locale, how drivers and pedestrians view the cyclist is important. Well it is to me. Maybe not to everyone, as evidenced by a recent hit-and-run just down the street from where I live, on a path I will likely frequent in the future. In my opinion the cyclist was at fault. Because he wasn’t following the law? Nope. Because he is clearly not aware of the number one law in cycling which I made up: The driver of the vehicle is ALWAYS right.

Now to many cyclists I am certain they would challenge my law and that’s okay but nothing anyone could ever say could change my mind on this. For the simply and blatantly obvious reason (or at least it is to me) that in the event of an accident, no matter the circumstances or actions of the driver of the vehicle or the cyclist, the cyclist will ALWAYS come away with more injury than the vehicle or its driver. I repeat ALWAYS.

But I digress. Back to the beautiful art of riding a bike.

So I get on this beautiful brand spanking new bicycle (see featured photo) like the biggest klutz you’ve ever seen and pedal through the parking lot and out onto the street. The owner of the bike store who helped me with my purchase (another 5 Heart Rating I’ll get to later) seemed to have loads of confidence in my ability in spite of 1) my age, 2) my tight jeans, and 3) the fact that I had on the absolute worse shoes I could have possibly worn to demo a bike. I clearly did not plan on stopping at the bike shop on my way home, dressed like that.

But here comes the reason for this 5 Heart Rating and the fact that riding a bike is truly like riding a bike. We use this analogy for so many things. “Oh don’t worry you can do it, it’s like riding a bike.” Meaning if you’ve ever done something once (ride a bike) you will always be able to do it. With ease. To me there is nothing like riding a bike. It’s an opportunity to get to and around places you would never be able to by car, it’s great exercise and actually good for the joints, and you can experience things like wind on your face, hair blowing, and control of speed whether you like to go fast or slow. I absolutely love it. Second to teaching, coaching, or playing tennis, or teaching Yoga, I enjoy riding a bike. Just me and the road. And maybe some music. Which brings me to the downside of riding a bike…

Can you believe I was stung in the tongue while riding my bike? How’d it happen? I had my earphones in (just one earphone — another rule of mine because I want to be able to hear), was singing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama at the top of my lungs when a bee decided to land on my tongue at just the perfect time. Natural reflex of course caused me to close my mouth and voila I got stung. Not the bee’s fault. I do not blame him or her.

Other than a couple of accidents one when I was 13 and another as an adult, that were both my fault and did not involve a vehicle, the bee sting is the worse thing I have ever experienced on a bike. I could spend much time making a list of all the wonderful things that have come from being able to hop on a bike.

At 57 I believe I could hang with most but usually opt to ride alone. It’s me time. Me and nature (including bees apparently). Me and music. Me and the road.

And at 57 I will be picking up the very first bicycle I have ever bought in my life. Every bike I have ever been on was given to me or shared with siblings, purchased by my dad at a yard sale. I chose the place to buy it. I chose the brand. And most importantly I chose the color. Because besides my number one rule when it comes to riding a bike and my number 2 rule to always wear a helmet which I started practicing just a few years ago after a dear friend was hit on his bike, the color of my bike is very important. And like the purchase of a new Yoga mat or tennis racket, when you know, you just know.

I just know this is the bike for me and I cannot wait to get riding in my new city.

See you on the road. Please watch out for cyclists. We are just out to have a good time. And since we break easily please brake easily when you are around us.

Just for fun I am including some photos I took on bike rides and some bike related pics.

If you’re considering getting back on a bike just do it. It really is just like riding a bike! :)

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Jean Oshima

See my blog, 5 Heart Rating at http://jeanoshima.com I am a Wellness & Wine and Special Events Producer