Then: 1. Get bike out of garage. 2. Ride.
Now: 1. Apply sunscreen. 2. Dress in sleek bike clothing i.e. Spandex shorts and top, that will not catch on the bicycle parts and will improve aerodynamics. 3. Get bike out of garage. 4. Pump up tires to 120 psi. 5. Check that all parts are working – brakes, gears, and cranks. 6. Put on safety gear – helmet, gloves and bike shoes. 7. Strap emergency gear onto bike – cell phone, extra tube, pump, energy food. 8. Adjust mirror and bike computer. 9. Turn on head and tail lights. 10. Ride.
I’m all for technology, and in no way ready to trade in my high-tech modern bike for my old coaster. But remember when you were a kid and could just go out and ride? It’s not that people lacked safety consciousness, it’s just that life was simpler then and nobody knew better. When we were kids we never thought about what would happen if we went out riding and got a flat or needed water – we just rode.
I had a second-hand coaster bike. It was a boy’s model, the only one we could find. Back then gender stereotypes were pretty entrenched, so a girl riding a boy’s bike was akin to a boy wearing a dress. My dad did the best he could to make it better by painting the bike pink and putting pink streamers on the handlebars.
My sister had a big heavy girl’s coaster bike, so heavy that I don’t know how we pushed it up the gravel driveway, let alone rode it. Her’s was considered high-tech because she had an accessory – a bike basket. This meant that we could go on a “bike hike” and carry supplies, aka food if we wanted to. So we would pack a lunch and plan a lofty trip that seemed far away, but in reality was probably about 3 miles. Our goal? To ride to the river at Huff’s bridge, sit on the banks and have a picnic. It wasn’t much of a picnic – probably peanut butter sandwiches. We couldn’t bring anything to drink because we didn’t have a canteen and nobody had water bottles back then, but kids didn’t worry about dehydration.
Today, remember something fun and simple that you did as a kid, and just do it. Jump in a pile of freshly raked leaves, play a board game, watch an old movie. Or get out an old coaster bike and just ride.