Recently I took a weekend trip to Galveston, TX. Against my will, and only out of peer pressure, did I get on that 2 person bike. I was against the bike idea for multiple reasons:
- Appearing “touristy”
- Exercise on vacation [yuck!]
- Most importantly – fear
I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was 8 years old. I don’t like anything where my feet aren’t firmly planted on the ground. This includes bikes, planes, skateboards [which I tried for about a week in the 8th grade] and even cars. Yes, cars.
Now, this wasn’t a traditional 2 person bike. It was more like a carriage [minus the horses]. The riders sat shoulder to shoulder, rather than one person in front of the other, and it came equipped with a yellow shade like top. The passenger’s seat steering wheel [which I got stuck with] didn’t have any control, but still turned on a swivel. After we paid for the hour rental and left our IDs it was time to start the ride. Except for one thing: I really didn’t feel ready.
Before we could even begin we needed to get the bike out of the parking lot and across the street to the boardwalk. I was adamantly in favor of walking the bike across the street [yes, I’m serious]. But before I had time to develop a plan Ingrid fearlessly jumped in the driver’s seat and started pedaling.
I didn’t actually make it on the bicycle until it was out of the parking lot and at the cross walk. When I finally got on [with GREAT hesitation] the green flashing man immediately told us it was time to cross. All I could do was pedal and spin my steering wheel [which did absolutely nothing] in a frenzy as I yelled “be careful” and “OMG hurry” and then “we have to stop, NOW!” I was in a literal panic – screaming, shrieking, squealing [way more embarrassing than appearing “touristy”] – that we were going to hit a car or a person or a dog or the curb.
Then something happened.
I started laughing. A lot.
I have to say that I haven’t laughed that hard in months, maybe even a year. At that moment I realized that there is no better laughter than laughing [genuinely] at yourself.
Sometimes in the face of fear all we can do is throw our hands up, laugh and proclaim “it is what it is!” Am I still afraid of bicycles? Sure. But next time [and there WILL be a next time], I will start with the laughter instead of the panic.
I’m know I will need a reminder [as we all do] to laugh at myself every now and again, but I will never forget that 2 person bike.