I never thought that the trouble I had biking as a child was funny, if anything it was traumatic. That is until my husband heard about it.
For some reason, in the four years I’ve known my husband, my history of biking has never come up. That all changed when we visited my parents recently. While we were there, they were leading a marriage enrichment program and we attended a session. To illustrate how we can often become so focused on the few negative things in marriage instead of on all the good things, my mom told this story:
“When Jane was a child and learning how to bike, she would perpetually run into the poles in the middle of the bike paths. This wasn’t just once per bike ride, this was pretty much every pole we came across. I kept telling her, ‘Don’t hit the pole!’ And sure enough, she would run right smack into the middle of it. Finally, I decided to watch what she was doing to see if I could figure out why she kept hitting the poles. I went behind her and saw that she was so focused on not hitting the pole that she was staring right at it and because she was looking at it, she hit it. She had to learn to look at the space around the pole.” Then, she continued on explaining this story in the context of marriage.
The fact that I hit poles on pretty much every bike ride made me hate biking for the longest time. There were of course, other traumatic experiences that added to this animosity for biking. Like the time I was coming around a blind corner and my brother’s friend was coming around in the opposite direction. We hit head on and he went flying over top of me. As it turns out, it wasn’t just poles that I hit.
In light of all this, you can imagine how I felt when my family decided to go on a mountain biking trip for our family summer vacation. Having raised my objections, I was outnumbered and off we went.
Although it was called “mountain biking,” it would have been more accurately described as “cow pasture biking.” We packed up and went out to a place about an hour and a half away from where we lived. Once we arrived, we looked at the map and chose what I’m sure was the longest route they had. The terrain was lumpy and scattered with cow pies. When we started, I tried to have a positive attitude by thinking, “This is alright. After all, there’s no poles to hit in this pasture.” However, as time went on and I started getting tired of being jiggled around on my bike and dodging cow pies, I started to get grumpy.
At this point, we stopped to have a drink. As I was getting back on my bike, I put my feet on the pedals, temporarily lost my balance and stepped in a cow pie. My mom responded by making the mistake of laughing. As a sensitive child who was partaking in a hated activity, I refused to keep biking. As a result, my dad ended up with a hand on his bike and a hand on my bike rolling our bikes back to our campsite as we walked.
Meanwhile, my brothers had gone on ahead of us. One of my brothers is extremely clean and tidy. As they were biking along, my brother who is known for his cleanliness biked through a cow pie. His back tire picked up that pie and flung it all over him. My other brother laughed.
The sun was pretty much set by the time we got back to our site. My brother and I smelled like cow manure and everyone else thought this was funny, that is until they had to sleep with us in the tent trailer. After this first outing, we didn’t spend much of the rest of our holiday biking and when we did bike, it wasn’t through the cow pastures.
As the years passed, I learned how to not hit poles on my bike and as a result I started to enjoy biking. My enjoyment got to the point of spending one summer going for a bike ride every day of my own accord! Now, I thoroughly enjoy a good bike ride as long as the roads are smooth and flat.
To be honest, I’m glad that my husband found my mom’s story humorous. I had never thought of my biking history this way before and getting to see it through his eyes helped change my perspective to see how funny it really is.