How often have you heard the expression: It’s just like riding a bike? Something you used to do – and overall, do well – then you stop doing it, then you do it again. The concept is that you can just pick up right where you left off and still know how to do it. Like riding a bike. Right? Wrong.
The only thing that is like riding a bike is – well – riding a bike. And even then, if you don’t ride a bike for say, 25 years, while you may be able to get on and remember how to pedal and balance and such, those first few inches of travel are going to be a bit wobbly.
So often people say, “it’s like riding a bike,” to encourage you to try something that you used to do, but have given up for one reason or another. Say, dancing. Let’s say you used to excel at dancing but then you stop dancing. Fast forward 30 years. Sure you can get your groove on, but will you remember how to do a time step or jitterbug or a cha cha or a glissade? Maybe, maybe not. Why? Because it’s NOT like riding a bike. You lose your coordination and muscle memory takes a while to build back up.
I used to be a VERY accomplished pianist. There wasn’t a piece of music you couldn’t put in front of me that I couldn’t play. As time went by and other interests crossed my path, I stopped playing the piano as much as I used to. In fact, there’d be long stretches of time when the only time I touched the piano was to dust it. Fast forward to right now. People ask me: “Do you play?” My answer? Not well. Why? Because – guess what – it’s NOT like riding a bike. Sometimes I can’t even read that many notes at once much less get my fingers lined up on the keys properly. I mean look at what I used to play:
That is not an easy piece of music and no I most certainly cannot play it now. Because – say it with me – it’s not like riding a bike.
I think it’s funny that so many authors write this concept in their stories, but fail to understand how what they write just wouldn’t happen. For instance, how many western romances have you read where the dashing six-foot-tall best looking man to walk the planet (who also happens to be a billionaire) used to be a world champion bull rider, but is now content to stay home on his ranch and drink beer until the annual rodeo rolls around and someone – usually the heroine or an obnoxious best friend – talks the hero into signing up for the bull riding competition (I mean all the prize money goes to help orphans and widows so you can’t say no to that) only to have the now 35-year-old hero, who hasn’t ridden a bull in 10+ years not only ride for 8 seconds but gets the highest score and wins the whole damn thing? (By the way, that’s Guilherme Marchi, my favoritest bull rider ever. And yes, I do have a cardboard cut-out of him in my closet – don’t judge me.)
How many times have you read that? Lots of times (well if you read western romance you have anyway). Well let me tell you people – spoiler alert – that would NEVER HAPPEN!!! You know why? Because it’s NOT like riding a bike. It would look more like this after about a second and a half:
So, the next time you find yourself saying, ‘it’s just like riding a bike,” stop and consider – is it really?
So there you have my words of wisdom for this week. I’m not sure how you’d have gotten by without hearing the ramblings of my mind, but now you don’t have to worry because you’ve visited and you know.
What expressions drive you bonkers? Do you know of anything that really is like riding a bike? Do you even care?
Thanks for stopping by for a few minutes of silliness. Until next time – try riding a bike.
Word of the day: Vavasory
Fun fact about me: I love tomato soup but I hate tomato juice. I know – say what? Weird.
Original post by Jansen Schmidt, January 2017. Photos and images courtesy Google Images.