When I was a kid I had a little red bike named Ladybug. My best friend Brooke and I liked to pretend that our bikes were horses and we’d ride around on our valiant steeds with the pack of neighborhood kids. I can still remember when we had to sell Ladybug, because she was way too small for me. I got a new fancier bike but I don’t remember riding it much. We were older and riding a pretend horse wasn’t cool. All the neighborhood kids hit middle school and alliances shifted and we didn’t play together so much anymore.
As an adult I’ve never been a biker. I have a lot of stamina for walking (about 8 years ago I did the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day and walked 60 miles) and I enjoy it for the most part and it’s my preferred method of exercise. I’ve always found biking difficult, partially because it uses muscles I’m just not as used to. However, three years ago we bought a bike for me and a bike and trailer for H. to use with the thought we could go out with the kids. We went out a few times that summer and then my bike sat unused until just a few weeks ago.
The house we moved to in May is very close to a great bike trail. The boys have been out almost daily since we moved here. A few weeks ago I decided to get my bike out and try it again, mostly because I thought that it would be good for me to add something different from walking to the exercise I do.
The thing that has surprised me is how much fun it has been. I’ve only been out 4 or 5 times so I might be singing a different tune in a few months but it doesn’t feel as much like exercise as it does like fun.
I watch my boys on the playground or on their bikes and they are in constant motion. Climbing, running, racing, jumping, swinging, biking. They are so confident in their bodies and in their abilities. I never really was like that, even as a kid. I was more the kid who read a book during recess if I could get away with it. PE was my least favorite subject elementary through high school.
I’m glad my kids seem more confident and that they think of physical activity as fun and not work, so far. I’m trying to emulate them a little more. To go out for a bike ride because it feels neat to go fast down a hill rather than because it’s good exercise. To dance around the living room because it’s funny rather than because it burns calories. To walk because it’s fun to explore rather than because it gets your heart rate up.
I’ll always be that girl who would rather read a book than go for a jog. But one great thing about having kids is that it allows you to reinvent yourself a bit. And have fun doing it.