Burpees > Biking
I’ll choose Burpees over Biking every time.
Okay, before you get all up in arms - this is my story, my opinion. I have nothing against biking as a form of exercise. It’s a great workout and I honestly wish I enjoyed it, but I don’t. Here’s why.
Like most people, I learned to ride a bike at a young age, probably three or four with training wheels. Around the time I turned five, my parents took the training wheels off. I was good to go.
Apparently too good. Or at least that’s what I thought.
We were out for a bike ride in the neighborhood - me, my older sister, and my parents. It was a beautiful sunny summer day, or so I’m told. I don’t actually remember any of this, so what you’re about to read is just a retelling of a plethora of retellings heard time and time again over the years.
We were on our way back to the house, maybe a half mile away, and little 5-year-old me was on top of the world. Feeling fine, I took my feet off the pedals and shouted “I’m on top of the world” (or something like that.)
Next thing I know, my front tire hits a big tree and I fly over the handlebars and go headfirst into the tree. (I’m sure that part is a little embellished).
Here are the facts: I crashed into a tree. I broke my jaw. And the tree took two of my teeth.
Years later we all joked that we could still see the teeth in the tree… at least I think it was a joke. I never saw the teeth again.
Back to the retelling of the retellings:
There was blood everywhere. My mother took charge, commanding my sister to run and get our neighbor, who happened to be a nurse. My dad (probably) biked home as fast as he could to get the car. This was before cell-phones were invented.
They took me to a dental hospital, I think. If I wasn’t wearing my bike helmet it probably would have been much worse.
I didn’t have to get my jaw wired shut like you see in the movies. Maybe because I was still so little and my bones hadn’t fully formed yet? Who knows. All I remember is that later that summer, my family went to Friendly’s for my sister’s birthday party. I had to stay at my grandparent’s house in bed, and all I remember is begging them to let me eat just ONE french fry. I must have been so sick of ice cream at that point. Maybe that’s where my love of salty foods stems from?
Flash forward a few years, I was ready to try biking again. Still nervous, but willing to get back on the horse. I must have been seven or eight by then, and I remember one of my friends was having a biking birthday party, where everyone would go on a bike ride together.
So I got back on the bike to practice.
The day of the birthday party came, and not only were we all going biking together, but we were going on the trails through the woods. Game changer.
Was it because I was nervous or out of practice? Or was it just the root in the middle of the path that everyone else seemed to navigate over easily?
Forward I went, into the green metal pole marking the trail.
My family always makes fun of me for that detail - the green metal pole. But that pole must have haunted my dreams for the next few weeks if not more.
I didn’t break any bones that time, but I didn’t get back on a bike for a long time after that. A few small trips here and there, but for the most part, I stayed away from the bike. I loved them from afar - I dated boys that did BMX tricks and mountain biking, and I had a slight fascination with motorcycles.
When I met Jim in college, my frontal lobe was still developing, and my thirst for adventure and adrenaline was strong. He had a motorcycle. That’s the main reason I agreed to go out with him. It’s okay, he knows.
The first few rides were great. He had a 250CC, which is a pretty small motorcycle - basically a vespa. That summer, he traded it in and got himself a 1000CC.
In case you didn’t know - 1000 is a lot more than 250.
July 3rd he came to visit me and asked if I wanted to go for a ride.
OF COURSE I DID!
I was wearing a spaghetti-strap tank top, jeans, flip flops, and a crossbody purse. I remember stopping at Starbucks and some guy in the parking lot telling us to be safe. I’m sure I rolled my eyes.
On the way back, we turned around in a gas station. For some godforsaken reason, I let go of Jim. Adjusting my helmet, maybe? I wish I remembered.
Jim pulled out and onto the highway slowly, then got in the left lane and accelerated. Jim and the bike went forward. I did not.
If there had been a car behind us, I probably wouldn’t be here today.
Luckily, Jim was an EMT. He pulled over the bike and kicked into emergency situation mode. Someone pulled over to call 911. I blacked out and don’t remember anything, but according to Jim, I stood up and tried to take off my helmet, and I kept saying “this is a bad dream.”
My hyoid bone was broken, and I had road rash (like rug burn but so much worse) on my face, shoulders, wrists, knees, chest, and toes (tank top and flip flops, remember?).
Oh, and a moderate to severe concussion. Hence the memory loss.
I spent three days in the ICU. I was on a liquid diet and had a brace around my neck. I remember asking Jim to braid my hair, sticky with blood. (He did an awful job, and my friend Jen came to visit me the next day and fixed it.)
That summer was tough, to say the least. My job as a camp counselor was out the window, and I had to wear a giant hat anytime I went outside because the sun would worsen the scarring on my face.
Since then, I’ve gone on the motorcycle maybe a handful of times. Short trips, never on the highway. I hold on so tight that Jim can’t breathe. I haven’t ridden it in at least 3 years now.
“Okay - but that’s not the same as bicycling,” (you protest).
I know it’s not the same, but it just felt like a sign. Three strikes and you’re out.
I’ve tried cycling again more recently. I used to love hiking and running outside, but with my foot issues I can’t. I hoped biking would be the next best thing. This past year I had a job that was only a few miles from my house and I thought it would be a great opportunity to teach myself to like biking.
I found a cheap used bike and spent money getting it fixed up and road-ready. I used it maybe 5 times. The anxiety of being on the road with other cars was crippling for me. I tried to stay on backroads so there was less traffic, but that also means smaller roads with less visibility. I found myself holding on so tightly to the handlebars that I couldn’t break away to signal, and my arms and jaw were sore the next day from clenching so hard.
I’ve tried indoor cycling too. It’s not horrible, but it’s not fun. Much like being on a treadmill or elliptical. It’s fine for when you need a warm-up, but doing it for 30+ minutes every day is BORING! I even tried using the peloton app to take virtual spin classes - not for me. There’s just something about sitting while working out that just doesn’t make sense in my brain.
The only kind of bicycle I like are bicycle crunches.