Not So Easy Rider

“Happy Mother’s Day,” they shouted, as they presented my wife with… are you ready for this… a bicycle!

Yes, as in one of those non-motorized manual contraptions that some consider a viable means of torture, er, transportation. Apparently, my wife mentioned she wanted to shed a few pounds and thought biking might be fun. My only question was…

“How come there are two bikes?”

“You wouldn’t want Mom out there on the bike path all by herself, would you?” Christy asked.

I mulled this over for a second and realized this was one of those trick questions that I have had trouble with in the past. “Yes” didn’t seem right, so I took a stab at “No.”

“Good answer,” Jon said. He pushed the other bike forward.

“Oh what fun,” my wife said. “I’m going to grab a hat and then we can be on our way.”

“What? Now?” I said. “It’s getting pretty late to head out. These bikes don’t even have lights.”

“Dude,” said Patrick. “It’s like three o’clock in the afternoon.”

“But it’s windy.”

Jon tossed a handful of grass into the air. It fell straight down.

“I mean cold.” This might have been a better argument if I hadn’t been wearing a tank top and shorts.

“I’m ready!” my wife said as she skipped – yes skipped – out of the house dressed in shorts, a colorful tee shirt, a cap and sunglasses. She looked good, which I quickly used to my advantage.

“You look great, Dear, I can’t imagine why you’d want to lose any weight. Why I think you might be a bit too thin. How about I make us a pitcher of margaritas and we can sit on the back patio and reminisce on Mother’s Days gone by? We can sing. You like to sing, right? Heck, we can bring the bikes with us and admire the craftsmanship that went into making them. Whataya say?”

She grabbed her bike and hopped – yes hopped – on. How much enthusiasm can one mother of three have?

“Come on!” she yelled.

I looked at Jon, Patrick and Christy. “Golf is a great form of exercise, too, you know. You could have gotten her a putter or something.”

“You’d better hurry,” Christy said, “or you’ll never catch up.”

“Something I’m sure your macho guy friends might find amusing,” added Jon.

“It’ll be easier than my motorcycle, which you fell over on in the driveway,” Patrick thoughtfully added.

I instantly felt that memory in my derrière, as I jumped on, hoping the expression “It’s just like riding a bike, you never forget” had some semblance of truth to it.

We live one block from a bike path that goes out to Goleta Beach and UCSB. It was one of the selling points for our condo. “You can be at the beach in just moments,” the real estate agent had told us. That was true. It was less than five minutes by car, which must have been what she meant because by the time I caught up with my wife we were only halfway to the beach and I’d already (huff huff) been riding (wheeze wheeze) for at least a half hour (pant pant).

“It’s been four minutes,” my wife said.

“No way! I’ve been counting heartbeats and I figure every 300 hundred beats must be at least a minute. Sixty-five-hundred beats. That adds up to way more than four minutes.”

I felt something in my lower leg. It was an unhappy calf muscle asking what happened to the footstool and why weren’t we watching ESPN instead of circumnavigating the Earth.

“You have to learn to pace yourself,” my wife said. “Like these guys.”

A group of buff blonde UCSB coeds whizzed past us, followed by another group and yet another in what could have been a very successful ad campaign for halter tops and stretchy bicycle shorts.

“We should head back,” my wife said. “The kids are probably waiting for us.”

I watched the coeds. “But, I’m just getting my second wind…”

That’s when both of our normally dormant backs reminded us what muscle spasms were.

“I hate to admit it, but this was fun,” I said, as we pushed our new bikes back home. “We should do this again soon.”

“Yup. Right after a few medicinal Mother’s Day margaritas,” my wife said.