This article was previously published on Two Kids and A Map by Aventura Ambassador Jennifer Close.
“It’s as easy as riding a bike,” she said.
We had spent the last twenty minutes strolling from the streets of the Old Market in Omaha, Nebraska to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. The plan was to walk across the bridge so that we could stand in two states at once. The bridge crosses the Missouri River and connects Omaha, Nebraska to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Smack dab in the middle of the Missouri River is the state line and it is celebrated by a plaque that highlights this line on the bridge. We were about to arrive at the foot of the bridge when my sister was distracted by a B Cycle station.The
The B Cycle station is a bike sharing system. You pay to rent a bike and then you can return it within your allotted time to any station in town that has open spots. Marissa immediately tried to lure me into a bike ride back to the Old Market.
“Absolutely not,” I shrieked, “that is not going to happen.”
“Why not? Come on! It’s as easy as riding a bike,” she said.
As I tried to distract her with the excitement of standing in two states at once, I was thinking about the last time I rode a bike.
I had let my kids and husband push me into purchasing a beach cruiser and when we got it home, it was time to try it out. I hated every minute of it. It had been years since I had ridden a bike and I weighed a lot less then. I was uncomfortable, self-conscious, and I was having a very difficult time keeping up with my family. That was the last time I rode that bike and it collected dust until we gave it away.
Sixty pounds lost and a couple of years later, I find myself staring at the B Cycle station.
The bright blue bikes were mocking me. You can’t do this. You still need to lose 40 pounds. You put five pounds on since going back to work. You haven’t kept up your workout regimen. You will surely die when you can’t pedal fast enough across the street.
All of these things and more played through my head the whole time that we walked along the bridge. A couple of pictures later and a stroll back down to the foot of the bridge and we were staring at those darn blue bikes again.
“We are going to do this,” said Marissa as she read the directions on the pay station.
It looked like there was no way around it so I took the bike out of the docking station.
Beep, beep, beep. That was the sound of the second bike waiting at the ready.
I hopped on with little grace and pedaled around the flat sidewalk for a few minutes. I stumbled just once while we did a couple of turns in a nearby parking lot and then we were off.
“I probably look ridiculous, don’t I?” I yelled up to her, still worried about how I looked.
“You look like somebody who is having a great time,” she said over her shoulder.
That gave me pause. I could feel the smile set on my face. She was right. I was having a good time. I didn’t need to worry about what anyone else around me was thinking. I still have forty more pounds that I would like lose. None of this mattered. I was enjoying myself.
As we pedaled down the sidewalks, we both giggled like school girls. We were those tourists laughing out loud as we tried to snap a selfie (oh, yes we did).
And I felt like a little piece of myself was set free.