Just Like Riding a Bike

After my breakup with Q, I started seeing The Ex Fiancé again.

I had to admit, it felt strange. I didn’t feel like it was before, but it also didn’t feel like something new. We went out for drinks in SoHo with his friends; we went to see movies at the Bow Tie Theater in Chelsea; we’d stay in and make dinner. (Well, he would make dinner, and I would eat it.) I felt like we were finally back on track, but it also seemed stale.

In an attempt to make our relationship feel new, I decided to buy a bike. The Ex Fiancé loved riding his bike around the city: He even had a bike rack on the wall of his office, where it hung like art when he wasn’t gallivanting around. I figured it would be something we could do together, something we could bond over.

Disclaimer: I had not been on a bike since I was 15. I rode my bike to and from Godfather’s Pizza, where I was a cashier and salad bar cleaner, until I saved up enough money to buy a used 2002 Ford Focus. I never looked back.

I ordered the bike, had it delivered to a nearby bike shop to be assembled by professionals and picked it up one Saturday afternoon. The Ex Fiancé came with me, his bike in tow—we were going to jump right in and ride across the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge into the city, then through Central Park.

I tried jumping on and immediately fell over, scratching the hell out of my ankle. “The seat is too high,” I complained, trying again, barely maintaining balance. The Ex Fiancé tried it. “It’s actually low,” he said, “for me anyway. But you’re shorter than me, so this should be perfect.” He got on his bike, and we rode over to the bridge.

The phrase “Just like riding a bike” when referring to picking something back up easily is bullshit. For me, literally riding a bike wasn’t just like riding a bike. In high school I rode my bike every day. Now, I swayed left and right, breathing heavily, barely keeping up with The Ex Fiancé ahead of me, convinced my seat was too high.

The bridge wasn’t too stressful, since we were on a bike path the whole time. It was after the bridge, on the way to Central Park, that things went awry. Cars honked at me the whole way, and just when the park was in site, a red double-decker sightseeing bus cut me off. I drove up onto the sidewalk, almost taking out an entire family of Asian tourists.

I picked up my bike, looking around: The Ex Fiancé was out of site, speeding ahead without me.

I wondered if I had made a mistake, and then I wondered if I was thinking about the bike or The Ex Fiancé.

Ian-Michael Bergeron

Iowa-born writer Ian-Michael Bergeron has written his weekly column in Get Out! Magazine since 2015, as well as editorials and interviews. He lives in New York City in a one-bedroom with two cats, Alexander and Thomas, and spends most of his income on shoes.

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