New Favorite Word – Velocipede

– a lightweight wheeled vehicle propelled by the rider


“Guess what! I got a bicycle!”

As a response to this incredulous statement, my co-worker replied, “You got a bicycle?” Translation: “At your age; are you crazy? You’ll crash and burn.”

She may have a point, but I don’t care.

I treated myself to an Electra Townie meant to be ridden on suburban streets, not on rocky Moab trails or cross-Kansas treks. (Salute to a serious cyclist, my bike-loving brother Russ.) My velocipede has big tires, a comparatively comfortable seat, a handy rack suspended over the back tire, and the frame is such that I ride sitting up straight, not leaning forward. It also has seven gears, and thanks to my eight-year-old grandson who ran alongside me shouting, “You’re doing good, Gran,” I have learned that seven gears are vastly superior to one.

So far, I have found that the phrase, “It’s like riding a bike,” used to explain that something once learned can’t be unlearned, isn’t entirely sound. Except for a brief and scary ride in 2010, I haven’t been on a bicycle in decades. (My cycling skills on that ride along a medieval wall in Luca, Italy were tenuous at best. Ask my daughter.) And hand brakes and gears were never part of the equation until now. But we have moved to a bike-friendly neighborhood, and I will learn grind-free gear switching, that suddenly clamping down on the hand brakes may cause unintended consequences, and to cope with how silly I look in a bike helmet. And maybe, in time, riding a bike will, in fact, be “like riding a bike.”


“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ~Albert Einstein.





2 thoughts on “New Favorite Word – Velocipede

  1. You’re an inspiration, Marlene. I may have to join you on my red vintage-style Raleigh with white sidewalls. I could wobble along behind you.

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