I had a bike almost before I could push the pedal down. It was a tricycle, and how I loved riding up and down our driveway! At three, anything that moves is really exciting.
In a small town one of the biggest benefits for the kids is that they are in the parade every year. We had parades that commemorated Independence Day and Pioneer Day. I was the flag lady and rode my bike like it was a serious responsibility.
When I was in the first grade I wanted a bike so that I could ride like the big kids. My mother and dad bought me a big green bike. They ordered training wheels to go along with it so that I could learn to ride faster, but they did not arrive with the bike.
I was so excited to have a bike every night I would persuade my father to go out and hold me up while we went around the house and I developed my balance so that I could ride. By the time the training wheels came, I could ride the bike and no longer need them.
My family lived at the Baker Ranger Station, where my father was the forest ranger. The ranger station was a mile out of a small town in the southeast part of Utah . Because we lived out of town, our bicycles were the mode of transportation we used when we went to school and to our friends’ houses.
We had an hour off at lunch, and I often rode home to a lovely nutritious lunch prepared by my mother. I would then ride the mile back to school. By the end of the day we had a minimum of four miles without out even thinking of exercise.
That is the kind of exercise I love — the kind you do without thinking that you are putting in your time to develop your body.
My father was transferred to Salt Lake when I was 12. I did not do as much biking because we lived in a neighborhood. When I went away to BYU I did not take my bike, and my biking days were over.
A New Beginning
Once I wrote my book Roughing it Easy, my life became a life of fast-paced travel and much stress. After the inevitable burnout from that intense stress and fast pace, I began to gain weight. I went from 180 to 326.5 pounds in about a ten-year period. I literally found my self imprisoned by my weight. I got to the point that if I was on the floor or the ground there was a question if I could get myself up.
After I did a presentation on “How to Get a Million Dollars’ Worth of Free Publicity” in California, Jackie Keller of Nutrifitonline.com came up to me and said, “I can help you lose weight.” Being from the multilevel capital of the world, Salt Lake City, I was sure that she wanted to put me in her downline to sell some magic weight loss formula. She gave me her card, and for some reason I kept it.
After going to New York and having a horrible time walking in a city that is build around walking I came home at 320 pounds and said, “This is it! I have to find some way to change my life and lose all this excess baggage.”
I found Jackie’s card, called her, and said that I was ready to go to work. Not long after I started on my journey out of body prison (when you weigh so much that you are held down by the weight of your body, you are in body prison), Jackie said to me, “You need to find an exercise that you love and will do.”
My head flashed back to my love of riding a bike. I went to a sale to buy a recumbent bike, and as I went into the showroom I saw two bikes. They looked just like the one that I had as a kid. They were $300 dollar bikes on sale for $100. I stepped up to the counter and before I knew it I said, “I will take both.” I probably only needed one, but it was good for me to have two because when I had a flat tire I could still keep exercising until I could get my flat fixed.
Biking in China
When I went to China I knew I had found my soul bike mates. China has both the world’s largest population and the world largest bike count.
I was so amazed by what they could put on a bike. Bikes are a way of life for them and for many it is their only transportation.
In most big cities you will find bike lanes just as you find car lanes. There are also bike light to help merge the bikes, cars, and buses.
You can imagine how excited I was when I got to China and learned that biking is really their way of life. In Beijing there are 14 million people and 10 million bikes. As one friend said to me when I told her how amazed I was at the biking in China , “If you are Chinese, you know how to ride a bike.”
In China in the morning you could be caught in a bike jam on your way to work. I’m not sure if they have bike rage in China the way there is road rage in other parts of the world, but there are certainly enough bicycles to justify it.
If it can be strapped on a bike sooner or later you will see it going down the bike lane.
You wouldn’t believe how much a bike can haul.
I have also seen bikes turned into barbeques, with live hot coals cooking meat kebobs. One day near the Summer Place in Beijing I bought a sweet potato from a man who had a 50-gallon drum hooked to his bike as a barbeque.
In just a week I will leave to go on the great bike experience in the USA . It is the biggest bike ride in the world. I will be one of about 20,000 bicyclists who will ride across Iowa , pedaling about 480 miles in seven days.
I will let you know if I find as many creative bikes in the US as I saw in China . Until then, get your bike out and go for a spin — just for the fun of it.