My Bicycle Didn’t Spook At Mailboxes

When I was a little girl I had a silver BMX bike that I named Lightning.  I pretended that Lightning was my horse.  I rode lightning all over my neighborhood, talked quietly to him and even gave him a reassuring pat from time to time.

He took me as far as my little legs could pedal, but… I wished for a real horse.  I wanted a companion, not a machine.

Bikes have a few things in common with horses:

  • You can ride them
  • They wear saddles
  • They typically get you somewhere faster than your own two feet
  • They can go lame and leave you stranded on the side of the road
  • They have a relatively low carbon footprint

That’s about where the similarities end.

Horses sometimes spook at mailboxes.  They gawk at chickens.  Sometimes they refuse to pass a real-estate sign and I’ve discovered they have strong opinions on large stumps.  They like to walk the yellow line in the street.  They seem to feel that if we walk in the center of the road we have plenty of time to notice monsters in the bushes.  Apparently the oncoming traffic is more appealing than the unknown.

Obviously bikes and horses are different.  But sometimes I run into people who haven’t noticed the discrepancy.  Often people want to jump on to their horses and ride off into the sunset without a care in the world.  They don’t even give a moments care to see if the horse wants to go.

If you are looking to build a meaningful relationship with a horse then you need to listen and respect their wishes.  Sometimes a horse wants to ride off into the sunset with you and sometimes horses aren’t interested in even passing a mailbox.

You can negotiate with a horse, just like you can negotiate with your friend.  However, if you aren’t in the mood for negotiations and you just want to enjoy a ride without hassles, you might be better to grab the bike.

To truly enjoy your time with a horse, you need to love the negotiation, the communication and the experience of building language together.  You might need to release your expectation to make it to the sunset today.  You might make it there another day.  When you do it will be a lot more fun if you go with a horse that wants to see it as much as you do.

Starting Mav on trails.

Maverick’s first big day out during his thirty days of starting under saddle training.

I’m curious, did you ever name your bike and pretend it was a horse?  If you did please share your story in the comments.  I look forward to reading them!



Photo credit: Scott Smith (SRisonS) / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Comments 8

  1. You’re so entertaining! I did have a bike, but I don’t think I named it. It was such a rattletrap that the grade 6 teacher, that we helped do projects, was always trying to wire things up so he wouldn’t be so embarassed when we came rattling and clanging to his garage. We sometimes stuck clothespins with cards on the spokes so we could make even more noise. I would’ve loved it if my bike turned into a horse! So, it meant the world to me when you helped me pick out my first pony. I must say that my bike never spooked at mailboxes like my horse, Nommy. And, Nommy always agreed with you that “a good trail was one that had an old rusty car stranded on it”. Especially since it gave her a good reason to spook.

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      I’ve never heard of using clothespins to decorate a bike, but it sounds creative. I remember putting shiny panda bear stickers out of a cereal box on my bike.

  2. I always pretended my bike was a horse. Can’t remember what I named them though… I think probably “the Black” because I was obsessed with the black stallion. I also used to pretend that my bike was misbehaving and trying to throw me off, and would praise it for going up a hill or going really fast lol

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      You’ve always been good at positive reinforcement! ha ha My bike did throw me off once, but only because I was overconfident after negotiating a trestle. I threw caution to the wind and attempted to jump a tree root. I jumped. My bike didn’t. A horse would have been better.

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  3. I love reading your articles. What a great website. My bike was actually named Lightening too ha ha and it threw me many a time as it was so big and I was so little that I could only reach the pedals with the tips of my toes. I had those streamers on the handle bars for a mane and I always said, “easy there boy” when he started going too fast down the hills. Eventually I developed some great balance and grew enough tall to reach the pedals. All the little kids in my neighbourhood also had “horse bikes” and we had lots of fun pretending to be bandits and outlaws. 🙂

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      Thanks for the comment and compliment. I think “Lightening” is a perfect name for a bike because of it’s shiny “coat”. Ha ha. Your big bike probably helped teach you balance since I’m sure the pavement wasn’t kind.

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