‘On the couch’ with Jasminda

DEAR Jasminda,

My husband bought me a bike for my birthday so we can share an activity together.

I’m a bit nervous as I rode bikes when I was young, but I haven’t ridden for years.

Any tips?

Mandy P.

Dear Mandy,

There’s a saying, ‘it’s like riding a bike’ meaning it’s a skill that stays with you, but if you haven’t ridden since you pretended you were a BMX Bandit back when Nicole Kidman had red hair and freckles, then I’d do a bit of preparation.

Firstly, get used to the seat.

A bike seat is about as comfortable as riding bareback on an emaciated mare.

Few things can make your ride less enjoyable, so if the seat isn’t adequate, you should consider swapping it for one with more padding.

Alternatively you can buy bike pants with gel inserts, which have the added advantage of giving you a Brazilian butt lift without the cost.

Secondly, take a water bottle and have your bike fitted with a bottle holder.

Riding is thirsty work, and unlike the Tour de France, where cyclists toss their bottles to the wind, yelling, ‘je suis rapide et insouciant,’ a bottle holder will ensure you are well hydrated and environmentally responsible.

Thirdly, make sure you are wearing a sturdy helmet.

Not only is this compulsory, but it will help when runaway dogs, joggers wearing headphones, and road rage enthusiasts cross your path.

Start on some easy bike paths and don’t attempt any of the tricky moves you mastered as a kid (your question has reminded me that we used to ride down suburban streets with our feet on the seat. Where were our parents?).

Best of luck,

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