Thursday, May 7, 2015

Riding a bicycle

I've always found the phrase 'it's just like riding a bicycle' to be extremely annoying.  To me, that phrase can be translated to  'it's really, really, really, difficult... and might even be impossible'.  Yes, that's right, I can't ride a bicycle.  I can sit on a bicycle with my feet on the ground, and I can fall off a bicycle.  And that's the extent of my abilities.

Now, you may be familiar with a You-Tube webcast called Smarter Every Day  The webcasts are done by Destin Sandlin.  Destin is an engineer  ....

no, no, no... not that kind... this kind

.... and his webcasts include all kinds of scientific experiments.  They're generally short, they're typically amusing, they're almost always interesting.  And they're usually somewhat unique.  While I enjoyed the webcast on Laser Tattoo Removal, my favorite 'casts are Hummingbird Aerodynamics, and Flipping Cats.

Recently, Destin did a webcast on riding a bicycle.  The first thing that he did was comment that the phrase 'like riding a bicycle'  is used to mean that something  a) is easily learned, and b) once learned, it's always remembered....  and he then goes on to show how that's not true.  It's difficult to explain exactly what he had to do... it involved a modified bicycle, and re-teaching his brain how to ride the bicycle, and then he couldn't ride an un-modified bicycle....  Well, if you're interested, click on the webcast link and look for Backwards Brain Bicycle.

But the point is, that riding a bicycle isn't this simple, never forgotten skill.  To all those who've laughed at me for not being able to ride a bicycle, I say HAH!   and So There!!

I briefly considered trying to popularize the phrase 'as easy as making a cup of tea'.  But the truth of the matter is that while anyone can make a cup of tea, it takes some skill to make a good cup of tea.  And if you're not going to make a good cup of tea, why bother?  I suppose you could say that making a good cup of tea is like riding a bicycle..... but I'd rather just make a good cup of tea.  And so I shall.


  1. I've always heard "easy as falling off a bicycle" which is pretty easy in some cases!
    I make tea, but no doubt I don't do it right, but I don't have refined tea-tastebuds.

  2. It's one of those things that's easy if you can do it.