Originally published in The Cliffhanger.
By Jenn Schleich
The expression “It’s just like riding a bicycle,” has never bothered me before, but today something crossed my desk that made me loathe it.
There is a general misconception about the meaning of the phrase, which is supposed to indicate that some things, once learned, aren’t forgotten. Instead, it’s often accompanied by the implication that you’ll always be able to do it well, which is certainly not true.
Once you’ve learned to ride a bicycle, you aren’t likely to forget. You could go two months, two years or twenty and still be able to climb up on that seat and peddle away; but how well? You certainly won’t be winning a gold medal. Even if you were once a practiced and seasoned rider you simply won’t pick up right where you left off.
Being out of shape is a term that applies to all manner of skills and hobbies. It applies to writing and art, it applies to math and science. Natural talent can only take a person so far, practice is the difference between making it to the finish line and making it to the finish line first. If you are going to shelve your trade or talent and fail it to give it the practice it requires, then don’t think of it in this regard, don’t expect to hop on and peddle to a first place finish…