I have a hard time imagining ever NOT having a bike in the household at any time in the future. However, turns out there are plenty of folks who have the exact opposite sentiment. In fact, I made a joke about my daughter having cyclophobia the other day, and it appears that there is an actual phobia regarding bikes. It may be a disease striking close to home for myself as well. Read on….
According to Anxiety Insights, cyclophobia is an abnormal and persistent fear of bicycles. While I think it’s not quite that severe for her, my 15 year old daughter will not get on a bike…she just won’t. I’m not super comfortable in water, and have never really learned how to seriously swim, and I often blame a near-drowing incident I had when I was 7 in the Willamette River. My daughter would likely point to a similar incident she had on a bike…although I personally don’t see it as quite so harrowing.
A few years back, we quickly purchased some bikes for a camping trip for our kids that didn’t already have one. My wife found a 70’s era Schwinn that was probably a bit too tall for her, complete with super skinny tires. While out on a ride around the LaPine State campground on paved trails, the group decided we’d take a detour on some ‘trails’ that turned into loose sandy paths, which were hard to control on anything with less than big nobby tires. The sun was beating down, and we were probably at the end of the endurance period for the kids, and my eldest was having a hard time controlling her bike in the sand, and was not enjoying any of it. Throw in the fact that the trail was a loop around the lake, with a decent drop off a few yards over, and she was done. Seriously, done.
We told the group to push on, and we turned back to camp, off our bikes, pushing them in the sun — me with an infant sleeping and sweaty in the bike seat on the back. My daughter never got back on her bike, and has never been on once since.
I’ve joked several times since that I could build an Xtracycle, and she could simply ride on the back deck, happily texting her friends — her most normal pasttime — but she has no interest.
I’ve also half-joked that we could get an adult trike for her, but she’s not biting there either. She routinely gives me reasons why bikes are unsafe, why she doesn’t want to ride them, and why cyclist in general should be afraid that she will soon be another crazy teenager on the road behind the wheel.
She does have a good attitude about it all though. We put Share The Road plates on the car she’ll be driving next year, and her friends gave her an “I Like Bikes” button that she has on her school bag every day. I’m sure she knows how much her father LOVES all things bike, and is going along with most of it as best as she can.
How will I ever get her back on a bike? I have no idea? I hope someday she’ll be able to find enjoyment in it, and get out on the road, path, indoor track, driveway with us again! Any suggestions? Send them my way.