Cycling, more than any physical activity, sends me back to my youth. Whee! Bikes give kids freedom to get places and to do things, away from the adult world. See here.
Susan and I got a taste of that feeling on this cruise. The ship anchors and we take the tender to shore. But when you get there you’ve got your choice of organized group activities (catamarans, picnics, snorkeling in the reef, visiting vanilla farms) or heading out on your own. We’ve done some of the group stuff but some of the time it feels good to get away from all the people and explore.
The difficulty with heading out on your own is that my legs only take us so far. See here for an update about my knee. And there’s only so much time The beach in Bora Bora, for example, was 7 km from the pier. It was definitely too hot to walk. We could rent a car, but really, no.
Instead twice now we’ve rented bikes. They’re island bikes, the most basic of bikes. They’re cruiser style bikes with back pedal brakes. There are no speeds and no fancy gears. You just pedal and go.
Also, no helmets! Some Americans from the ship scolded us for riding without helmets. We felt like bad kids.But really no one here is wearing a helmet.
At home I have specialized bikes, a bike for each thing. I have a track bike, a fat bike, an aero road bike, another road bike, an adventure road bike that I use for commuting. You get the idea. This is not that kind of biking.
So on Bora Bora we hopped on our bright green cruisers and wheeled away. Whee! I loved riding with the locals most of whom use bikes as transportation. There were bikes with multiple kids hanging onto parents riding into town. Lots of kids riding by themselves too, with no adult in sight.
With no fancy bike shoes we could hop on and hop off at ease. With kick stands we could just set the bike upright and stop to look at roadside stands and festivals.
Yes, there was a fair bit of car and truck and bus traffic on the same road but no one was going anywhere fast. People seemed used to bikes on the road. We felt pretty safe.
Of course we stopped at the beach to swim and to rest! And when we were ready, not when the group was ready or the clock said so, we biked back into town. Freedom. Whee!