I hate exercise.

I understand the health benefits and I am all for doing my part to boost the possibility of living a nice, long life, but I am not going to be happy about it. I guess this is why I have always been drawn to sports. At least there is some level of competition masking the exercise instead of just physical exertion for the sake of it.

When I met my wife, we quickly realized that most of the sports we grew up playing separately would not work for a fun, couple activity. I mean, I can’t kick a soccer ball to save my life and one-on-one basketball doesn’t seem very fair with a ten-inch height difference.

So, a few years ago, we came up with the brilliant idea to start riding bikes together. (Truth be told, I was just looking for a break from all the running we were doing, but you can read about that in another post.) So, being the extremely cheap, cycle virgins that we were, we headed to Wal-Mart to purchase our gear.

Let’s see here…the largest bike they have seems to be made for an average sized eleven year old, so, yeah…I guess that will work for me. My wife, who has actually been mistaken for an eleven year old, should be able to use the same bike but in pink, of course, so I think we’re set there. Grab a few helmets for safety; order a bike rack for the car from walmart.com and I won’t have to run another step in my life.

Mission accomplished, right? Wrong.

After installing the rack, which was woefully under-padded on the parts that dug into the paint on the trunk of our car, we strapped the bikes on, crossed our fingers and said a prayer that we wouldn’t see them tumbling down the highway behind us as we glanced into our mirrors.

Once we arrived at the lake and I was finally able to exhale after seeing the bikes still attached to our car, we started grabbing our gear and the excitement began to mount. This was going to fun. The two of us. Riding side-by-side around one of the most scenic areas of Dallas. Our love growing stronger with each peddle of the bike as the humming of the tires whispers its congratulations for the brilliant idea that has helped to bring this married couple back into a stage of teenage romance.

My wife gracefully glided through the parking lot toward the paved trail before beginning what can only be described as the pure embodiment of harmony between woman, machine and nature.

I watched in awe as I finished adjusting the helmet that appeared both too large, and strangely too small for me at the same time. Finally, I was ready and I stepped onto the bike (because climbing was clearly not necessary) and let it roll down the same lot toward the trail where my beloved was soaking in the cool summer breeze that kissed her angelic face as she rode (Is that poetic enough?).

Eager to catch up, I placed my feet on the pedals and began to push.

Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud.

My knees rammed into the handlebars with every turn of the pedal.

Not wanting to see our grand plan come to an end so quickly, I attempted to press on by spreading my knees as far apart as physically possible while pedaling. Other than looking like I had just escaped from a nearby circus, it actually worked for about fifteen yards, but I couldn’t see that being a long-term solution.

We decided to see if a local bike shop could help us out by adjusting the height of the seat and handlebars. After taking a quick look at the bike and then giving me the once-over, this was his response; “I can make the adjustments, but if you keep riding this bike, you’re gonna need knee surgery in six months”.

Realizing that he could have just been trying to push me into buying one of his bikes, but too scared to call his bluff, we packed up all of our new equipment and headed home.

We were both bummed that it all came to such an abrupt end, but we learned an important lesson that day.

Wal-Mart will let you return anything.

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