Caroline explained “Rottnest Island doesn’t have cars, so visitors are encouraged to rent bicycles for the day. There are several brochure and website photographs showing people looking very happy as they cycle around the island without a care in the world. I had no doubt in my mind that when I visited the island I would be cycling around looking just as happy as they did.”
A British backpacker has discovered that riding a bike is not that easy if you haven’t done it for several years.
Caroline Gough who studied English Language and Linguistics at university explained “When someone is talking about a skill they can still easily perform even though they haven’t done it for a long time, they might use the simile ‘it’s just like riding a bike’.”
However Caroline has discovered rather ironically that the actual act of riding a bike after several years of not riding a bike is not “just like riding a bike”.
The discovery was made on picturesque Rottnest Island in Western Australia.
However Caroline was unaware of just how hilly Rottnest Island is. “There aren’t many roads on Rottnest, but they all seemed to be uphill,” she said. “And because it’s such a long time since I last rode a bike I wasn’t very good at tackling the hills. I’d get to a certain point and then I’d have to get off to push the bike the rest of the way up the hill.”
An elderly gentleman who cycled past Caroline with what appeared to be effortless ease whilst she pushed the bike up a hill in the 30° heat helpfully called out to her “You can use the gears you know.”
Caroline who had been using the gears told us “It’s a good thing he had cycled off before he heard my response to that.”
Caroline, who had envisaged a wonderful day of snorkelling several different bays with just a bit of incidental cycling in between, said “It was all a bit of a rush. I only managed to snorkel in one spot before it was time to start cycling back to the ferry. I don’t know where the downhill bits of the island were, but I definitely didn’t see them in all the time I was there.”
Caroline enjoyed the bits of the island that she was able to reach and was enchanted to meet the quokkas who reside on the island. “However I think I would have fared much better if I’d tried to swim round the island, rather than cycle it,” she said.
Caroline added “This is precisely why I do a cartwheel every time I go to the beach, to make sure I never forget how to do them. I’m not very good at riding a bike anymore, but at least I can do a decent cartwheel!”