Motivation is sometimes the most difficult part of exercising. In an effort to make exercising more appealing and an activity we could do together, my husband and I bought bicycles. The last time either of us owned a bike we didn’t have driver’s licenses or high school diplomas. After a 25 year hiatus, we were looking forward to riding again. The bikes would give us a good excuse to explore different parks while getting some exercise, but traveling with them was a time consuming process. We needed to change the interior configuration of our car and partially disassemble the bicycles to get them inside. Once we arrived at our destination, we needed to reassemble the bikes. At first the novelty of riding in a new location was enough to justify all of these extra steps. It didn’t take long before the novelty wore off, so we decided to buy a trunk-mounted bike rack to expedite the process. Once the rack was attached to the car, we’d be able to just secure the bicycles and we’d be on our way.

Little did we know that before we could begin our aerobic exercise, we’d need to warm up with an exercise in frustration. During medieval times, the rack was used to torture people. While the use of that particular type of rack fell out of favor hundreds of years ago, my husband and I have discovered that the modern day trunk-mounted bike rack could be classified as an instrument of torture.

In the hopes of sparing anyone from the same torture we experienced, I offer you this user-friendly guide to surviving an encounter with this contraption.

  1. Purchase bike rack to make traveling to new and exciting bike trails easier.
  2. Attempt to attach the bike rack to your trunk by yourself.
  3. Untangle the straps you’ve managed to wrap around your body during multiple failed installation attempts.
  4. Place your new bike rack in the garage preferably in a place where the numerous straps attached to it will not trip you every time you walk past it.
  5. Ask your spouse or a friend to help you install the bike rack because your poor visual-spatial skills have led to confusion and frustration. NOTE: You may need to ask your spouse more than once. In my case, this single step took an entire year.
  6. Hunt through the garage for the installation manual which was right next to the bike rack, but must have been moved over the course of the year it sat unused.
  7. Decide to wing it and install bike rack without using the manual that you weren’t able to find.
  8. Return to the garage to search for the instruction manual with renewed vigor after several failed attempts at installing the bike rack to the trunk.
  9. Locate the instruction manual after an hour long search.
  10. Read instruction manual.
  11. Begin installing bike rack to trunk.
  12. Curse.
  13. Repeat steps 10 through 12 as needed.
  14. Call the bike shop to see if someone there can install the bike rack.
  15. Accept the fact that the bike shop personnel are too busy on a Saturday morning to assist you.
  16. Repeat steps 10 through 12 as needed.
  17. Celebrate the successful attachment of the bike rack to your car by chugging a vat of ice water and wiping the sweat from your forehead.
  18. Stop celebrating because you realize that you aren’t done yet. The bikes still need to be attached to the rack.
  19. Attempt to attach the man’s bike to the rack without reading that section of the manual because it looks self-explanatory.

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