Eleven years ago (about 4 months before Fluff came into my life) I bought a bike. It was a very nice bike with carbon fiber tubes and aluminum joints. A lightweight bike. A road bike for doing centuries (100 miles in a single day). A beautiful bike. I had it fitted to me, got the pedal clips fitted properly to my shoes. I bought a cyclometer with the ability to read my pedal rpms so I could protect my knees. All this cost me roughly $1000 (3 zeroes, yes). Then I bought Fluff (for $50 (one zero, yes), and rarely rode the bike. It didn't make sense to go off for 6-8 hours of pedalling knowing the 8-month-old puppy was storing up energy or using it by redecorating the house.
Now, 2 dogs and 30-40 additional pounds later, I would like to ride my bike again (Fluff is 11 and Sleek 13, so their exercise needs are much reduced). I took it out last night to see if I could remember how to shift (bike has different shifters than any other bike I've ridden regularly, plus many more gears), brake, and get the shoes loose from the pedals when stopping. My rear shifter would only shift in one direction, so when I ran out of gears, I was where I was. Since I was on a shake-down ride, I had stayed on mostly level ground, so I got home okay.
I took the bike in today to see what was up with the gear shift. The guy at the bike store was very nice and explained that this type of gearshifter really likes to be used. Without regular use, the grease probably had hardened and might be gumming up the internal springs. Sometimes they can fix them by working them (and maybe adding more grease to sort of dissolve the old stuff) and sometimes they have to be replaced. He dinked with it and says the gear shift is mostly working now but I might have to shift a couple of times to get the thing to actually work.
This may be strong incentive to ride: if I don't get that gearshift used to regular work, it may forget how to shift altogether!