Most of us learned how to ride a bike when we were little kids. But, as we grew older, some of us decided it was time to retire our old bicycles and use other means of transportation to get around. However, if we tried to ride a bike now, we’d still be able to do it just as well as back when we were kids. Why is that? How come we never forget how to ride a bike?
Some skills, such as riding a bike or playing an instrument, are stored in a system known as procedural memory. Unlike declarative memory, which anchors recollections of experiences and factual knowledge, this type of memory is responsible for performing activities. Procedural memory is also used when we tie our shoes, cook an omelet, or brush our teeth, for example.
More resistant to loss and trauma than declarative memory, procedural memory is a type of long-term memory that starts to form early in life as we begin to walk, talk and eat. Once an activity is stored in our procedural memory, we no longer need to consciously think about how to perform it. This is why we actually never forget how to ride a bike.