Thursday, June 3, 2010

I don't know how to ride a bicycle

I rode tricycles as a child, then bikes with training wheels, and found that the training wheels didn't do much training...they didn't help you transition to being without training wheels.  I tried riding the bike once without those wheels, fell off and skinned my knee, and never went back on again.

A couple weeks ago, I read Tef's post and noted his recommendation to teach children how to change a bicycle tire. That started my thinking.  The step before that was to teach children how to ride a bike!  I began to wonder,  how do you ride a bike?  People seem to do it effortlessly.  So many people do it.  I asked around a bit and got vague things like 'just keep pedaling' and 'you can't fall if you are moving'.  None of that makes any sense to me and does not assuage my fears in the least.  Why is there a saying 'As easy as falling off a bike' is those were true?  Isaiah said that someone with my learning style (he clearly considers whatever that style is to be a mystery) needs to write the 'Learn to ride a bike' book, then I should go read it.  Maybe he's right.  I'll go check the book store.

To be  honest, I had no interest in riding a bicycle until recently.  As a child, there was no-where to ride it to.  Definitely now out of the back yard!  And why would I ride around the house?  The skinned knee was enough deterrent, but just in case, thoughts of my glasses flying through the air as I skinned my knee firmed my resolve.

Simonne, my 8 year old has a dream of owning and riding a bicycle.  As she thinks about, talks about her dream, whines for her dream, tells us when her birthday is, I got another dream.  I could have an exercise partner!  We could ride together!

Suddenly, something that was completely off limits has become accessible.  I might actually figure out how to ride a bicycle.  The idea is still mysterious, similar to hand-gliding and para-sailing, but admittedly has more takers.  More importantly, I can actually see myself in my mind doing it.

Simonne's birthday is in the summer.  I'm not in any hurry.  My mind swirls with hope and discomfort all at the same time.

  • Flying glasses and skinned knees are still a big deal, and I will need to get some gear to minimize those occurrences.  
  • I feel uncomfortable about being taught to ride, especially if the teacher is going to say the same thing over and over and look at me with the exasperated eyes.  Thankfully, Simonne doesn't need me to teach her.  I might need her to teach me so I'm going to let her decipher Isaiah's instructions, just like she did with the roller-skating.
  • I'm excited that a mental shift is happening that I never expected, worked towards or planned for.   That opens up doors to so many other things that were not even thought about.
I can see my best possible bicycle riding teacher in my mind, kind, gentle, caring, encouraging, yet firm and consistent.  I can also see the worse possible teacher.  I can be both.  I get to choose.  Perhaps instead of doing Dr Jeckll and Mr Hyde,  I should just kill one of those teachers!  I'll choose the guy with the positive affirmations, the one that believes with me that I'm in a state of constant improvement, "you can't help it, you don't even have to work at it - the universe is expanding every moment, you are part of it, in-fact you are on the cutting edge of it - pioneering moment by moment as you recreate yourself over and over" - a quote from one of my positive, affirming friends, Kat.  Thanks Kat.
By the way, watch this little girl run through positive affirmations!  I should create some riding self talk and take a page from her book!

As I stand in my own playroom, I have more empathy for my son.  I wonder what he thinks when we have those moments where I am insisting in him doing something that is clearly challenging for him that looks really simple for me?


  1. Why do you think you need a teacher other than yourself? Clio

  2. Didn't Pops have a bicycle? He probably would have wanted a riding partner - but I think Simonne is more your style anyway.

  3. Clio, that's a great question! I traditionally get tons of info about anything I'm going to learn. As it makes sense, I put it into practice. I like having people in that process with me. So maybe it's not need, it's a want. Maybe it's not a teacher, but a facilitator, a guide, a cheerer on. Once I shut off the internal chatter, I can focus on being that person for myself.

    Juds, I didn't know Pops when he rode a bike.


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