OMG I finally did it!
After years of trying, I finally learned how to ride a bike. I had tried everything (having someone hold the bike, training wheels, no pedals, etc.) but today I finally got it! Thanks to the “How to Ride a Bike” Class at REI, me (along with 7 or so other adults) ended today knowing how to do something that so many other people had the priviledge of learning in childhood.
As a kid I didn’t learn this right of passage because I was very insecure and a big quitter and gave up on everything that I didn’t learn right away. If memory serves, I think I tried to ride a bike once, fell, and never go on it again.
Fast forward to me in my early 20’s. Since then (I’m now 36) I had tried several times to learn to ride a bike. I stopped being embarrased at not knowing how and met a few people who didn’t know either, so I knew I wasn’t the only one (I actually thought I was the only one for YEARS!)
I would see other people riding their bikes and I was so jealous! I wanted to be able to do what they do! I wanted that freedom, that choice in transportation, that level of fitness, that much fun! But I was scared of falling, hurting myself, not having control of my body, and not having my feet on the ground (it seems unnatural that I’m moving without my feet on the ground).
So how did I do it?
- Enrolled in REI’s “How to Ride a Bike Class” and learned a few basic things about bikes. (brakes, tires, safety).
- Practiced balancing on my bike without pedals and coasted down through the parking lot for hours. I was frustrated and my bike was a slighty too big. HOWEVER I did loose my fear of falling, learned to gain some sense of control using my brakes and was encouraged to keep trying.
- I bought a bike for my size. One of the instructors told me about a a brand of bikes (K2) whose line of womens bikes are actually made for women. She helped me pick one out and I fell in LURVE with it!
- I practiced on a local path that was winding with minor slopes and my balance was so much better, but I couldn’t bring myself to get my feet on the pedals!
- I attended the class again. What helped me the most was that I focused on my balance (which I knew I could do) and put my feet on and off the pedals (instead of having one foot on the pedal while the other foot is searching wildly for the other pedal and therefore loosing my balance).
- After a few on/off the pedal moments (still only focusing on my balance) I felt more confident and was able to put my feet on the pedals and kept pedaling.
- Success! I could go forward!
It was the coolest thing I kept saying “Oh my god, I’m actaully doing it!”
I still have a long way to go as I need to learn how to turn, and I don’t always start pedaling so easily. But I can do it and keep practicing!