I remember it just like it was yesterday. My first bike, it was quite possibly the best bike ever. There was a banana seat, tassels and a basket. Every time I tentatively, awkwardly threw my leg over the seat I felt a sense of power.
The ideal day to practice was always a sunny day in Colorado, blue skies everywhere, the smell of freshly mowed lawns tickling my nose.
I would slowly begin to pedal, nervous that I would fall and would look ahead at my mom looking at me encouragingly. You can do it!
My love affair with bikes began when I was 2 weeks old. Really. The story that I’ve been told was that my mom took me bike riding. Don’t freak out, these types of things happened back then and I’m still here!
So, it is hardly surprising that I was so excited to gain my independence by learning how to ride a bike. Do you remember what it was like learning to ride your first bike? It was an exhilarating, somewhat terrifying experience. What if I fall? What if I can’t do it?
So, each day I would try, try and try again until one day I finally got it. My legs pushing the pedals in an ecstasy of childish glee and I’m smiling from ear to ear. I can do this!
Until that one day, the day that could have ruined everything in my burgeoning biking career. I hit a rock and flew over the handlebars. As I lay on the ground in winded shock, tears began to well up. AAGGH. My knees were stinging and I wanted to continue laying on the ground—but I got back up.
I am so glad that I did. With my knees stinging and still sniffling my nose, I began peddling again… not understanding that this was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with bicycling.
It’s 2015, many years after my first tentative tries at riding a bike, and riding without training wheels. I have spent many hours riding bikes: alone, with friends and with my family. Destinations that I ride to include: the coffee shop, to the mountains for a hike or downtown Denver to hang out.
I have ridden for hours after a break up, to clear my mind or just to feel the wind in my hair. Because of riding I’ve met a community of people all over the world who aren’t counter-revolutionaries. They are usually people who enjoy the simple act of viewing the world from the seat of a well-loved bike.
You put your helmet on, you plot a course (or don’t) and then get on that bike and get going. You may encounter hills where you have to pedal harder to get to the top, and there will be moments when you just coast.
Who knew that what I experienced learning to ride a bike at seven was also a metaphor for life?
One day I would like to have kids, and I am looking forward to the moment when I can teach them how to ride and to hopefully learn to love this past-time as much as I do. We shall see.
Do you remember learning how to ride your first bike?
What was that experience like?