Right around 1975 is when I learned to ride a bike. I was fortunate that we lived across from a large parking lot.
I already had a Big Wheel and hosted neighborhood Big Wheel rallies in our front yard.
I don’t remember being reluctant to learn to ride a bike, but I did have a good thing going with my Big Wheel – riding it was safe and predictable. It had limitations and I was starting to wear out that plastic on the wheel. Plus, I couldn’t go very far or very fast.
A bike was my ticket to explore beyond the couple blocks a Big Wheel offered. A bike was the next “big” thing and certainly seemed more grown up. And who doesn’t want to be more grown up when you’re five?
Grown up things can be a big step, however, and I didn’t learn to ride a bike with training wheels – I had my dad. He held onto the back of the banana seat of that blue Huffy and encouraged me until I learned to steer, pedal, and balance myself at a steady pace.
It took some time, but I still remember the moment when I looked behind me and realized my dad wasn’t holding on. I was on my own! Thrilled, scared, and a bit wobbly a whole new chapter of exploration, independence, and responsibilities opened before me that day.
“It’s like riding a bike”
For a long time I didn’t quite understand what was meant by this cliche. Now I get it.
It’s hard to imagine a time when riding a bike was such a big deal. Like most things that propel you forward, you rely on encouragement and a steady hand, then you practice and get your balance.
Be a kid again and find a new challenge. Pretty soon it will be like riding a bike. And thanks dad!