Friday, 30 March 2012

Get On Your Bikes And Ride

            I did it.
            I learned to ride a bike…thank you thank you. You’re far too kind, please take your seats – what? Roses? For me? This is all too much to handle at one time. I mean this was really a labour of love, something I’ve been working at for 20 years now. So to finally see it come to fruition and be greeted with such a warm response is a little overwhelming.
            Now that I’ve ‘mastered’ the art of cycling I look back and wonder what A) took me so long and secondly what all the fuss was about? I spent maybe an hour or so practicing in an alley before feeling ready to hit the streets – well the side streets, I don’t know why anyone would dare try riding in traffic. I really don’t know if this is a lot of time or very little when compared to the average learning time. Although I’m also not sure there is an average learning time for 27-year old adults.
            Having skipped the whole classic childhood memory thing of first getting your balance and taking off down the street I don’t know how my experience stacks up, but I can say for sure there was more cursing. I have to give many thanks to my teacher Pietra for her kindness and patience. There is no doubt in my mind that holding on to the seat of a person who outweighs you by 100 pounds is much more difficult than steering a child.
But her efforts were not without reward albeit not the same as that parental pride at seeing your child learn and grow or whatever schlock parents feel. I like to think I provided a serious level of amusement. There has to be an entertainment value in seeing a longhaired lout violently swivel his hips in some misguided over compensatory attempt at keeping his balance. I also believe that amusement was provided for any of the residents living in the houses bordering my learning alley.
With my newfound skill acquired the day of my promised public ride had arrived. Although I was able to ride I realized that my goal of riding along the Seawall was a bad idea. I am able to stay up but the steadiness of my riding leaves something to be desired and I figured the Seawall would be awash in too many other bodies. So I decided to take my ride along the beach path at Jericho.
Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate with my intended goal. The rain was pretty heavy on my birthday limiting my public debut and when I say public I mean Pietra and Waterman. I still managed to go for a short jaunt and I must say it was awesome. Cruising along the path with the rain falling on my shoulders from above and the ocean and mountains to my right I couldn’t believe how civilized a pastime this cycling thing is.
            Now, the trick will be to not become one of the very individuals I called out in my earlier bike riding post. That is to say now that I have this skill I cannot let it go to waste and I have no intention to. I admit it - riding a bike is really fun. It helps that I chose the beginning of spring to learn this new craft. With the weather supposedly getting better I will now be oft presented with a chance to head out and ride.
I’m not sure how often I will ride and I’m pretty sure I’m still a long ways away from using it as my chief mode of transportation for any of the cross town trips I have to make (for me the automobile is still the best way to get around). But the prospect of taking some sunny summer leisure rides has me quite enthused. I will finish up by yet again calling on those who learned how to ride long ago, but have shelved that skill for years. Get out and ride.
Next up – skating.

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