So here it is at the end of my birthday and already I feel like a different person. Older, yes. Tired, yes. Frightened, ok. But invigorated too. The outpouring of support I have encountered since launching this project has been tremendous. And to all of you who have shared your thoughts, personal stories of struggle and fears of bicycles... thank you for putting your trust and your faith in me.
Ok, enough sappy stuff. Lets talk bikes.
I think that I mentioned before that I am not into bike riding. Not that I'm against it. Its just I haven't exactly had the most positive experience balancing my whole body on two wheels. Why is it that they don't make bikes with training wheels for adults? Because adults are too embarrassed to admit they don't know how to ride? I can't possibly be the only one out there...
So where do you go when you're turning 32 and you still can't ride a bike? You go to my friend Jason. To say he likes bikes is an understatement. He channels bikes in everything he does. Every Facebook post he makes. And certainly, when the Tour de France season comes around, you better watch out because the man is a living spokesperson for the race. Anyone local to the DC area knows exactly who I am talking about. When I approached him with my year long project, he sighed, took one look at me and said, "Ok Jen, I guess I will teach you how to ride a bike!" Wahoo!
So here we are in September with project one: Learning to Ride a Bike
Me being me, I did a little bit of research before my first lesson cause that's what I know how to do: research. Anytime I am preparing for something I know little to nothing about, I try to do a little bit of background research. I guess it makes me feel more in control of situations that make me anxious. Who knew I would find a treasure trove of information with instructions and how-to videos on the Web. Here is one Wiki site that I found with a basic step by step: http://www.wikihow.com/Ride-Bicycle. After reviewing this material, I started to mentally prepare for the big day.
Today was the first day since I was in elementary school that I sat on a non-stationary bicycle. No training wheels and no pedals (we will get to that in a minute) and certainly no pretty basket with flowers. This was a big, adult size bike with two wheels bigger than me. Day one's lesson started with seat and height adjustments to the bike and the addition of the wheels. See, I told you this guy was a serious biker. Next, I learned how to balance myself on said bike without falling over. In fact, we had the lesson indoors on a carpeted hallway to start me off on the right foot. The pedal-less concept is Jason's. He takes the pedals off the bike so you can just focus on balancing without attempting to "ride." I would say it was a scary, yet exhilarating feeling walking myself down the hallway on my two wheeled mobile. I do think the seats could be a whole lot more comfortable though. Who would design a seat so small which you can barely sit on? If I were spending hours riding a bike, I would want the Lazy Boy version of a bike seat. I don't need a recline function but some padding and pillow top would be a nice addition.
Nevertheless, I am happy to say that I survived my first bike lesson unscathed and even a bit empowered. Perhaps I am not to old after all to learn new tricks. I did realize though that one doesn't simply sit on a bike and ride. I sure have a long way to go before cruising down Sligo Creek on my new set of wheels but I am proud to have taken the first step. Stay tuned for photos from my first lesson and look out for a thirty something on wheels coming soon to a park near you.