I learned how to ride a bicycle in a single day.
I was five years old living in New Mexico. I would see the neighborhood ride their bikes around and heard them come back talking about what they saw on the other streets. It sounded so exciting to be able to go to the nearby elementary school playground on weekends with no parents around! Only issue was I had no idea how to ride a bike.
“Mommy, you give me a bike for Christmas?” I asked my mom. I kept asking my mom. I asked my dad. I did not get the bike for Christmas. I did not get the bike for Valentine’s day. I didn’t see a bike on St. Patrick’s day. No bike on April Fools day. Why were my parents not giving me this bike?
They knew how scared I was of falling down. I had no problem with jumping off tables or swinging on a tire swing but the idea of falling down with metal frame scared me. I would ask about what happens when people fall. I saw the boys in the neighborhood show off their scared. I told my mom about it since she can’t stand the sight of blood. Once she ran around the garage around holding my brother screaming when he had a bloody knee from riding his bike. I did not need that type of drama at 4 years old.
I just needed a bike so I could go to the elementary’s school playground on the weekend. Then it happend. The best time of year: my birthday.
My mom had already taken me to test bikes (major tease). I did not talk to anyone on the ride back home because they had played mind games having me sit on a bike. This bike. That bike. What color do I like? Yes I want a sparkle in there some where. Omg, then ride back home with no bike! Ugh. At this point I felt like it wasn’t going to happen. I just forgot about it the time rolled around for one of my legendary birthday parties.
My daddy came inside & asked me to follow him into the backyard. There was my brand shiny pink bike. It had a white banana seat, pink Barbie frame with pink and with white streamers! It was official! I had wheels! It was okay that I am not even a fan of pink because wheels means playground time! I could not wait to hit up the elementary school.
First, I had to finish celebrating my birthday. I go hard on my birthday every year so after my neighborhood friends and their parents set it off all day. I went to sleep that night without even sitting on my bike. However, I did make a lot of plans with my friends and their siblings to hit up this park. I remember telling everyone one about my bike, it was of my favorite parties before I was old enough to legally drink alcohol. All my family was there, it was the most sugar fueled party I’ve ever had.
The next day was rough. My mom told me before I even had breakfast that I had to learn how to ride the bike today. My dad told me outside and showed me what to do. Yeah, just peddle. Okay. Then came the stress about falling. I ran inside & my mom said, “You are going to fall but you are not going to go through the floor! Just get back on and keep going. Do not come back inside until you know how to ride that bike.”
Stressed. I’m five years. I’m out of control awesome in my pink Barbie bike but I had this requirement that I would be riding my bike before I could back inside. “Hello? Is someone coming out here with me? No. THANKS TEACHERS! Nobody is going to help me for the rest of the day! Fine! Barbie bike are going to make this happen.”
I asked my mom how long I was learning how to ride my bike. In my memory I was out there for 6 hours. It was DUSK when I got back inside. My mom insists that it took me an hour. Time goes by slow when I’m frustrated.
Of course I fell down. I laid there thinking, “This isn’t too bad.” I would get back up. I would ride the curb with my foot out so I could balance myself. I rode my bike in all sorts of weird ways EXCEPT the way my dad showed me. I would look back at my house & my mom would look at me & seeing I was not riding my bike. Then finally, I pushed myself off the curb and thought, “If I fall, I fall, I’m ready for a snack.” A couple of times I thought about how life would be if I never learned how to ride a bike and would be forced to live on the streets.
Then I rode my bike. Just rode up the street for a block as the sun set. I stopped at the curb where the stop sign was. Then I pushed off again headed back to myself. I was riding my bike! Streamers in the wind, my long shadow on the pavement. I saw my parents look at me ride my bike and it was everything I wanted. They waved me back inside. It was too late to ride to the playground but there was always tomorrow. I’m glad my parents let me learn how to apply what they showed me with out giving me training wheel. Then the pressure of a deadline. Teaching by stepping back is the best way I learn. Sweet freedom. After that my parents always had a hard time keeping me home.
Do you remember your first bike? How did you learn how to ride a bike?