And away we go.
As I rode across town in a cold rain, making the long journey home after work, I found myself wondering why. Sure it may be due to certain circumstances such as not having a car but there has to be more to it than that.
My first bike was a black and green Huffy that was just my size. I rode it constantly up and down
I was three years old when I first learned how to ride without training wheels. As we all are at that age, I was determined to be as cool as the older kids and the training wheels were no help in that matter. I wanted to be able to go riding with my friends; pedaling around the driveway wasn’t exactly thrilling anymore. I was born to roam free so the training wheels had to go.
My father was extremely excited when I asked him if he would remove my training wheels. No sooner than I had asked the question Dad was getting out his tools. The eagerness at which he worked made it easy to tell that he wanted to teach his son how to ride. Accepting his help was hard for me; after all I was three and could do anything on my own. But I obliged and let him do the “dad” thing.
Although he made a valiant effort of running, pushing, and yelling – as all dads do – I just wasn’t going to cooperate. Each time he let go of my noble steed I fell over immediately. I wanted to learn how to ride a bike on my own so badly I would fall on purpose. After a few more tries and a couple self-inflicted bruises, my dad conceded. Today was not going to be the day.
My father seemed as though he knew what I was up to but, being a dad, still wanted to be apart of the magic moment. “We should try again tomorrow” is what he spoke as he took my bike to the shed. He seemed bummed that I didn’t succeed today. I almost felt bad for the old man but I would make him proud.
The next day before leaving for dinner at my uncle’s house, I asked my mom if I could bring my bike. She looked astonished as she had heard about yesterday’s unsuccessful attempts. She stood silently for a moment; purposefully tormenting me I had no doubt. My mother then dared to ask “Do you even know how to ride it yet?” I thought to myself ‘of course I do’; it was just a secret. She then offered up a challenge; “If you show me you can ride it, we can bring it along.”
Without saying a word I darted out back to the rusty old shed and removed my bike from its prison. I knew that the time had come to prove not only myself, but my parents that I could do it. I nervously walked my bike from behind my house to the sidewalk out front. I waited as patiently as I could for Mom to come outside and watch. I was ready to ride.
My mother came outside eager for the show as I slowly mounted my bike. I sat for a few seconds, bruises still stinging, hoping that I wouldn’t fall. I took a deep breath and started pedaling. I went slowly at first but I was doing it! I was riding a bike and I had taught myself how! I rode to the neighbor’s house and back several times.
After my last victory lap, arriving back at my house, my mom was clapping and congratulating me. “Where did you learn how to do that?” she asked in excitement. “I learned myself” was my reply. I pedaled off just to show her again.
I genuinely enjoy riding my bike everywhere I go. I enjoy the sights and sounds not everyone gets to experience strapped into their cars. I like the fact that it keeps me healthy and hopefully forever young. While some may think I’m a little crazy for riding ten miles just to go work, I couldn’t ask for anything better. The freedom and independence are just too good to pass up.
On those long cold rides home I relish in the joy of just being able to ride. This memory always reminds me to just keep going. If I can teach myself to ride a bike, I can do anything. Sure I may be riding due to certain circumstances but there is more to it than that. Because when push comes to shove, sometimes you just have to get on and ride.