Did you know that there are some adults who never learned how to ride a bike? My sister is one of them.
When she told me this a few days ago, I was baffled and astonished. How had I not noticed this when we were growing up?
But as I thought back to our childhood, bits and pieces came back to me. I remembered the times she’d ask for a ride in the back or in the front rather than riding the bike by herself.
Finally, I asked her if she wanted to learn. I told her I could help her out. I could detect the nervousness in her voice as she agreed.
But before you start thinking I’m such a great sibling or something, I’ll have you know I was laughing at her for a full five minutes before I offered to teach her. If you have siblings, you’ll understand and perhaps approve of my childish behavior.
My sister told me she would choose the bike, helmet, and pads. Just in case, I looked for a pump for her that she could easily use on her own.
I found the perfect one at Pumps for Bikes, a site that gave lots of tips and information on how to pump a bike, the maintenance part, and how to choose the right pump for you. If you’re looking for any of this type of information, check these guys out.
A few days later, I took my sister out for her first lesson. It was a good thing I brought the pump because one of her tires was flat. So, I showed her how to air up the tire on her own.
Once the flat tire was dealt with, I teased her about the training wheels. I didn’t tease her as much as I wanted to because she was already so embarrassed.
For the first lesson, I just wanted her comfortable on the bike. I told her the training wheels were coming off for the next lesson because I didn’t want her to depend on them for balance. She needed to learn how to balance herself on her own.
She protested that she would fall if the training wheels were taken off. I replied that as long as she paid attention and followed my instructions she’d be fine.
Then she got on the bike and practiced pedaling in the parking lot. After about twenty to thirty minutes, she was comfortable enough that I suggested we try taking off the training wheels.
Sure enough, she panicked, but I told her I’d hold onto the bike until she felt comfortable enough to ride on her own.
When she still didn’t look happy with that, I reverted back to our childhood days in which I dared her to do things. Sometimes the dares were little things, like eating foods we both hated or getting her to get over her fear of something. Usually this worked because she was always trying to prove to others how brave and strong she was.
As soon as I saw the mutinous look on her face, I turned away to hide my smile. She falls for the dare every time.
She got into position, gripping the handlebars as if her life depended on it. I told her to relax. Then I held onto the back of the seat. She began pedaling, but it was too slow. Her speed increased steadily, and I began jogging beside her. She seemed to be getting the hang of it, and then she surprised me by telling me to let go. I hesitated until she repeated herself, yelling in my ear and laughing.
I did as I was told. She went off into the sunset. Okay, perhaps not quite. But she did ride all by herself across the parking lot. Her left turn was horrible, but she managed to stay on the bike without falling.
Once she came back to me, she had a huge smile on her face. She looked like my kid sister again, instead of the thirty something year old mom of three.
She asked me for feedback, and I told her she did fine. With some more practice, especially in her turns, she’d be able to keep up with us on the family rides.
From then on, she never said yes to anymore of my dares.