A FIRST BIKE RIDE

I don’t remember my first bike ride at all, but I do have many fine memories of the fun and freedom of riding bikes at every stage of my life.  I can only conclude that I never had to learn how to ride a bike because I’ve been cycling since the day I was born–much like a baby horse begins walking the minute it falls out of the mama horse.

The End.

Tricked you!  That wasn’t really the end.  I couldn’t tell a story about a first bike ride that didn’t even have a description of an actual first bike ride in it.  That just wouldn’t be right.  Therefore, since I don’t remember my own first bike ride, I’ll relate a short story of somebody else’s first ride, in which I played a minor role.

My daughter, Kaylyne (I call her Kaylo), was about 7 years old when she first expressed any interest in riding a bike.  In her earlier years, before the Feeshko and I adopted her at age 6, she had absolutely no exposure to bicycles–or to many other opportunities that most of us take for granted.  So when she asked me to teach her how to ride, I think I was even more excited than she was.

I pulled my son’s old bike, which he had outgrown, out of the garage and then Kaylo and I walked two blocks to the parking lot of her elementary school. I apologized about it being a boys bike, but she didn’t care.  I gave her a few basic instructions and let her climb onto the seat while I held her upright.  She pedaled and I ran behind her, still holding on to the seat, as most dad’s do when teaching their kids.  Then I let go and she promptly fell to the ground.  She got up and was ready to go again.  The second attempt had the same result.  So did the third . . . and the fourth.

“I have an idea,” I said, “I’ll go buy a set of training wheels and we can try this another day.”

“No!” she insisted, “I want to keep trying right now.”

And so we did.  Time after time after time she toppled to the ground in the most frightening and painful ways.  She had more than a couple of abrasions on her arms and legs but she refused to give up.  I admired her fortitude, but I was ready to give up myself.

I’d estimate she endured at least 40 crashes before I thought I saw a little progress.  A couple more attempts and then, UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!, she kept riding after I let go.  I chased after her and I cheered for her and she kept going and going.  I don’t know if you can imagine how proud I was of her.  Even as I write this, tears are kind of welling up in my eyes.

Anyway, to my knowledge, she never fell again.  She’s had a couple bikes of her own since then but, alas, she doesn’t ride much anymore.  Like most kids her age (26) these days, she prefers to drive a car.

 

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

6 response to "A FIRST BIKE RIDE"

  1. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: December 18, 2018

    That is a great story! Kaylyne’s determination is beyond admirable — and to think she was riding on her own the first lesson!
    Pretty incredible!
    At 26 I wasnt much interested in cycling either, but Ill betcha she returns at some point, after all, she has a great Mentor!

    Ill bet you already know, but Park Tools Calvin Jones mentioned your brother in a video. Restoring an old Peugeot — you bro loaned him the tool he needed to remove a helicromatic freewheel. 🙂
    Pretty cool, when I heard that, to think I kinda sorta in a very indirect way know that guy.

    • By: gregblood Posted: December 19, 2018

      Thank you, Rich. And thanks for bringing up Calvin Jones and my brother. It tells me you read my Badlands journal. I hope you followed the legal terms of readership and read every page.

      No I haven’t seen the video. I’m not much of a technical guy and I would probably not understand a word of what he was saying. I definitely do not know what a helicromatic freewheel is.

      • By: Rich-Illinois Posted: December 20, 2018

        Well, of course I read every page of every journal and some more than once. 🙂
        The helicromatic freewheel is sort of a cross between a freewheel and a cassette.

        PS: I hear the people of Warren IL are still reeling from the well deserved lambasting you gave them. 😉

  2. By: NancyG Posted: December 19, 2018

    Wonderful story Greg. What a gal Kaylo was at age 7. I agree with Rich that she will come back to the bike at some point and continue to love the ride.

  3. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: December 20, 2018

    What a story of determination and persistence, her next present could be a bike, can you get them fitted with snow ploughs

  4. By: The Navigator Posted: December 22, 2018

    Go Kaylo! How proud you would have been to see that determination. Thanks for sharing such a nice story.

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