Have you heard the saying “It is like riding a bike – once you have learned how to do it, you will never forget”?
Well, trust me. It is NOT TRUE! Not for me, anyway.
I learned how to cycle at a very young age and those wheels were an extension of me. I could go anywhere, at any speed, and not have to think about it. Once I became an adult and lived in the city it wasn’t practical to have a bike. It wasn’t encouraged either as the car was king. I saw an elderly gentleman ride his bike into the back of a truck once. I ran to call an ambulance while my mother applied first aid (she was a nurse). Unfortunately he died a short time later in hospital. Perhaps that influenced my opinion on the danger of bikes on the road.
I taught my sons how to ride and picked them up off the ground dozens of times before they got the hang of it. After that they were on their own and I didn’t ever worry about them being in danger. When we lived in Newman and Geraldton I decided to get into cycling again. No problem – I could do it. I injured myself once. I had to carry the bike over some railway lines and hurt my back. I can’t blame the bike though. That meant no more cycling for several years – make that about twenty years.
Last year I decided to have another go. I bought a really good second-hand bike from one of my neighbours and…
- I couldn’t remember how to get on it
- I couldn’t work out the steering – after spending so many years driving with a (round)steering wheel, the handlebars felt really strange
- I forgot how to use the brakes – I ended up in the bushes a few times – especially when I tried to wave “hello” to someone and steer at the same time
- I forgot how to turn corners
- I still haven’t worked out the gears but know enough now to go around the block without incident
I was really surprised at how difficult it was to relearn how to ride a bicycle. A lot has changed in twenty years – with me and with today’s bikes. It felt really good to regain the skill. I feel confident now that I can get on and be in control and not be freaked out.