Most kids who grow up in a neighborhood enjoy the sense of freedom and pride that comes from learning to ride a two-wheeler. When the training wheels finally come off, you’ve arrived. Being the clumsy, late-bloomer that I am, I was nine before I learned to really ride a bike. I’d ridden as a little kid of course, but once you reach a certain point, it’s not really cool to use training wheels. Dad worked hard to help me, but I was so afraid of falling that I never got very far. But one day, I finally got over it. Fed up with being teased, I finally faced my fear of falling and asked my dad to help me once again. He let go of the bike and ran alongside. That’s one of my warmest father-daughter memories.
Yet since that day, my interest and involvement in cycling has waned, and I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d been on a bike…that is, until this past weekend.
On Saturday, a local bicycle group led the Tour of Flint, two 15-mile rides around the city. Phil, who has always loved biking, was eager to take part in this 30-mile adventure.
I was less eager. While riding a bike is something you supposedly never forget, you can get a little rusty. Not to mention the fact that I’ve never ridden anywhere but in a small neighborhood with no major hills and very little traffic. This all means one thing–I was completely unprepared for this particular event.
But we did it anyway. Due to a series of missed opportunities, I did not have a bike for the first (more leisurely) 15-mile loop, but a kind soul loaned me a bike so I could join Phil for the second loop. After several frustrating attempts to ride, I finally got going. In my head, I’m thinking, “This is so much harder than I remember.” The ride was rough. Lack of sleep, a pace I couldn’t keep up with, and an admittedly bad attitude led me to finally give up midway through.
We got a ride back to the coffee shop where the event started. As we packed up our bikes, I couldn’t help crying. It had not gone well, and I felt awful. But while others thought I was angry (or perhaps crazy), Phil demonstrated once again what an incredible husband he is. He knew that I really felt bad because I was holding him back from something that he wanted to do. He also reminded me that he wanted to do it together.
Sunday night, we took a ride just the two of us, and he reminded me of all the things I used to know about riding a bike and a few that I didn’t. I still need some (read: a lot) of practice, but I look forward to becoming a better cyclist….once I get a bike.