Tag Archives: bike riding

Time Out for Bike Riding…

It’s one of those vivid ingrained memories in my head… learning how to ride the bicycle.  I remember it being a big deal the day the training wheels finally came off!   I don’t know how accurate my memory is, but I remember I was five and my cousin, Karmin (thanks, Karmin!) held on to my bicycle as he helped to teach me how to ride.  First, he held on to the handlebar on the side, as I went up and down the block in front of our apartment building in Brooklyn.  Eventually, he started holding on to the back seat of my bicycle, where he was out of my peripheral view.  I remember that really well, because at one point I thought he was holding on to my bicycle, and when I looked back, he was halfway up the block!  I was so shocked that I did it on my own that I went crashing onto the ground.  The thrill, and then the agony…

I learned to look forward and to trust myself.  I learned that fear and dwelling on the past (looking back) prevented me from enjoying the ride and looking forward.  I learned that life is sometimes about learning how to fall.  I remember using this story of learning how to ride the bicycle in my college essay to Columbia almost 25 years ago!

35 years after learning how to ride the bicycle, here I am trying to teach Malachy how to ride!  Amazing!  Wondering how (or if) he’ll remember these days.  I know my back will never forget these past 3 days! 🙂  It’s such a rush for him, though.  I thought by day 3, he wouldn’t want to go back outside and try again (at least not 3 days in a row), and I know I wouldn’t have minded if he had said, “Nah, I’m not in the mood, today.   Let’s take a break, Dad.”  But instead he said, “Dad, I really like it!  I want to try to ride by myself again!”  Love his attitude!

So, there we were again today.  Me yelling at him and telling him to focus and to concentrate, to balance, to stop leaning and turning and singing and cracking up.  I know we both cracked up when he was able to ride for a few split seconds on his own.  The thrill of getting it.  It really IS cool.  You don’t remember when you learn how to walk, but you can remember learning how to ride a bicycle.  It’s a bit different nowadays.  I didn’t have a helmet.  And I remember falling over a lot harder and getting scraped and bruised.  I get so tempted to just let Malachy go, but I don’t want him to fall down so hard that he’ll get too scared to try again.  So, I hold on…

Eventually, I know he’ll get it, and I’ll feel proud that he learned and happy in being there with him! 🙂