A lovely sunny Sunday! You couldn’t ask for a better day to go for a bike ride. Can you believe it? I haven’t been on my two-wheeler yet this year. I can always blame it on the late spring and all the rain. But the fact is, I am a bit of a scaredy cat. I always worry about falling. That, of course, preordains my fate. I blame my fear on my childhood. It’s a catchall for every insecurity and fear under the sun.
When I was a child in China, the bicycle taxi was our main transport if it was too far to go on foot. When my mother visited her parents in their village, it was too far for me to walk. I was too heavy for her to carry all the way. She rented a taxi for us but it was her luck to get the same driver numerous times.
He was no Lance Armstrong. He had no skill. He shouldn’t have been driving/riding a bicycle at all. In fact, he did get fired, but not before the damage was done to me. He instilled the fear of falling in me! Inevitably, somehow, he, the bike and us would end up off the road – in the ditch, among trees….Thank God, my mother was smart enough to tell him to let us off first when we got near water.
Here I am years later, the fear of falling still resides in me. It doesn’t help that I was into adulthood when I taught myself to ride. I would always rely on the curb to push myself off and to stop. That limited my riding range and enjoyment. Curbs are not everywhere.
It wasn’t till last year that I took some classes. I’ve learned the proper way of starting up, stopping and dismounting – without curbs. What a relief it was to discover that there is time to come to a stop and then dismounting. I had thought you had to do both at the same time. Quite often before, I ended up dropping the bike and hopping off. Sometimes the bike and I dropped! So no more of that now! No more scraped hands and other body parts.
After a lengthy absence I still have the jitters starting off. Can I push off successfully and remain upright? Will I remember how to shift gears? Can I find the brakes? What about the traffic? And on and on. There is no stopping the mind except to push off.
This afternoon off we went – pushing onto the streets of Saskatoon. We came to traffic lights and stop signs. We passed ‘GO’ to Broadway and double scoops of ice cream cones. No drips, no falls, no scrapes. Just some exercise, sun and a lot of sweetness.