Monday, June 25, 2007

Who doesn't learn to ride a bike until they're 20+ anyway?

Yesterday afternoon I plunged into perhaps the most vigorous spring cleaning effort since I moved into the new place. How did I know this, you ask? Easy, because I finally got around to pulling a bunch of stuff from under my bed*, cleaning out one of my two “up high” storage cabinets in my closet, and finally opening the last two boxes from my move into the condo circa 2003.

There were two notable things that happened during this effort. First, I happened to observe an adult woman learning how to ride a bike for the first time. She had two of her friends along to “help” her. I use the quotation marks to emphasize that their level of “help” varied along what were clearly gender lines – one friend was a guy and one was a girl. And while both of them were running alongside her the first time she headed down the street, by the 2nd time around the block the girl was still running but the guy had reduced his involvement to simple walking, even as the bike-girl hurtled down the street towards her potential peril.

All told it was an interesting thing to watch. Because you sometimes forget what it’s like to ride a bike for the first time without training wheels, with your dad or mom pushing the seat and helping you get up to speed until they let you go. Then, suddenly there’s that feeling of freedom! The feeling of finally being able to do something on your own! To be free of your parents imperial laws, controlling your own direction and indeed – your own destiny!

At that point, of course, you typically fall over and skin your knee. Thankfully, your mom or dad was probably there with the Neosporin.

* Stuffed there during a “Crap, people are coming over any minute and I’m still not done cleaning” last-minute cleaning effort pre-Halloween Party ‘06

9 comments:

towwas said...

To answer the question in your subject line: me, when I was a grad student at MFGAM. (Ok, technically I kinda learned when I was about 8, but I never went more than about 10 feet without my dad hanging onto the back, and I don't think I ever started on my own.)

J.Po said...

I was just going to log on to reply: "TOWWAS", but she beat me to it.

I *THINK* Sophist may fall in this category too, but she may only fall into the //insert car where bike is// category.

grrrbear said...

Well, don't *you* fall into that category too, J.Po?

Spice said...

Man, I didn't really start riding w/o training wheels until I was seven, and I thought I was really old! I still remember the very moment I decided to just get on the damn bike and ride it, fear be damned! Very liberating.

MKD said...

I've been dealing with this same situation at home - my daughter just learned how to ride on Sunday. (She's 6 1/2 and was determined she was going to be the *only* first grader who didn't know how.)

I learned a really easy way to teach someone to ride. Get them a bike that they can sit on and touch their feet to the ground. Take the pedals (and training wheels where appropriate) off and let them "scoot" on it to get the balance thing. Once they've mastered that, put the pedals back on and watch them go. Worked like a charm and only took 1 week for her to learn, and she did it at her pace, at her time, and she basically taught herself.

J.Po said...

I'll have you know, I learned to ride a bike when I was 6 or so. The car thing, now that's another category all together.

Sophist said...

oooh, I'm in the same category as TOWWAS. When I was 15 I borrowed my 8-yr-old neighbor's bike and learned how to start and balance.

But really I started in 2003. Then I learned how to start, balance, and stop. And then in 2005 I bought my road bike and now I'm in lurve forever.

towwas said...

Yeah, I was late on the car thing (age of...26?) but at least I've got J.Po beat!

Sophist said...

oooh i was late on the car thing too, just learned last year... so TOWWAS, you have got both me and J. po beat, although now I have caught up.

After all, Elmo seems equally disinterested in both...

I have a hard time believing that Elmo was traumatized by Katy Perry's decollatage after discovering that he had already "been arou...