I have a confession to make, and it is a shameful one…. you see… I never learned how to ride a bike as a child. Not once did my feet hit a pedal.
That changed Thursday evening – with some trepidation I made an appointment with someone who teaches adults, one-on-one, the basics of riding a bicycle.
To start with she took the pedals off of the bike, for the first step was to learn if I could actually balance the thing. She had me kick off with my feet (it was a “flat foot” bike) and once I got going to take my feet off of the ground. Much to my great surprise we had success! Wheww.. hurdle one was behind me.
Ok, time to put the pedals back on – and to learn about the hand brakes. Much sooner than I would have ever dreamed I was zooming around the parking lot. Ok, ok, starting was wobbly, and turning wasn’t an option, but I was riding the bicycle! Whooo hooo! I was careful to use BOTH hand brakes when stopping, and indeed I got the stopping thing down quite well. So far, so good, no crashes…. yet.
Next step was to start riding around the parking lot filled with parked cars (obstacle course just for me 🙂 and to make turns. Connie carefully explained the proper way to turn – do NOT turn the handebars. So I made my wobbly start on the bike and headed for the outer row of parked cars to make my first turn…. I zoomed around the parking lot at a great rate of speed (probably an entire 6 miles an hour), and the right-hand turns just happened. Then it became time to go back, and to do my first LEFT-hand turns.
Of course it was bound to happen. First time on a bike in 49 years (outside of a few aborted attempts in my late 20s). Concrete parking lot. I wore shorts – though I had a helmet on! And I learned that left hand turns are rather more difficult for me than right-hand turns. I headed for that first turn, cut the corner short a little, and instead of turning left, I met the parking lot. Wham! All of a sudden, instead of being on the bike, I was between the bike and the pavement. Of course it had to be expected.
Once we cleaned up the blood on my leg and elbow (not bad, just scratches), I went out a little while longer. Each attempt was better than the one before, but that left hand turn is a challenge for me.
Next Lesson: August 10 – left turns and shifting are in the agenda.
I honestly do not know if I will continue past the second lesson, I’ve a membership at a great club. Indeed I just switched today, and the new club is charging me next to nothing since I am still under contract to another club that is going downhill pretty quickly. The bike lessons are an experiment – and it was indeed fun when I wasn’t falling 🙂 I will not, however, go to the expense of a good bicycle unless I am convinced that I will actually USE it. I live in an urban environment, and would have to mix with cars if I ride anywhere, unless I took the bike somewhere.
Decisions, decisions, time will tell. I just like having options 🙂
BTW, I found I really like the flat-footed cruser women’s bike with dual hand brakes (no foot brakes). I felt more secure being able to reach the ground with my feet!