Tuesday, October 9, 2007

two wheelin'

as i have alluded to twice before (here & here), riding my first bike (it had a flowered banana seat!) was an experience. it's one of those memories that's tucked in my head; but i never really gave it too much thought.

when i received my birthday gift from my in-laws, i was very excited because i basically hadn't ridden a bike since the 5th grade. that was about the most thought i had given the memories.

but the other weekend in the park, i talked to The Mr. about it. and he did what he's fantastic at doing: he gave me perspective. by the way: if you stick with me in this blog, all you millions of readers (have you told your friends yet??) you will soon learn that i am quite possibly the least introspective person alive. so, i'm constantly grateful to the people i look up to, because they always give me new perspectives.

i digress----

when i was in the 3rd grade, my parents moved the youngest 5 of their kids to Selma, Alabama. it may have been the combination of the promise of having more money, or the guilt they felt for dividing their family, but my parents bought us youngers new bikes for xmas.

it took awhile for them to come in. (not sure of the exact deal, i was just a littly) but when i got my very own bike i was elated!

i can't remember all the details about who was out there to try to teach me to ride this bike. i had never before ridden a bike. i never had a bike with training wheels (but i did have a trike when i was super-littly), so i would imagine someone came out there with me. but i know it wasn't either one of my parents. i have a vague recollection of my brother trying to tell me how to stop... alas, i wasn't very good at that and fell in the grass lots of times. but he was off riding his own new bike, so it wasn't completely important to him. (this is the brother that used to frog me for fun...)

so, i'm pretty certain i was left basically alone. our driveway was a little downhill. so, i didn't have too much space to practice (er, learn). i remember running into the back of our van a few times (and getting yelled at when i was told on). i was completely frustrated at this whole process. (sound familiar??)--- so, i gave up.

the next day at school, all i kept thinking of was learning how to ride that bike. i was pretty scared about it, though. i had already tried and was too frustrated. so it didn't matter at the moment. it never occurred to me to ask someone for help. it wasn't until the next day that i obsessed some more and got fed up about it. i really wanted to learn how to do this. especially because i knew i couldn't just let an expensive gift go unused. (in fact, typing that gives me the vague reminder that b/c i hadn't learned it over the weekend and clearly not trying on that monday my dad thought he should take it back).

so, on tuesday feb 1, 1983 i came home from school, and before my dad came home from work, i used the small flat carport part to learn how to ride without falling. so my first experience was basically riding in circles. then i rode it up a tiny part way of my driveway and down again and kept inching my way. i finally got the hang of it, & i couldn't've been more proud!

.........here's where the perspective comes in about 20 years later:
The Mr. listened to this story and his response was, "how sad." and i never really put much thought into it, b/c that's just how things were for me. but yes. it is sad if you think about it. riding a bike is one of those pictured milestones where your parents hold on to the back and push and you have a picture marking the wobbly descent into your new mobility.

chalk it up to something i missed out on.

so, please share. what was your first biking experience like???


Funky Boss said...

I don't exactly remember my first biking experience without training wheels, but do have the pictures that shows the excitement and nervousness before being let go by the safety net of my Dad's grasp on the seat.

However, one of many painful bicycling memories of my childhood is racing my sister only to get my shoelace caught in the chain and flipping over the handlebars onto the concrete sidewalk. Only to find out later that she saw my untied shoelace and didn't tell me.

Granted, that first head-over-handlebars was probably best incurred at such a young age, as it happenned numerous times over the course of the years. So in retrospect, it was a much needed character building experience.

Lainey-Paney said...

mine was the opposite of yours. In fact, mine was picturesque...like you described. And it does make me sad for you & your lonely bike riding venture.

...but, you did it. You prevailed. You mastered it independently....so perhaps, it's not sad. It's a testament to your determination & inner strength.


Pregnantly Plump said...

I don't really remember the actual learning part, although I remember my pretty yellow bike. I was such a clutz at riding that I think my memories of the first ride were pushed out to make room for the memories of falling. I did learn important lessons though -- nonmoving cars can still hurt when you crash into them, it's not a good idea to hold a Carebear while riding your bike, ditto for holding a squirming, scared cat, and you really should wait until your wounds are healed before riding your bike and inevitably falling. I'm lucky my dad was a coach and pretty good at taping up scratched up knees.