i got my first bike for my 6th birthday. it was the classic girl's bike; purple, streamers, a flowery helmet, even a little license plate with my name (spelt wrong, because in the mid-90s, the only spelling you could find was "brittany" and my uncles thought that was better than nothing).
my dad, who as i've mentioned before is a huge cycling enthusiast, was so excited. it was only a matter of hours before i was pedaling around our cul-de-sac with my dad. it was easy and fun! but only because i had training wheels on. a few weeks later, once my dad took those wheels off, it wasn't fun. i couldn't get my balance unless my dad held my seat and i didn't want him to let go. once he did and i realized, i got scared and fell/crashed.
basically me as a child.
it took weeks before i slowly got better, and my parents decided to take my sister and i out for a family bike ride on a nearby trail. as soon as my bike was down from the car, i hopped on and took off. my dad noticed and quickly de-racked his bike and sped to catch up, but i had already gotten too big of a start and was headed to a steep downhill turn. i got scared. i could hear my dad telling me to brake, but i couldn't. i just went straight instead of turning, and landed in a barbed wire fence.
needless to say, we all went home early that day. attempts to get me back on my bike later on didn't end well, and before i knew it, the bike was put in to storage. i just didn't want to try again. instead, i spent years on a hook-on on the back of my dad's bike for family rides, until i got too big, and then i wasn't part of the biking anymore. and i was okay with that.
this was my life for an embarrassing amount of time...
fast forward to when i was almost seventeen. yes. over ten years later. i had just been cast in our school's production of the wizard of oz as the wicked witch of the west. i was so excited. i remember the first day of rehearsal, staging the opening scenes and the director saying "and then elphaba rides in on her bike up to the house" and i stood there frozen and meekly asked "and what if elphaba doesn't know how to ride a bike?" he was a bit stunned and then, after a pause, honestly answered "we use the understudy." shit.
can you hear the music that accompanies this scene?
my friend, nathan, stepped up to the plate and offered to teach me that weekend so i wouldn't have to give up the part. we went to the park and nathan held the seat and ran with me as i tried to steady myself. there were many wobbly moments. i had a hard time getting myself started without toppling over. i refused to leave the grass, even if it made it harder to pedal. but, what do you know, after a few hours, i could go in a straight line. i called it good enough for that day, aaand then the next week the director decided to cut the bike scene out because of the lack of space in the auditorium.
the show went on anyway. i was painted green haha
but i wasn't totally defeated! set with a new bout of confidence on the bike, and knowing that the college i wanted to go to heavily relied on bike transportation around campus, i asked my parents if i could get a cruiser for my birthday. my dad instantly agreed, but only if he could teach me how to ride properly. that summer, i picked out a cute yellow daisy cruiser (with a bell!) and was in love. my dad and i spent weekend after weekend practicing in an empty neighborhood development, and i only fell once (and my dad let me know that he had flashbacks to that day when i was six and thought i'd give up for another ten years hahah). before i knew it, i knew how to ride a bike.
i wouldn't say i was an expert by the time i got to ucsb, and that whole campus is a bubble, so i never really dealt with any extreme traffic situations, but i definitely got more comfortable in my four years in college. the bike lanes can get totally congested, and though it made me a bit nervous, i never had any problems (and only fell once in four years, and it was because my pants got stuck! hooray!). it took forever, but i finally felt confident on a bike.
this is what ucsb's biking looks like on a daily basis.
it's been almost four years since i was riding everyday, so i'm still a bit nervous thinking about the bike portion of a triathlon. it's definitely the part i'm most anxious about. there's also the fact that i had a cruiser in college, so i have no idea how to use gears or brakes. but i have months to practice, and the first step is getting a road bike to practice on!
did you have a hard time learning to ride a bike?