When I was 5 or 6, it was decided that I should learn to ride a bike. My parents got me a bike with training wheels, and I spent a month or two happily pedaling around the neighborhood.
But it soon came to my attention that all the cool kids rode bikes without training wheels. I knew I couldn’t lose the tenuous grip I had on coolness, so I asked Dad to remove the training wheels and teach me to ride a bike.
Dad was pretty jazzed with this idea. After all, I was not a particularly athletic child, so my parents encouraged any form of physical activity I showed an interest in.
Now, my house sat on top of a steep hill. Across the street from my house was a second steep hill going through a wooded field and ending with a small marshy pond. For those who need a visual, I offer the following crappy drawing:
The day came where I was ready to take my first stab at riding a two-wheeler. Dad took the training wheels off the bike. I sat on the seat quivering with anticipation. I was going to be the best bike rider ever.
Dad set me on top of our driveway. I looked down. It was steep, but I’d just walk astride my bike to the road, and practice riding on the level surface of the road, right? Right?
Alas, that was not the plan. I got on the bike, but instead of being carefully lead down the driveway, my Dad simply gave me a push. As I flew down down the hill of despair, I think I heard Dad’s voice echo “There you go sweetie! WHEEEEEEEE!!!!!”
I hurtled past the hill of despair and straight through the hill of doom, ending somewhere in the marsh of despair and pond of woe. I certainly had scrapes and bruises. And I didn’t touch a bike again for three years.
Preschooler got a bike for her birthday. She refuses to ride it. She says the helmet hurts. The bike was placed in the living room with hopes she might be inspired to ride it before winter sinks in.
Today I stepped on the bike and sprained my foot.