It starts with a push

Part of the Isolation Journals, Day 28. Prompt by Ayodele Casel.

Too  often, I get overly comfortable. When I had training wheels on my bike, I was just that. For a while, I didn’t see the demand to get them removed. I enjoyed the extra cushion. Balance was hard for me, why did anyone have to do it?

But after a while, I would see other children on the playgrounds with their two-wheelers. Were they faster? Could they steer the bike at narrower angles? It seemed they could, but partly I thought it was their skill that did these things, not the amount of wheels. I did try to go faster on my training wheels, and I tried to do those itty-bitty twists and turns, but it seemed the frame of my vehicle just wasn’t narrow enough.

At around six years old, I finally got interested in having my training wheels removed. There was a bit of delay in accomplishing this. My parents thought of training me on their own, but instead they enrolled me in some lessons through a pediatric occupational, physical, and speech therapy place where I attended. The woman who ran the group was someone I knew, as I had taken a few OT lessons with her before. She taught us how to fall off the bike first, which my mother believed was a genius method.

I stood upright on the bike, with my legs touching the ground, lifted one leg off the ground, and then pushed it down once again, with a parent or guardian holding my handles if I needed. We’d do this for about ten intervals, then switch over to the other side. This gave me the thing I desired: comfort. In addition, we did the classic pedaling and having a parent or guardian hold your seat upward to assist balance.

After only around three of the four lessons at the practice, I had it figured out, as did a few of the other students. Our therapist was very impressed, and assigned us to swirl around the courtyard independently while she worked with the remaining students who needed some guidance. Before long, I could go just as fast as the other two-wheelers at the park, and could even make those itty-bitty squiggly paths, just like what you’d make while ice-skating.

I got a lot more enjoyment out of bicycling once my training wheels were removed. I covered more ground and went much longer distances. Soon, our parents started to go biking with us at some paths, and we would get our bikes upgraded every couple of years, adding speeds, brakes, and other gadgets. Regrettably, we haven’t been biking in a long while, and it’s a shame. It taught me a lot about the basics of courtesy, athleticism, and balance. Hopefully my family and I will pick up the habit again sometime in the near future.

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