I have been wanting to learn to bike for years but did not have the time to do it until recently. A postcard at the library attracted me. “Car-Free Grandma”. Discover Your Superpower at a City Cycling Class – learn skills for confident commuting, explore the city by bike, get tips and tricks from daily riders.
I didn’t need to be further persuaded. If the class is for grandmas, I am young and can surely learn to bike without problem.
It was a hot day and the class was held under a flyover providing very welcome shade. There were 20 girls and women of various ages eager to learn how to cycle in 3 hours! Of course, I was full of anticipation and expectation. We signed a waiver to not sue the agency holding the class should we fall or hurt ourselves while learning to bike. Each one was also asked to sign up for a helmet and bike.
Step 1: Rules of 2
Use the “Rules of 2” when putting on the helmet
- 2 fingers on the forehead below the helmet for a level helmet
- 2 fingers below the chin and the helmet strap for a good fit
Step 2: Mount and Adjust
Mount the bike and adjust height of seat
Step 3: Balance
Learn balance by straddling the bike, pushing off and gliding with both feet off the ground. The bike had no pedals and we had to practise until we were able to roll the bike (with the legs off the ground) at a distance of four parking lots. It was hard learning to balance and keep the bike going straight. One by one the girls graduated to the next step. What am I doing wrong? “Push off fast. Look ahead not down at the bike” said the instructor. Yes, yes, yes! I could do it.
Step 4: Balance With One Pedal
Continue to learn Balance with one pedal. Have the pedal at 2 o’clock, pedal off as hard as possible and glide with both feet off the ground. I was zig-zagging again. “Push off fast. Look ahead not down at the bike” said the instructor. Again, that was easier to balance when I look ahead, not sideways, down or back.
Step 5: Balance with Two Pedals
Push off and look ahead.
Step 6: Braking
Gradually slow down with brakes, left foot on the ground, right foot on the ground or on the pedal ready to launch again.
I was very excited that I learned the cycle skills in 3 hours, with one fall as I was nervous at braking and turning. That fall increased my nervousness. I needed to be back on the bike as I knew that if I did not do that, I would be afraid to ride again for a long time.
As I pondered on the learning steps, I could not help thinking that mastering the biking skills is similar to mastering the skills to pick up and move forward when we encounter setbacks, failures or discouragements/disappointment in life. Do we keep our heads down, embarrassed with our setbacks? Do we keep on looking back? Do we stand still and not move forward for fear of another failure?
We don’t have a High Priest who fails to understand our weaknesses – He understands (Hebrew 4:15-16).
So, pick ourselves up, look ahead, not on the rear view mirror of life. and move fast forward.