Like riding a bike

Earlier this month my friend and I got to teach our other friend how to ride a bike. Yes, that’s right, we taught our fully grown, adult friend how to ride a bike. I’m glad I got to be there when my friend got to check this off her to do list.

I say “taught” in the loosest sense of the word because I’m pretty sure all I did was shout “just keep pedaling! pedal pedal pedal!” like a broken record, with an occasional “brake! right hand brake brake brake!” when she would steer and veer into the curb to try to slow down.

After about two hours, she got the hang of it and could ride for substantial stretches and even make looping circles, albeit only in one direction. As I’ve never taught anyone (child or adult) to ride, I don’t have anything by which to compare her progress, but I was impressed she got it in one day.

And as always with teaching, it was rewarding to witness someone accomplish something, in this case something quite tangible. At the start of the session, she could not ride a bike. By the end, she was (at times) coasting down the bike path like nobody’s business. (Again, 99% her effort and 1% our encouragement.)

Watching her gain this new skill made me want to learn something new too (versus learn more). Something fairly tangible where I can say, “Before I couldn’t, but now I can.” I can’t really remember the last time I felt that concrete sense of accomplishment.

Riding a bike also offers a great metaphor for life. You have to square your handlebars and keep pedaling through the wibbles and wobbles to stay balanced on the bike. Stop moving and you fall over. So that was my little aha moment as I watched my friend learn this on her own. Momentum = life.

At the end of our session, we parked our bikes on a hill and took in the sunset. Unbeknownst to us, there was a photography club behind us also taking in said sunset. After they got their shots, one of the members offered to take a few pictures on our phones. The result was a nice memento for my friend to commemorate the day she learned something new.

PC: the kind stranger from the local photography club

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