I have a confession to make.
I can’t ride a bike.
I’ve never ridden a bike.
And yet, my upcoming trip to China includes a full-day bike tour through the countryside.
Why would I put myself in such a crazy situation?
I was actually okay with being the odd one out when I was a kid. I didn’t have siblings pressuring me to learn, and my parents didn’t seem to care either way. My best friend “doubled” me on her bike, and before I knew it, I had my driver’s license and a car.
Aside from the occasional bike-enthusiast boyfriends who promised they would teach me and never got around to it, my lack of cycling skills really weren’t a big deal.
But as I prepared for our upcoming move, it struck me that having a cheap, readily-available form of transportation on the island might be a good idea. Sure, I can always walk, but long distances are easier to cover by bicycle.
There’s another incentive as well.
As I’ve gotten older, all the so-called childhood skills I never acquired have really started to bug me. I can’t ride a bike. I can’t skate. I’ve never learned to whistle or do a cartwheel. While ice skating isn’t something I’m bound to encounter in the tropics, cycling definitely is. I can always whistle and turn cartwheels later.
Needless to say, there’s a few extra challenges when you learn to ride a bike as an adult. You know that sense of invincibility you have when you’re a kid? Yep, gone. I’m well aware that I can bust a wrist or acquire a nice case of road rash on my face from this little adventure.
When you’re an adult, you have further to fall.
When you’re a kid, learning to ride a bike is cute. Everyone smiles at you as you struggle by on your training wheels with your parent jogging along behind.
When you’re an adult, you just look like a dork. At least, that’s what you feel like. It’s really embarrassing to publicly admit that you haven’t mastered a skill most people think of as kid’s stuff. (Not to mention the humiliation of toddlers leaving you in the dust.)
The Boy surprised me with a brand-new bike the other day. It has a nice, comfy seat designed to let me lean back as I learn, so I’m not contending with constant pain just from sitting on a bike (I don’t know how you cyclists do it).
Now there’s no excuse. It’s time for me to turn one of the great “failures” of my childhood into a success story.
Wish me luck!
Have you ever learned a “childhood skill” as an adult? Any tips for me?