One of the most important days of my life, was when I learned to ride a bicycle – Michael Palin
Some of us are lucky enough to recall memories as young as three, and most of the time they are linked to a prominent trigger, like learning to ride a bike.
You don’t need to dig too deep to bring back the memories, they stand out for all the right reasons. From finding your balance to breaking free from mum and dad, here are five things we know to be true from finding your wings on two wheels.
1. All the gear, no idea
You might have had the helmet, gloves and pads, but as you climbed onto the saddle you genuinely hoped that Mum or Dad would always be there pushing you along. Days turned into nights spent doing laps of the neighbourhood, and even after a week of cold hands and tired legs, there was nothing better than cruising by your friends house and waving without falling off! You were king of the road.
2. Parents sometimes tell fibs
Who knew this cycling malarkey was so easy? Hands on the handlebars, feet on the pedals, eyes on the road, you’ve got this. What you didn’t notice was the exhausted parent doubled over behind you, out of breath and wondering how their spine was able to bend this way. And then one day, they weren’t there anymore. You glanced over your shoulder and there was Mum or Dad, dissapearing into the distance. The sneaky rascals! Adrenaline replaced fear as you enjoyed your first taste of freedom.
3. You could go anywhere
Sure, you were allowed up and down the drive, sometimes even the street, but this didn’t limit where you could really go. There were galaxies to explore and castles to conquer! You could ride on the rings of Saturn and rescue the damsel in distress on your make-believe motorbike! Eventually you would be called in for supper, but in those precious moments you could be anyone you wanted to be, and the gravel path was your gateway to imagination. You were your own hero.
4. Falling off flipping hurts (but is also really cool)
You’d seen the bigger kids trying cool stunts on their bikes, and you know what? You really had got the hang of this riding business. The pedals moved effortlessly, and sometimes you could even lift one hand off, but then you got brave. You cycled a little faster, leaned back a little too far, and all of a sudden you were one with the ground. But those bumps and scrapes were so worth it! You legged it inside to show mum your battle scars, your war wounds and tumble tattoos, then all of a sudden you had THE best talking point for school. (Well, they didn’t need to know the whole story…)
5. You were a pro
You know what they say, if you don’t succeed try and try again, (then show off to everyone from your younger siblings to second cousins). It’s (literally) been a bumpy ride, but with practice and perseverance comes perfection, or at least that’s what it felt like. You may have been small by my were you mighty! Step aside there’s a pro in the midst! The day you won over the wheelie will go down as a cycling great; only a bunny hop away from the rest of your life.