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Riding on persistence (58 days till “The Ride”)

April 26, 2012

   Finally, I got on the bike for more than 10 minutes! I didn’t quite last a half an hour, but at least I finally got out there.

   Perhaps the venue wasn’t the best choice. Billy, Patrick and I stayed in my driveway, which didn’t allow much room for travel. Patrick gave me great hints on how to position my pedals so I can kick off and go, but once I got pedaling, I had nowhere to go but into a fence, a shed or a house.

   Billy, who whizzed around me on his bright-yellow cycle, wasn’t moved by my lack-of-real-estate dilemma, and every time I was able to inch along, he advised me to “pedal faster!” I understood that I had to gain speed to better hold my balance, but the faster I moved, the faster an object seemed to be stepping in my way.

   As I got the hang of riding, I felt that I needed something to keep myself going. My mind is obsessed with multi-tasking, and it seems to learn better if more than one concept is floating around in there at once. To pedal better, I had to keep my mind entertained and to have some type of beat to follow, so I found myself humming the music that plays in the movie “The Wizard of Oz” during the scene where Miss Gulch visits Dorothy’s home to take Toto away.

   After a few minutes, it was clear that I was taking off well, but I required space to ride freely. It was time to get over the worries about what the neighbors would think and take to the street. I reluctantly dragged my bike down the driveway and stopped at the end, staring toward the dead-end street to the left as I adjusted myself on the seat. I decided to trek toward the area because there was no traffic, wobbling as I pedaled. As Patrick and Billy followed, we passed by a neighbor working on his car. I joked, “He’s thinking, ‘Look at the old lady learning to ride a bike.’” He had sound advice in return, “Well, they say once you learn, you never forget.”

   I made it a full block, and I was following Billy’s edict of “FASTER, FASTER!” until I no longer felt comfortable. This is when I decided to apply the brakes, and I did just as my instructors told me to do: Apply both at once. They said nothing about easing into the brake, so I stopped at full speed and promptly tipped to the left. I felt my head hit the pavement, and I was so thankful I was wearing the helmet.

   As I rested on the ground, Billy and Patrick approached cautiously because they couldn’t tell from a distance whether I was laughing or crying. Upon closer examination, they found a smile as I removed my hands from my face. I asked Patrick to take a picture for my online profile and Stick it to Cancer blog. I might as well document it all, the good and the bad, right? The lesson, the picture, the pain of hitting the ground and the bruises after whacking my knees with the pedals will serve as reminders of when I didn’t know how to ride. Hopefully, I’ll truly be able to ask, “Remember when?” and laugh about the past come June 23.

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