Tuesday, April 06, 2010

All I wanna do is...

...Bicycle bicycle bicycle
my mother and father divorced when i was five. my father moved out, and my mother, sister, brother and i continued to occupy the house we were renting.

this meant that he wasn't around to teach me how to ride a bike.

the neighborhood was ideal for bicycling around to parks and each others' houses, and my friends and i often did. but i was the only one of my friends who did not have a bike, due to a lack of sufficient funds. this didn't slow me down, however. i usually rode my shiny red tricycle that had survived my toddler years. at age 7, i was too big to ride it proper, but rather would put one foot on the step that crossed the frame between the two back wheels, lean over to hold the handlebars, and push with the other foot, much like a skateboard or the scooters of today.

naturally, i suffered a fair amount of ribbing for my mode of transportation.

i often passed this along to my mom. eventually, i goaded her into purchasing a used bicycle. (it is even possible someone from her work or church donated it to what they (and i--and no doubt my mother as well) felt was a good cause.) i can't remember if stores even sold bicycles with training wheels in that prehistoric time, the year of our lord 1979, or if this faded yellow, rust-pocked miscreant had ever sported them, but if so, they were long gone.

as my mother spent her spare time either cleaning house or sleeping, i needed someone to teach me to ride the thing. one of the neighbors' sons was a dashing, intelligent, mature, god-like strapping lad of 16 who was kind enough to lend me a hand. the neighbor's side yard sloped gently to a chain link fence that enclosed the back yard, and this seemed the ideal spot.

the teen would give me a shove, i would roll wobblingly down the lawn only to be brought to a jarring halt either by an unexpected impact with the lawn, or the fence. no doubt the first few runs were of the former sort due to my inability to keep the bicycle upright. but i do remember several "successful" runs of about fifteen feet that left me with no greater injury than whiplash.

yesterday, i took the boys outside to enjoy the sunshine, and they clicked helmets onto their heads, and began riding around our cul de sac. as they played, some acquaintances from school rode up, notably training-wheel free, and after making snide and snarky comments about my boys not being able to ride "two-wheel bikes," rode off.

no. 1 insisted he was ready, parroted by no. 2, and although i knew better myself, i grabbed a wrench and shifted the training wheels back so they would offer little resistance. i recommended the grassy yard to no. 2, who demonstrated an inability to do anything beyond moving the bike forward six inches with both feet on the ground pushing. i moved his training wheels back to perpendicular, and sent him on his way.

but no. 1 is 8, older than my own (rather delayed) biking lessons, so i persevere with him. he is convinced he can do it on his own, but after pedaling only a couple times before falling over, it is obvious he is going to need me to do the fatherly thing and run along holding onto him until i feel i can let him go. after several minutes of him either leaning on me heavily or only riding a few feet before falling over onto one foot, i am worn out, and think it best to continue the bicycling lessons on another day.

what i would give for a hill ending in a fence.

darth sardonic

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Blogger Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Awww Darth :) You know, that's one thing I too vividly remember about my childhood! LOL I'll never forget after my Dad had run along with me - holding the seat - and letting go without me realizing it. He yelled that I was "doing it!" like 15 feet later and I looked back, realized, freaked and dumped. :D Smooth sailing after that though.

Anyways, keep it up with your boys, they'll never forget it :)

8:13 PM  
Blogger Krissie said...

I was taught how to ride a bike by an older boy from my neighbourhood too. He promised to hold the bike, and he did... to a certain point. LOL My street is about half a mile long, and I kept going even as I realised he was left far behind me. Then some woman at the other end of the street said to me: "Aren't you gonna fall, dear?" and that was it. Crash boom bang.

Didn't make me give up, though.

12:53 AM  
Blogger darth sardonic said...

gringa n krissie, yes indeed. falling is always part of bike riding. don't worry, i am not giving up, just made some funny connection between my own lessons and mostly the fact that i am able to have this moment with my kids. of course, that got lost in translation here as both were yammering at me as i tried to write.

3:48 AM  

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