When I was younger -- maybe 6 or 7 -- I learned to ride a bike. I think I must have been about that age because I remember Sarah being fairly young but I don't remember Charlotte being born yet, so we'll go with that.
My mom must have been working part time because we went to a sitter's house during the summer. I don't remember how many days a week but regardless, we'd go to her house for the morning and early afternoon. The sitter's son was grown and out of the house but her daughter was in high school -- I want to say a junior or senior at the time. Sometimes she'd take us outside to play. So this particular day we were riding bikes and I decided to try riding without training wheels.
Instead of learning in a more traditional way, for some reason, we decided that I'd start up at the top of their yard and ride down a huge incline toward the house and then turn at some point in there to keep going on a straighter path. To recap, the idea was to NOT hit the brick house.
That didn't... EXACTLY... happen. But I did manage to turn the bike eventually and keep riding. And that's how I learned to ride a bike!
Well, fast forward a bit and we moved from Macon to Atlanta. I was 12.
There just wasn't a lot of time/opportunity to ride the bikes. I outgrew mine but high school was busy for me and riding bikes just didn't happen. I don't really remember ever riding after that move, come to think of it.
Fast forward a lot later and here we are in Greenville, 29 years old, and Jeremy really wants to get bicycles and ride on the awesome local trail we have - the Swamp Rabbit Trail. It really is fantastic. We'd tried jogging together but I can't keep pace with Jeremy so it was either not a good workout for him or me falling way behind and losing motivation. So this seemed to be a good compromise!
I was excited! It'll be great. And I'm sure I won't have any trouble remembering how to ride.
The Swamp Rabbit Trail crosses some train tracks. Essentially, I decided to see which was more durable: my knees, elbows, and hands, or the train tracks. The tracks won decidedly. I couldn't really use my right knee for a few days. So obviously, I got a little timid about riding afterwards!
I never did go over those tracks again after that.
Well, then a lot happened. I got pregnant and was uncoordinated enough on the bike that we didn't feel great (ok we both felt REALLY BAD) about my trying to ride while pregnant. Then after I had Alice, I couldn't ride for a while due to recovery -- and just surviving with a newborn.
Eventually, Alice was old enough to take riding, but we didn't have a baby seat, so we got one of those. I was super nervous about the whole thing. The riding, the baby, the possibility of disaster.
Alice hated it. HATED. Like, we were those parents with the screaming baby on the trail. Nothing was really wrong, of course. She just didn't like being in the seat. But we had to exercise...
So we kept at it. I was slow and awkward. Jeremy had the crying baby on his bike. It was... well, it was a thing that happened.
We got smarter though. We planned a stop for watching ducks, playing in the little water sprinkler area downtown (it's meant for kids to play in), and stopping to pet puppies. We stopped at the Swamp Rabbit Grocery Store that has the playground out front.
We made it fun and we pushed ourselves really hard to go farther or faster each time.
And guess what? Now, Alice LOVES it. She loves riding. She asks to ride the bikes. And I can keep pace with Jeremy just fine. I get a great workout every time and have lost some weight, and I FEEL so much healthier. I have more energy and get better sleep. Granted, my fibromyalgia pain is still there, but being healthier will help that too, in the long run.
I've learned how to take turns, use the gears on my bike correctly, and how to navigate the tougher terrain. I haven't fallen or had any incidents in a LONG time, and more importantly, I feel really confident riding. I enjoy it. I never would have imagined that.
So yeah. At 32 years old, I can finally ride a bike =) Don't give up on your dreams, kids.