British children generally learn how to ride a bike at a young age after being taught by their parents. I am an exception to that rule. It’s not my dad’s fault – he tried to teach me, I remember cycling around the nearby housing estate with my stabilisers. To be honest though, I never saw the appeal. One of my earliest memories is tumbling over the handlebars of my tricycle into a patch of stinging nettles. I definitely didn’t want to repeat that.
So I stopped learning. My dad wasn’t going to waste his time teaching someone who didn’t want to be taught. Time passed and I accepted that I couldn’t ride a bike. It never affected my life in high school because I lived close enough to walk.
I never felt like I was missing out until I couldn’t go on a bike ride with friends in Byron Bay because I was only confident that I could go on a flat surface in a (generally) straight line. So when the opportunity came up to bike the wall of Xi’an, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and make up for missed time. So, with a friend who has the patience of a saint by my side, I got on the bike. Instantly nothing came flooding back to me, I had absolutely no idea how to start! Push off with one foot hard was my instruction. Sounded simple enough but it just would not happen. Until something clicked and suddenly I was off, going in a straight-ish line on a flat-ish surface and managing to avoid the Chinese tourists who found my excitement hilarious.
At 22 years old, I finally learnt how to ride a bike, and nothing can hold me back.
Do you like cycling? When did you learn how to ride a bike?