As I said in my first post, there were many adventures in learning to ride that lead up to this blog. They were pretty ridiculous, to say the least. First, I just tried riding around my yard and down my paved lane. For someone who grew up only riding a cruiser, adjusting to a bike with different speeds is a bit of a challenge. Especially if that person is NOT in ANY WAY athletic. Not to mention having no sense of balance. I did not know how to even get on the bike. I did not know how to start the bike in motion. The guy at the bike store showed me that I need to have the seat pretty high. You need to realize that I am all of 5 feet, 2 inches. So raising the seat was a BIG deal for me. Once I raised the seat, I couldn’t just sit on it to start the bike in motion, because my feet now could not touch the ground. Every time I tried to raise my feet to pedal, I fell over. I had yet to realize the need to actually push off with one foot. This too was scary to me. I was like my mentor bike friend Luke’s 4 year old son learning to ride – I tried to hold onto something to keep the bike upright while getting both feet on the pedals. Jim’s truck, a tree, bushes, anything! (BTW, that four year old kid blew me out of the water and learned to ride within a week.)
Jim, who grew up riding bikes, motorcycles, etc. with brothers and cousins, stared at me in amazement. “Ruthie, just PUSH OFF, like this!” No dice. I’d fall over sideways. He knew then this was gonna be a long road. Once on the bike and in motion, things weren’t too awfully bad. Except then I had to change gears. I had already broken one of my kid’s bikes trying to do that before, not understanding the whole “You have to be moving in order to change the gears” concept.
I did wear my helmet at all times. I had watched this amazing video of mountain bikers where one guy rode across a narrow precipice, the ground gave way, and he rolled halfway down the mountain. He jumped up and lived to tell it, though, and the tuck and roll was to his advantage. This came in handy during our yard ride on the side of our grassy hill one day. Jim rode up oh, say 6 feet. I thought, “I can do that! I was in third gear. I got three feet up and ran out of steam, the bike started to tip, and I did a tuck and roll. Hopped up just as Jim was turning around (was hoping to avoid him seeing that). “Ruthie, are you ok?!?” Me: “Yeah! That was FUN!!” Him: “Woman, you’re gonna give me a heart attack!!!” He was just sure he had made a major mistake buying this bike by this point. But oh, there was much, MUCH more to come!