My older son came down this morning, nearly ready for school, and complained that his biceps were sore. He’d spent nearly an hour last night working on his wheelies (with little progress). Last week, it was drifting, an abbreviated skid that lets you roll up on a group of friends at speed, scare the hell out of them, and end up standing casually over your bike.
He has arrived.
I don’t honestly understand why it took so long. I taught him to ride when he was three. He’s been riding off and on (mostly off) for more than a decade, but only in the last few months has the magic of it finally taken hold.
You can see it in the way he slaloms down the street. He gives me reports of riding hands free down the bike path. He talks about all the places he could ride, how easy it is. He rides to school now, and to soccer practice.
After years of wondering how I’d been cursed (of course it was always my own fault) with two boys who just didn’t love bikes, I was so thrilled with his progress that I went out bought his younger brother a new bike. This is, strictly speaking, not a rational response, but hey, when is a new bike a bad thing?
The younger kid has had several bikes, each of which he’s regarded like a salad fork, if other people are using theirs, he will too, but otherwise he’s happy to leave it alone. The new bike has bucked that trend a little, but much remains to be seen. Will it finally become the dinner fork?
I am in a different place with all this now. I have tried my way, dragging them along on rides I was sure would light the appropriate fire, only to turn back 20 minutes later. I have accepted that I don’t know how to make someone love riding bikes.
So now I create opportunity, and I wait. Wasn’t that really what Siddartha was doing? He could achieve anything, he thought, as long as he could fast, and he could wait. That book was written by a German guy, so anything is possible.
This week’s Group Ride asks, how did YOU fall in love with the bike? Did someone lead you there, or did you discover it on your own? If you didn’t come to love the bike until later in life, I’m particularly interested in the chain of events/ideas that led you to cycling. If you have an origin story like mine, dating to your single-digit-days, then I’d love to hear how you thought about your first pedal strokes.