I’m afraid of a lot of things. (See Confessions of a Phobaholic.) I didn’t learn to swim until I was 25 because I was afraid of the water. Really, the only reason I learned was because I almost drowned on a houseboat trip and my BFF Sarah insisted on teaching me. I’m also afraid of heights, so when my high school classmates were climbing billboards, I was sitting at the bottom while they made fun of me. Hey, maybe I’m a chicken, but I haven’t fallen to my death yet!
Now I’m overcoming another fear – riding a bike. Bike riding in itself isn’t scary, but falling off and scraping my face on the pavement is scary. I like my face! I really don’t want to lose it!
Yes it’s true… I don’t know how to ride a bike. I grew up an only child (my sisters lived with their mother and I rarely got to spend time with them), and I guess it never occurred to my parents to teach me. I was often asked by friends to ride bikes, and they said, “It’s easy, you just do this,” as they pushed off and peddled away. Yeah, that was no help at all.
I decided to learn several years ago when Mark bought me a bike at a yard sale. His attempt to teach me was a complete failure because he let go of the bike, I fell over, I yelled at him, and he yelled at me. I was just too afraid of falling down and hurting myself. Then I refused to try again for years. I am, what my friend Tarron calls, a sissy-la-la.
Recently I decided to give it another go. I wanna be a big girl and ride a big girl bike! Mark insisted we need a hill so I can get some momentum. I insisted I would fly down the hill, flip the bike over, and smash my face. I just kept seeing my friend Darren the first time we took him skiing, flying down the hill and crashing like a cartoon character.
“You need a hill so you can learn to coast,” he said.
“I’m going to fall and hurt myself.”
“No you won’t.”
“You’re going to yell at me!”
“No I won’t.”
I guess I trust him. I mean, I’ve been married to the guy for ten years.
He took me to a road with a slight hill that’s off the beaten path. “Okay, all I want you to do is balance, then coast, with your feet down,” he said.
“I’m going to fall on my face on the pavement!”
“No you won’t.”
So like a five-year-old, I cautiously coasted a foot at a time, putting my feet down, picking them up, putting my feet down, picking them up, and screaming as I pulled the breaks.
“You’re doing good!” he kept saying, (probably because he knew if he yelled at me I’d run back to the truck and refuse to cooperate).
For a solid hour we went up and down the hill, and I managed to coast a whole six feet. He told me I did extremely well! Victory! Maybe after ten lessons I’ll be able to peddle a few feet. That should be interesting…
Don’t worry, I’ll keep you guys posted!