My name is Marion and I don’t know how to ride a bike. Really, my relationship with anything with wheels on the bottom, that doesn’t also have an engine, is not a good one. The story is pretty epic, where it’s not just sad.
At 3 years old, I crashed my big wheel (yes, Cabbage Patch themed). I don’t remember all the details but I think it involved a sharp turn and bent plastic. A few months later, the “impossible tricycle accident”: all I did was get on the trike, start to peddle and ended up on the ground with a skinned knee and elbow. Who turns over an immobile tricycle by just thinking about riding it? I’ve been baffled by this ever since.
At 5, I got this awesome UNC Tarheel bike with training wheels. Though I never had any wrecks on this, I made slow strides: up and down the driveway only. I never really tried a turn on the bike, always getting off and walking it through when needed. My mom never pushed the issue of taking the training wheels off, though I could see it in her eyes. Really, she was just happy I was playing outside.
Flash forward to a 9-year-old me who is casually asked by a friend if I want to come over and ride bikes together. In horror, I realize that I still only have my bike with training wheels and it’s been over 2 years since I’ve been on that. I find my gorgeous Carolina Blue bicycle collecting rust in the back of the garage.
Thus begins my dinner time protests with my mom that I need a bike for a “big kid” and need to learn to ride it without training wheels and fast. Other kids had caught on to my inability to ride and had added on to the already lengthy lists of things to pick on me about. When I finally had a bike to ride, I took a really optimistic view and went for it.
…I’d love to stop this story right here and break into the part when I say “And finally learning to ride the bike, having all the optimism and courage, lead me to better things. It’s with that same spirit that I can move forward with my blog and my career…” – but that’s not the case.
In my trials for that first year with the bike, I suffered no less than 5 injuries (skinned legs and arms, major bruises, and having the wind knocked out of me). It was no fun; I went weeks, even months at a time between attempts. No one guided me (mom had to work) and, even worse, no one understood why I couldn’t do it. A teacher commented to my mother that it made sense that I couldn’t ride a bike since my handwriting was also so horrible. This comment didn’t help either problem. There was no support.
Finally, a friend of my mom’s was at our house one day and held the back of my bike as I peddled. They did this several times and eventually let me go and I was able to ride about 8 feet without incident. I did it.
But it may have been too little too late. I never rode bikes with anyone, never tried to do turns or hills. I walked it out on the street one time, but never rode it in any area that had a real possibility of cars going by. 20 years have gone by. Yes: my name is Marion and (for all practical purposes) I can’t ride a bike.
We won’t get into roller skating today.
(P.S. This was inspired by today’s Post-a-day prompt of “How do you know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em?” I soon realized that that my “fold” in this case was not really a conscious decision.)