Vicious Cycle

2 05 2010

I learned to ride a bike today! I’m so happy.

I was never given the opportunity when I was a kid. I begged for a bike each Christmas, knowing full well that my place within the proper age group for learning such rudimentary human skills as riding a bike and rolling one’s Rs (the latter of which I still can’t do, a fact that has given me much grief whenever I have to get off a jeep) was going to be yanked out from under me in due time, and my folks would always make some weird excuse that I’d get run over, which is really stupid since we had a huge backyard for cycling in the cloying safety required of sheltered brats such as myself. Of course, my little brother got a bike when he was around seven, and he never even asked for it. And when he got it, I was already too old and fat (14 years; about a 140 pounds) to try and learn without making a spectacle of myself. I was proud. And untrusting of my equilibrium and general physical prowess as most fat kids are.

The only other time I tried to learn was back was in Tokyo, where I was an exchange student for a very brief period during high school. You can imagine my host family’s horror upon learning that I couldn’t ride the bike they reserved for me. As you likely already know, the Japanese go everywhere on bike, and my incompetence royally screwed my host family’s itinerary. It was literally the hottest summer Tokyo had had in 50 years, and there I was with my host mother Junko, strolling down the sweltering streets, trying to get to the train station without dropping to the pavement.

A fellow exchange student who lived in the same prefecture, a Kiwi named Kirsty, decided to try and teach me how to ride one afternoon in front of her host family’s home. It did not go well. I tried and tried ‘til it got dark, and Kirsty played the part of inexhaustible cheerleader quite well, but no dice. It was mainly because I was always so scared of falling (by then I was about 10 pounds heavier and believed in my physical ineptitude with near-religious fervor), so the littlest wobble was immediate cause for panic.

But now that’s over! And it’s all thanks to my man-slave D, who decided that we should go to QC Circle early in the morning, rent out a bike, and get me some skillz. He said we weren’t going to leave until I knew how, which got me imagining that we would be there ‘til about 2 AM the next day, with him asleep on a bench and me wobbling in the moonlight.

And that did seem to be our fate at first. The first forty-five minutes were horrible. I have a pretty low EQ in general, and tend to get very frustrated over things I can’t ace instantly (read: Appetite for Destruction). D decided that I had to learn how to balance the bike first, and the pedaling would come in much later, so I had to push forward on the bike, lift my feet off the ground, and try not to fall as I glided onward. It was a total bitch at first, and there were dozens of times that I’d just stop short of falling and get all pissed and frowny and raring to chuck the bike at the nearest tree. But D is an awesome teacher with tremendous patience, and he just kept telling me to try over and over and over until something just sunk in, just like that, as if I had just gotten possessed all of a sudden by some incredibly balanced ghost, and by the end of the first hour, I could legitimately say that I could cycle like any other human worth his salt, hooray hooray hooray. The next hour was then spent practicing turns and figure-8s, and ended with a mini-slalom course D set up with a few big rocks. He really made sure to cover all the basics. In fact, on our next session, we plan to bike alongside the very thick Saturday morning crowds at the Circle. My lesson in moving obstacles, so to speak.

So there! I can ride a bike now! My incompetence has dropped a few notches, and I feel very good about myself. Now I just need to learn how to roll my Rs, whistle, do a bridge from a standing position, play Chinese garters, and do that really fucked up trick where you roll your eyeballs back ‘til it’s all white and offensive, and I’m pretty much set for life.

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6 responses

3 05 2010
nan

Will upturning my eyelids til you see you see how fleshy and moist it is underneath count for the offensive part? That, and then I’m ready for life too!

4 05 2010
Marguerite

Ay, pwede rin! 🙂

7 05 2010
Kat

After this, I actually rolled an R slowly just so I could figure out how it was done. You make an R sound and try to keep the tip from leaving your palate. The rolling comes from when the air from your throat loses, wins, and loses again, hahaha.

Yeah. I should be working right now.

7 05 2010
Marguerite

Thanks, Kat. My officemates are starting to wonder why I sound like an old vacuum cleaner, though. I should practice at home. 🙂

25 05 2010
cat

you gave me hope marge. haha. i’ve been desperately planning to learn how to ride a bike. and you proved that it can be done at 23. I still have roughly five months. thank you! 🙂

25 05 2010
Marguerite

Good news Caty — I’m not 23; I’m almost 25. Yay, more months for you! 🙂

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