Monday, August 25, 2008

never too late

At last, thirteen years after the socially accepted age to be biking without training wheels, I can balance myself on two wheels and a saddle. It took much peer pressure – from friends who play bike polo, a brother who repairs bicycles for a living, and the newly implemented bike racks on the HSR – but I did it.

On June 14th, my brother arrived at my place in Hamilton feeling it was his duty to teach me the methods and lifestyle of a cyclist. Figuring training wheels didn't come my size, we decided it was best to skip this step and go straight to balancing. My brother had me stabilize my left foot on the pedal and push off with my right, thus mimicking a scooter motion. It took me a while to perfect this motion, especially with neighbors suddenly appearing on the streets and having my self-consciousness get the best of me. But eventually with my gliding skills intact, I was brought to a grassy field. With the security of my brother's hand wrapped beneath the bike seat, I placed both feet on the pedals and began to well… pedal! Being hard enough to run alongside a six year old on wheels, it was even harder to do so alongside a nineteen year old, so naturally, my brother let go, and I was biking on my own!

I spent the next couple of days after work in the staff parking lot of St. Mary's Secondary School perfecting my left turn, hand signaling, gear-shifting, and whatnot. And if you're wondering about the outcome 2 months and 10 days later—I've been biking to and from work everyday; I've been able to reach far past the 4km mark on the Hamilton-Brantford rail trail; I've made use of the new bike lanes on York Blvd.; no longer do I have to revolve my schedule around the HSR; and most astonishingly, the once foreign-to-me terms such as fixed gear, derailleur, and
pannier rack have now inserted itself into my everyday vocabulary.

With each stroke of the pedal, I now feel the awe and thrill of every neo-cyclist, only without the flashiness of pompoms and straw-baskets.

Sarah Kam

1 comment:

Rob Archer said...

Great post Sarah. I enjoyed reading your "learning to ride" experience. And they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
Rob [from MACycle]