Friday, 16 October 2009

In The Beginning: Learning To Ride

Before I set out and open the old wounds (metaphorically) and create some new ones (literally) I want to divulge my past experiences.

The past 20 years, have seen some calamitous attempts and the odd white lie.

To date, three people have attempted to teach me to ride. My mother, my friend's dad and my friend's brother. All three tried. All three failed.

However there are some lessons to be learnt from their attempts and quite a few laughs to be had.

First of all came my mum. Now, she worked hard all her life and still does. At the time she was working as a cleaner and was strapped of time and energy to take me out to learn.

My mum and sister's bike had been condemned to a dusty grave in my nan's shed, as our house was too small to store them. So there were no bikes readily available, odd conversation sometimes cropped up between the family, mumblings about my nan's god-son fitting stabilizers.

I have only met this god-son about four times in my entire life, so the odds of him dropping his busy life of being an unemployed chav, buying some stabilizers, fitting them to a bike I didn't have and then teaching me to ride, were slim to say the least.

So the job fell to my mum, who god-bless her was protective of me. However calling her protective doesn't quite cut it. In primary school I was forced to wear a vest, polo-shirt, shirt and jumper to school, to keep me warm, in the summer. Even now, when I told her I was learning to ride a bike, the first thing she said was "STAY OFF THE MAIN ROAD!"

Bearing her maternal omnipotence in mind, I'm sure it won't surprise you that she bought me a girls bike. Yes thats right, not only was the idea of a tubby, 10-year-old falling off his bike in public bad enough, she wanted me to do it on a little girls bike as well.

Although there was some method in her madness, said bike was purchased from a boot fair, where choice was limited but the bikes were cheap. Being a single parent family it was the logical choice, however a baby blue, girl's bike emblazoned with Tony The Tiger stickers was not.


Her other reason for buying a girls bike was the bent, down-tube frame. So if I fell off, I wouldn't hurt my...little fella.

In her credit I never did hurt myself in that way, however the one and only time she took me out on the baby blue monstrosity, I hurt myself in so many other ways. Scraped knees and bruised shins shattered my motivation as did her lack of advice...


This method of teaching me to ride a bike was very similar to her method of teaching me to drive.


What, 'kick on' means is speed up. Why she kept saying it and didn't just say 'speed up' I do not know. All I can say, was that it was annoying, very, very annoying!

My day spent 'just peddling' saw me reach my record distance on the long-jump run up:

Three Metres.

My mother has been the ideal parent all of my life, however for all her countless skills, she can't teach for toffee.

What i learnt: So if you are a parent or friend trying to teach a child or anyone to ride a bike. There are three things to avoid.

  1. Don't shout vague commands like- "RIDE A BIKE", "PEDDLE" and "STOP CRYING" It may have helped Forest Gump learn to run but won't magically teach someone to ride a bike.
  2. Don't buy a Girls bike for a boy, it adds insult to injury, most parents are oblivious to the embarrassment they cause. This is a no brainer.
  3. Don't put it off, if you're going to buy a bike, buy it! If you're going to fit stabilizers, fit them! If you're going to go out and teach someone, stick at it!

*Stay tuned for more embarrassing moral tales, as two grown men try and fail to hold an obese 10-year-old on his bike!*

1 comment:

MUMMY said...

It hurt me more than you believe it or not Laurence, I felt a complete failure as a mother, of course absent father's are always vindicated