Friday, 30 May 2014

Learning a New Skill

When I was a little guy, the kids my age all rode tricycles. We rode trikes from very early on until we were five or six. Then we would graduate to a two wheeled bike that had training wheels. As we developed confidence and balance, our parents would remove first one of the training wheels and then the other.
 
Part of the reason we would ride the tricycles for so long is that the manufacturers either couldn’t or wouldn’t make tiny bikes to fit the very little legs. There were several sizes of tricycles and as you got older and bigger you would get a bigger trike. There was no stigma attached t a trike, riding one was a part of growing up and you could ride very fast. Well, as fast as was safe. Tricycles were nice because you couldn’t fall off of one. Well, I guess you could but it is something that you really had to work on.

The key to bicycle riding is balance. I suppose it is actually being in a constant state of unbalance and mastering the art of staying somewhere in between falling and remaining vertical. We have all experienced having a parent running behind us and holding on while we ride down the road. The parent eventually lets go and we will either fall down or just keep riding. If you are lucky, you will fall down on grass, and if you are unlucky, you will fall on pavement. Grass is more or less soft and the worst that can happen in a grass stain on your ass or knees. The pavement will give you areas of your body that have been scraped clear of skin and will have ground bits of gravel and dirt into the wound.
 
You get older and riding a bike becomes second nature. We would ride all day long in the summer and if you asked us we would have told you that we rode hundreds of miles every day. We would ride to our friends, to the store, to a nearby forest or empty lot where we could jump and chase each other. The odd time we would fall, but that was generally because we were doing something stupid and or dangerous. We rode our bikes until we exchanged them for cars.

One of the cardinal rules of bike riding is to look where you want to go, not where you don’t want to go. This has been scraped into my skin time and time again. It has caused flat tires, dented rims, gravel slides and the odd time doing a header over the handle bars. I remember more than once riding over a sewer grate and having my wheels slip into the opening causing me to either do a flip or making me leap from the bike.

My buddy forgot this rule the other day and ended up on his ass in the middle of an intersection. Lucky for him he suffered a little damage in his hip, but will be fine in a week or so. When a sixty something kid falls off of his bike, it can have worse consequences than when a six year old fall off his bike. The six year old doesn’t fall as far and his bones are still soft. The sixty year old has brittle bones and doesn’t heal nearly as quickly.


My friend will be fine and is learning a new skill…how to walk with crutches.

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