Memories of Riding Your First Bicycle

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Memories of Riding Your First Bicycle
Steve Racey
1h  · 

The first time I had my hands on a pair of HANDLEBARS.

 I remember the day when I first learned to ride a bike. It was a frightening, yet fun experience. My granddad was the one who taught me, and he helped me when I got hurt. The first time I ever got on a bike, I had no idea what I was doing, and just about everything went wrong. The handlebars were backwards, and so was my helmet. My granddad told me to just put my feet on the pedals and start peddling. He also told me he would hold onto the back of the bike the whole time, yet he didn’t.


             As soon as I started trying to balance myself, he let go. I happened to look back just as he let go. I was scared to death that I was going to fall and hur myself. When I was scared, my mind went blank from peddling, and I just wanted off. I forgot how to use the brakes and fell right off the bike. My granddad kept encouraging me to get up and try again, and after about 15 minutes, I finally stopped crying, got up and tried again. Out of all the disasters that happened, I didn’t think anything else could go wrong, but of course it did.


             As soon as I started peddling again, my pants got caught in the chain, and I fell flat on my face and hit my nose. Since that happened, my granddad decided to call it a day and try again the next morning. The next morning I woke up bright and early, and very eager to try to ride my bike. My nose felt better, so I wan’t that afraid of falling anymore. This time I had knee pads, elbow pads, wrist pads, and of course my helmet.

             I was all set and ready to go, when it started to rain. My granddad told me that it was still “OK” to ride because it wasn’t raining that hard. When I began to ride again, everything seemed to be going good. I thought I mastered the art of riding a bike, and then all of a sudden my back tire slipped out from under me as I was turning, and once again, I fell to the ground, and began crying. I told my granddad, “I’m hopeless, because I can’t even ride a bike! What is wrong with me?”

First time I was a kid, and I can’t really remember all that clearly; there wasn’t much room to ride where I lived back then, and I was quite little.

Then we moved out of the city center to the suburbs. I had just started to ride without the training wheels when disaster struck and the chain broke. My dad got around and fixed it. However, soon the chain broke again, and the bike went to the garage and wasn’t repaired again. It was a different time, mind you, and with the war in my country and my dad just starting his business at that time, things were just busy. It lay there forgotten in the garage, which soon got turned into an improvised community bomb shelter.

So, I never really learned how to ride a bike as a kid. A couple of years ago, with (then) three kids and a family of my own I resolved to learn how to ride one. So, I borrowed my wife’s bike, lowered the seat until I could plant my feet down, and set out to learn on a recreational bike path, half a hour of riding or, khm, “riding” at a time. It must have been quite a spectacle to watch a grown man sweat profusely trying to keep balance on a bike. Going up a small incline was terrible; I struggled to keep going straight and pedalling. Luckily I’m not the type to get embarassed about making a spectacle of myself in public 😉

A few months of doing this once or twice per week and I went from “Look at that, ha ha!” to “Just a guy riding a bike… a bit badly”. I raised the seat to proper height and started going for longer rides. It felt great to be able to do that and get on the road with confidence, first rural roads with little traffic and then city streets (that was terrifying the first time).

After figuring what I liked and didn’t like about her bike and borrowing a different bike to try and get more of a perspective, I figured out what I’d like to ride and ordered one tailored for my tastes. Now I take just about any excuse to go for a ride; from short and long (if time permits) recreational rides, to going shopping or for a coffee on the bike 😉

I learned to ride a bike when I was 5.

I had been riding around with training wheels for sometime, and then one day my dad decided it was time for them to come off. I was super excited!

We took my bike down to the playground of the nearby school, and my dad held me up and ran alongside, while I tried my best to balance.

I only fell a couple of times before I got it. My dad let go of me and I kept going—straight for the school building. But I didn’t care, I was riding a bike! Even as I plowed right into the school, my little heart was filled with joy. I knew I was going to crash, but it was worth it. I immediately jumped to my feet and I wanted to do it again—without crashing of course.

Related reading

The Bull and the Bicycle on Drummond Street

Broken Bicycles and Love– Go Conrad Go!

Remembering the Past — No Swimming in the River Before the 24th of May Weekend and Other Things

Biking the Ottawa-Carleton Trailway to Carleton Place —Should we Call Reece Witherspoon?

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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