Today I am celebrating my very first bike ride ~ YAY ME!!
Ok, well maybe I am over exaggerating a little bit on the “very first” part but it was my first ride on a road bike, by myself without any help and I personally think that it is a huge achievement.
LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING…
Way back when I was 5 or 6 years old, my parents bought me a bike as a gift for my birthday or christmas or something like that. The bike was bright pink (of course) with long tassels hanging from the handle bars and a white basket at the front which was decorated with flowers. The bike had training wheels and I didn’t take the training wheels off for a very, very long time!
I was allowed to ride this bike anywhere I wanted, as long as it was in the back yard. Most of the time I rode on the grass because if I fell over it wouldn’t hurt as much as falling on to the concrete. A much safer approach.
I vividly remember my mum screaming at me. She forever warned us not to go on the road. It is too dangerous, she would say. There are a lot of cars on the road and you might get run over.
Fast tracking to my teenage years I was super excited that mum let us ride our bikes through the bike track. However this was always supervised and we were never allowed to ride too far or be in a spot that was out of mum’s sight.
That is my total childhood experience of bike riding.
My husband (the bodybuilder) had a slightly different childhood and being a ‘boy’ he seems to know absolutely everything there is to know about riding bikes. I’m sure that he had BMX bikes and dirt bike and did special tricks and jumps and how to go super fast. The thought of all that scares the shit out of me but for him… it’s completely natural.
FAST FORWARD A BIT AND NOW WE ARE IN OUR 30’s
We are looking for something fun to do together and so we decided to give bike riding a go. I thought to myself… how hard can it be?? Just like “riding a bike” right?
After a lot of online research, my husband found us the perfect bikes to ride. We went shopping and got the whole set of bike riding stuff from a store in the city and then we were set. I had the bike, I had the helmet, I had the fancy shoes that lock in to the peddles, I had the lycra (which is soooo unflattering it’s not funny), I had a new back pack and a new water bottle. Most importantly I had Map My Ride downloaded on my phone ready to track this new awesome experience.
BEING A “REAL” CYCLIST
I imaged us riding on the road like all of the fancy riders that you see early on Saturday mornings. They look so fit and they ride in groups and they are always riding really fast. As stupid as it sounds, I honestly thought that I could jump on the bike and start riding like one of them… cyclist.
RIDING FOR A CAUSE
I think we even signed up for the Rio Tinto Ride to Cure Cancer - a two-day cycling event where you ride throughout Queensland’s scenic countryside to raise money for a good cause.
Nup. That so did not happen.
My first ride on a road bike lasted exactly 100 meters to the top of the street.
I freaked out and I crashed. There was a car on the road (surprise, surprise) and I ran in to the gutter, busted a tire, scratched my new bike and grazed my legs to the point where there was lots of blood and I didn’t think I would ever walk again. Then I spent the next two days complaining about the pain between my crouch which was caused from the sitting on the very uncomfortable bike seat.
The bikes went back in the shed.
My husband didn’t stop laughing and I was mortified.
It was like all of my dreams of becoming one of those “road bikies” came crashing down… literally.
So, yes I am a little bit excited by today’s bike ride. I got back on the bike and tried again and again. Then, today I did it all by myself! It was the first ride that I did, without any help from my husband and without crashing.
Since the title of the post is “How To Ride A Bike When You Are Over 30 Years Old” I think that I should leave you with a few tips. This is what worked for me:
Tip 1: Start Riding!
Don’t worry about all of the ‘stuff’ that you can buy. It’s not important unless you have been riding for a while. Get on a bike and just go.
Tip 2: Ride in a Safe Place
Don’t go on the road until you feel confident to do it. Start by riding on a bike track or at a park. You will build your skills without worrying about road rules and on coming traffic.
Tip 3: Go With A Friend
Riding a bike is more fun with a friend. They keep you going when you don’t feel like riding anymore. Having a friend around (especially one that knows how to ride) will be a great assistance just in case you have questions or if something goes wrong.
Tip 4: Build Courage
This took me a while. In fact I am still building my courage. Every time a car drives by or i come up to a bridge or a hill i freak out. Don’t let this stop you. Have the freak out… it’s ok! Take it slow and master one challenge at a time. For me, the first challenge was learning how to hold the handle bars properly. Remember you can alway get off your bike, walk across the path and then get back on the bike again. Which leads me to the next tip…
Tip 5: Get Back On Your Bike
No matter what happens, get back on your bike and try again. Through practise you will get better. You might fall, you might hurt yourself, you might damage your bike, you may get laughed at… but don’t let any of this get to you. Simply get back on your bike and ride again.
Do You Have Any Tips For Riding A Bike?
Please share them, by posting in the comments.
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