We all want those big moments. The “aha” moment, the moment when we see the light, and the moment where everything makes sense. To quote Bruce Springsteen, “some people spend their whole life waiting for moment that just don’t come. Don’t waste your time waiting.”
Recently I wrote a post entitled “The Fearful Rider.” The post focused on the challenges I have been facing as I try to teach my son, BR, how to ride a bike. It has not gone particularly well. He is struggling, and I am struggling with teaching him. I have not ridden a bike for years – just a couple of times since I was hit by a car as an 11-year-old boy.
BR had been bicycling around the block showing halting progress. He was mildly interested at best. After a week of practice, he spent a week at his grandmother’s house. Upon his return home, he had no interest in practicing again, and I had no interest in fighting him. Things were at a standstill.
Then, I came up with an idea. And BR bought into it. I suggested we ride a tandem bike together when we were on vacation. I figured that when this ride went well, BR would feel comfortable and confident to ride on his own. It was my intention to get him to practice as part of this upcoming ride. That, unfortunately, did not happen.
When we got the Jersey shore, BR asked me about when we are going to go on a bike. His fear seemed to have completely evaporated and was replaced by excitement. I was thrilled. I had grand visions of BR and me gliding along the boardwalk. We would be basking in the ocean breezes. We would engage in intermittent chatting about how great it was to be together on a bike.
On Wednesday morning, after we woke up, we had breakfast (we skipped the PED’s – save ‘em for the Tour De France). It was a beautiful morning –humidity free and cloudless. We got to the bike rental place at just after 8:30, paid for and received a bike, and strapped on our helmets. By this point, I was nervous. Yes, I was nervous about BR. However, I was even more nervous about myself. After all, I had not been on a bike for years. Now, not only was I getting on a bike for the first time, but I was putting my own son’s safety at risk. Maybe I could not ride a bike anymore. Was the saying you never forget how to ride a bike true?
Well, BR and I were given the green light to ride away. It was not steady going. We decided to walk the bike up the slope to the boardwalk. We got to the side of the boardwalk and got back on the bike again. We wobbled. Each BR shake or jerk shook the bike. We almost fell. But we didn’t. We stayed upright and bumped along. We struggled on the turns.
As BR and I rode, I realized that I felt comfortable. I enjoyed riding. I did not forget. What about BR? “We should do this again, this is easy,…” Later on after two stops, BR was ready to hand the bike in early. “My legs hurt, I’m tired, sorry for jerking the bike.”
So, BR and I rode a bike together. It wasn’t perfect. The ride didn’t change everything and make BR eager to ride a bike himself. However, he enjoyed it, and I enjoyed it. We both conquered some of our fears. That is a moment worth savoring.