Learning to ride a bike.

It’s true what they say, that once you’ve learned how to ride a bike you never forget. Unfortunately whilst I learned how to ride as a kid, I pretty much stopped at the point that I could go forwards and not fall off. After which, having proved I could do so, I didn’t bother again until a couple of years ago. At that point I had a theory that I’d ride around the place I was living. And so rode enough to find I could still go forwards and not fall off, but for various reasons I did not keep it up and so never got much further.

Recently however Kat has gotten back into riding. She used to cycle a lot, and in a random conversation with a collegue at work, wound up in a bet that she could ride to work, 3 times a week for 6 consecutive weeks. This is no small feat as the journey to work is just over 7 mileas each way. And contains a fairly daunting stretch of national speed limit road, where cars zoom past and don’t always give as much room as they ought.

However despite the challenges Kat has managed her first whole week of this challenge and is giving every impression of enjoying it. At least whilst the weather is accomodating it seems like a good way to include some exersise in a normal daily routine.

All of which has gotten me back on a bike and trying to learn again. My main problem is that whilst going forwards and not falling off is a big part of cycling. I’m still far from a standard I think is required to ride around on busy roads. I can just about handle gears (something bikes didn’t have when I were a lad) But riding with one hand?, either hand, to enable signalling….erm not so much. And actually when I consider my cycling in terms of if I try to ride on a road, I’m not convinced I can manage a straight line that well either. But practice is all I require so, I’ve spent some evenings in the last week cycling around a local bit of green, and venturing on to some quiet roads. And I am improving. Just need to keep at it and maybe I’ll get to the point where Kat and I can go cycling to places together.

Not sure whether I’ll also try to ride to work at any point. Maybe a little bit. But one thing that trying to learn to ride a bike has highlighted again, is that I really like driving. It comes much more naturally to me, and when I’m not stuck in traffic, I really enjoy it.

But it’s not good for the planet, or my pocket. So given that it’s been proved to me that cycling to work is not an unreasonable thing to do from where I live, I really should give it a try. At least in the summer.

One other thing I’ve learned, that had until this week completetly passed me by, is that there are girls bikes and boys bikes and the difference is more than just the colour. I still don’t understand why a boys bike needs to be different. I understand why having a lower middle bar, means that girls can get on and off in a skirt-friendly way. But why not make all bikes like that? Is there some advantage to the boys bike frame that makes it worth the difference? In any case I am for the moment using Kat’s old bike, and given that it is white, feel no shame in riding a ‘girls’ bike.

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