We’ve all heard the expression that it is just like riding a bike. Generally referring to something that once you learn how it is something you never forget how to do.
But do you remember those daunting steps towards that initial goal of learning how to ride your bike. How you first had to learn to ride with the training wheels on the bike, teetering from side to side as the bike gained its stability from bouncing against the training wheels. Do you remember how scared you were of your new favorite toy once the training wheels came off?
The most terrifying part of coasting while trying to steer as you leaned to pull your feet up automatically to the pedals as you tried to coordinate pedaling, steering and trying not to wreck.
Recently my five year old son mastered riding his bike just before his sixth birthday. The utter joy and excitement that beamed from him from this milestone achievement. His first real vehicle that actually belongs to him that can convey him at unrealized speeds much faster than his legs and feet alone. The excuse to travel to the end of the street – the new much farther boundary of his universe beyond his yard.
My son has a younger brother who is 20 months behind him. The enthusiasm of my older son was countered by jealousy and abandonment from his younger brother. The younger sibling tried as much as he could to follow and keep up with his older brother who he idolizes on his tricycle. There is a physical limit to pedaling a trike that can never catch a much bigger bicycle.
I remember telling my wife that it wouldn’t take the little one long to catch up to his older brother and he would be riding much sooner than it took his older brother. I was right but never did I dream that desire to keep up with his older brother was as strong as it is. Within two months the youngest mastered the art of bike riding in order to stay up with and remain in his big brothers realm of influence as it involves playing, travel and boundaries.
I was the oldest in my family and know the pressure of always having to push through the fear and do everything first, right or wrong, before my siblings as we grew up. I never realized the tremendous monumental push and strength of character the younger siblings have in an effort to keep up.
Sharing the thrill and excitement of them both learning to ride their bikes between April and June was a trip down memory lane for me. Remembering when I learned to ride, remembering my first bike with the banana seat and orange paint. Seeing how over joyed my boys were at their accomplishment and the new found passion that is starting to wear on my wife and I as every free second the question is asked by one and both, “Can I ride my bike?”
Looking back as a boy at the ripe old age of 48 I know how this is the first steps towards the ever growing fascination with locomotion that will lead to cars, motorcycles, thoughts of flying. The learning of the history to flight to mankind’s trip to the moon and ideas being planned now to carry mankind off this planet into the Universe. That same desire that spurred young men to travel, sail away on ships and discover how small our planet really is in the ages past.
The development and desire of mankind to move faster, expand our boundaries in order to just go farther and ultimately see what’s around the next corner or over the horizon is just as awesome as mankind’s survival instinct. Both of these traits have done more to promote our species and allow us to grow possibly only surpassed by our curiosity and desire to learn new things and answer questions. I love seeing my baby boys develop and grow into young boys and seeing their desires push them to new heights and over come new challenges.
Driving a stick shift or manual transmission – it’s just like riding a bike. I pray I can restore on old manual shift car for when it is time for them to learn to drive – since most cars today are automatics. I want them to have that same experience I had when the time comes. It is true that once you learn how to do it – it is just like riding a bike, you never forget how to do it.
I hope you too got a little walk down memory lane. That through reading this you could remember that awesome feeling of achievement you once experienced when you took off on your bike for the first time. I really pray you get to experience it with your children and God willing your grandchildren.