“Stop!” “Don’t let go!” “I don’t want to do this anymore!” “I’m going to die!” These were the screams of seven-year-old me trying to learn to ride a bike from my sister. Riding a bike back then was as terrifying as poisonous snakes, bears, sharks, and any other terrifying creature or experience known to man. It all started one day during our spring break in elementary school, my sister got her first bike from our parents and decided she wanted to teach me how to ride it. At this point I had a bike, just with training wheels, just the way I liked it. I didn’t want to learn to ride it, since I always wobbled and had bad balance at the time. However, my pushy sister forced me outside, put a helmet that was as big as a watermelon over my tiny head, and started to guide me into trying to learn to ride a bike. Each time she would have me sit down, hold onto the sides and have me pedal. At this moment, I was already wobbling too much, I couldn’t ride straight if my life depended on it. Due to the mix of fear and anxiety, the large amount of Burger King I ate right before, and the fact the bike was too big for my seven-year-old self-compared to my 12-year-old sister, it was soon obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to learn anytime soon. However, day after day, my sister would take me outside, put the same oversized helmet over my head, and ride me down the street trying to get me to be able to ride by myself. Every time she would let go of the handles and let me ride the bike myself however, I would freeze immediately due to the fear of falling, and just get off the bike before I would fall. We would do this for hours each day, until finally, thankfully, she stopped due to her frustration of me not being able to ride the bike and the fact school started up again. So, after the hellish practice, I was able to stop and enjoy not being able to ride a bike, cursing the contraption and whoever invented the evil machine.
Fast forward a few years, I was eleven years old, my family and I were going off to Wisconsin to visit family who had just moved there. It was exciting at first as it was the first time I left California, however, once reaching there we soon realized it was as boring as watching paint dry. However, my brother noticed that our cousins out in Wisconsin had the same evil contraption I had despised, bikes. They would take the bikes out on some of the trails around their house from time to time. My brother and my cousins thought it was the perfect opportunity to try getting me to learn to ride it. I did something however that I regretted not doing the last time I was forced onto a bike, I went running to my parents begging them, going on my knees in a bowing position, “Please save me! I don’t want to ride a bike! I’m going to hurt myself bad!” However, my parents thought it was a great idea and that my brother and cousins were really nice to try and teach me to ride a bike. It was at that moment, I thought God had forsaken me. Afterwards, I was dragged outside, even though it was summer, it was still felt extremely cold in Wisconsin, and now with a helmet that actually fit, I was put on a bike and practiced. It was the same hell all over again. Each time I was put onto the bike with my brother helping me keep balance and steer the bike, each time he would let go and have me go out and ride for myself, I would instantly freeze, stop myself, and get off the bike. “Can we stop for the day, I’m tired!” “We only have been doing this for twenty minutes, you can practice more.” Conversations like this arose each time and my fear kept growing larger and larger. We kept doing this for two more days until I came up with a genius plan. This time, as soon as my brother let go of the handles, I fell along with the bike down onto the ground. I scraped my knees pretty badly, however it was worth it since right after this happened, my parents saw and immediately decided to stop us from practicing. This battle ended with wounds; however, I was able to escape riding the contraption of death and destruction.
After a couple of years, thirteen-year-old me was going to school, amused with life. One day, my friend Andrew started talking about his new bike he bought. He was really happy with the buy; he used his bike to get everywhere. To go from school and back home, he used his bike. To get from his house to McDonalds, he used his bike. To get from Earth to the Moon, he used his bike. I told him afterwards that I didn’t know how to ride a bike, and he eagerly suggested that during the coming weekend, he would come over and teach me to ride a bike. I was hesitant at first, however during this time my sister started making fun of me quite frequently for not knowing how to ride a bike, so due to the want of shutting her up, I agreed. That weekend, Andrew came over, and we immediately started going up and down the street trying to get me to ride a bike myself. So far, this was the best attempt. He was more informative on the way to ride a bike, teaching me how to balance myself and how to make sure my feet stay on the pedals. This did help a lot, but the fear of falling still held me back. By the end of this however, I achieved one rotation of the pedal by myself, before falling onto the ground. Andrew had to leave soon afterwards as his mom was calling him back home, however I felt accomplished, and plus my sister stopped making fun of me for a while, making this attempt worth the fall.
Skipping to three years later, I was sixteen, in my junior year of Highschool, and didn’t know how to ride a bike. My friends started to develop interest in bikes, talking about what types of bikes they liked, racing, road bikes, electric, carbon fiber body, how fast their own bikes went, and the overall enjoyment they got from riding their bikes. It was then, the war between me and the evil contraption had ended, but I still felt scared about riding a bike. However, a new feeling came over me compared to the other times I tried learning to ride a bike, ashamed that a sixteen-year-old guy still couldn’t ride a bike. So, during spring break of junior year of Highschool, I went over to my friend’s house, tired and thirsty since I rode a 10-year-old Razer scooter that was rusty, squeaky, and way to small for me over to his house since I didn’t have a ride. I drank some water at his house and right afterwards, we started practicing. Compared to the attempts to teach me to ride a bike earlier, he did something very different. Instead of getting hands on, he was very hands off. He told me “Just feeling it out”. I was still scared but gave it a try. Since at that time I wasn’t near my house, each time I almost fell I would curse like a sailor saying, “F**k this sh*t! F**king a** cheeks! This is f**king stupid!!” and since he was laughing so much “F**K YOU!”. He then said, “Yo, you know there are kids around playing in their backyards, and there’s a park right next to us?” I immediately said, “I don’t f**king care! F**k them! This f**king sucks! F**K!” After this intense moment, he realized what I was lacking, balance so, he had me practice balance first. Next to his house was a very gentle slope of a road, he had me not pedal, but just ride down the slope trying to keep balance. I kept at this for about an hour, constantly cursing into the air, until finally I was able to ride down the slope without falling, keeping balance. After this he said to try pedaling now that I could maintain balance. After two tries of my feet missing the pedals, I started pedaling, started moving, finally, started riding the bike. I took it around his street a few times until I finally got the hang of it. It was one of the best feelings in my life, air hitting my face, the idea that my legs were causing the bike to move, the speed, everything about it was amazing. I screamed out in joy “F**k yes! I f**king did it! I am a legend, I am a f**king legend!” After years of being afraid, putting it off, thinking that biking was never meant for me, I was finally able to ride a bike. Afterwards we went to my house, me riding one bike him riding his other, we ate some of my mom’s cooking and I realized I destroyed my throat from yelling so much. Probably karma from cursing so much when there were kids around.
After years of this battle against learning to ride a bike, I accomplished what I thought was absolutely impossible. Since I was a kid in kindergarten, I thought riding a bike was never meant for me. I would just drive or walk around; it would be perfectly fine. I might have been able to get by life without knowing how to ride a bike, however the experience of riding one, overcoming the mental blocks I had about riding one, was one of the happiest and most exciting moments of my life. It caused me to be able to try out other things I was always nervous about. Looking back on this experience, it taught me that no matter the fear or doubt, you’re able to overcome it with enough practice, perseverance, and a whole lot of cursing.