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Do You Remember Learning How to Ride a Bike?

Think back to when your bike's training wheels came off and you delved into that confluence of balance, momentum and some other still-mysterious factors.

Over the past couple weeks, I've watched the below video go viral and, with each reposting from various friends, coworkers, blogs, etc., I've found myself rewatching it with a smile.

I think we can all relate to the kid's silly glee, perhaps remembering our own first ride or some other momentous occasion where our excitement overrode our inner editor and we unabashedly channeled our youthful delight.

Truth is, from time to time, I feel like that kid—frequently during or after having ridden a bike. Thumbs up and rock-and-roll, yes, but there's an exuberance that's harder to define. It's part of the reason why I love riding so much.

In hindsight, I don't remember how old I was when I first rode a bike unassisted, nor the days of wobbly practice sessions, unsure foot-to-grounds and unavoidable scabs and bruises. I just remember the grass, the sun and my light grey BMX bike. And the immense feeling of accomplishment.

Since then, there have been more bikes and more little moments of radness, some clearer in the memory banks than others. But with every new experience on a bike, be it a new skill or accomplishment or even just a great ride, I get a little glimpse of that kid's shameless joy. This vid only reaffirms it.

I'm stoked that there are others out there learning to ride bikes, some of them even honing their future inspirational speeches in the process—so to that kid, I give a hearty thumbs up in return, some rock-and-roll, and here's to plenty more moments when we all feel happy of ourselves.

Posted on at 1:19 PM

Tagged: Cycling, bicycle, children, kid, learning, rock and roll and thumbs up

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I actually don't think there's anything silly at all about his glee. I take his glee very seriously.

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Most of the memory of my first solo bike ride (on a red 1960 Schwinn Tornado, I do remember that much!) has been slowly erased in the 51 passing years since it occurred.

Much easier to recall the first solo flight of my son, Andrew, on his 20 incher. We lived in in "Aloha Hills" near Longview, WA, a small, newer development whose swell had ended abruptly, leaving several streets stalling out to become long, lonely cul-de-sacs, ours being one. It was down such a deserted dead end my son and I trained our sights one quiet Sunday morning. After some discussion, we removed his bikes training wheels and Andrew climbed on. Steadying the bike with a hand on the rear of his seat, I jogged along side him and out into the street, waiting to for a sign that he was ready for me to let go. He wobbled for a few yards and then suddenly sat up straight - his internal gyroscope finally kicking in. My hand loosened, then let go. He flew off.

The memory of that sunny morning, and the vision of him as seen from behind, gliding off towards a horizon of gray asphalt and green fields, will always be one my great treasures.


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