I was about ten when I learned to ride a bicycle. After several futile attempts earlier (with help) I decided I was going to learn to ride without anyone’s help. One fine day, I asked my neighbouring friend for company (who was struggling as well). I told her of my plan to hire and ride a bicycle in three hours! Yes,three hours was going to be our dedicated deadline.
So, off we went jingling our pocket money. We came back with our hired bikes( which by the way were rusty and rickety). We decided that her place was perfect to accomplish our task; there was ample space around her garden as well as good outdoor tiling. So, with her at one end and me at the other end of the garden; with one eye on our cycles and one on our wrist watch, we began!
We stood athwart the bicycles, held on tight to the handlebars and then heaved ourselves onto our seats (too high for us). We slipped, heaved back and then slipped again. We held harder, and then after a few kicks in the air, pushed down the pedal. We tried not to fall off, we tried to pedal and we tried our best to balance all at the same time. We kept skidding down the seats again and again.
At times we managed to pedal, but just a bit; lost our balance and regained it. We went left, right, zig zag, we went forward and wayward. We panted, puffed and perspired. We egged each other when felt like giving up. We were in tears but refused to give up. Those three hours meant everything to us.
No one had told or forced us to do this. We had simply challenged ourselves. Those three hours were ticking by and we were exhausted with this self imposed ordeal. Yet, without a single break, we continued the nonstop drill of heaving,slipping, pedalling and falling.
Our efforts were slowly beginning to bear fruit. We found ourselves pedalling a little distance. That was encouraging enough. We managed to smile but just a little. Although fatigue had set in, we kept at it.
Three hours were almost up and we did not realize that. We were too busy and too determined with the last hurdle- to keep pedalling/cycling for as long as possible. We gradually found that happening.
I could not believe it when I suddenly found myself and also saw my friend cycling away. All those hours suddenly seemed worth it.Our resolve had paid off .We returned our bicycles and got back home moaning, groaning and complaining; but also very pleased and happy with ourselves. Our hands, legs and particularly our palms felt very sore.(after gripping the handles so hard) .
We continued our practice (turning) in the days that followed.We were still beginners and one day while cycling I saw my friends sister bike learning all by herself (we must have inspired her). She was on her bike in a narrow gap in the garden using the tree as her aid. I came cycling all fast and furious. I thought I get past her in the narrow lane. I could not control the speed, gave a warning cry to move and knocked her down!
She caught hold of the tree and went down with it into the bushes. We laughed a lot, she got up and she carried on. I don’t know if she learned to cycle after that. I am not even sure if they remember this. If you’ll are reading this, I hope you remember this memory is for you and about you 😉