But a few weeks ago, while checking out an event listing website in Manchester, one of the postings caught my eye - an adult learn-to-ride bike workshop, put on, free of charge, by Transport for Greater Manchester. The thought of it set me into a panic attack (not exaggerating!), so I thought to myself there's only one thing to do... do it! It also happened to fall on my step-dad's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOTT!!), so I took that as a sign.
Now, for context purposes, I rode a bike when I was a small child. In fact, I LOVED 'playing bikes' with my friends. But somewhere around 20 years ago, I stopped. I can't really tell you why, it just sort of...happened. And, of course, over the years I have entertained the idea of jumping back on, but as more time passed, I became increasingly terrified to do so. The biggest reason for this fear - my refusal to believe that anything - including riding a bike for the first time after a long time - could be as 'easy as riding a bike'!
I signed up for this even probably a month or so ago. Actually, I think it was around the same time as I signed up for comedy. There must have been something in the water at that time... Anyway, like comedy, I pushed it out of my mind until I received an email the other day reminding me. This once again set off a panic attack. It reappeared last night and throughout the night as I anxiously awaited the start of the workshop. This morning, I went through multiple stages of denial, psyching myself out, fear, but ultimately settled on optimism. One of the instructors told me I would be fine, as long as I don't think about it. So, I got a sweet neon vest, put on my helmet, and the lesson began.
There were about 10 of us in total, with all varying degrees of skill and experience. I was quite surprised that two of the participants had cycled to the workshop... However, there were three others who had never set foot near a bike before. Okay, so they likely have been in the general proximity of a bicycle, but you get what I'm saying! Right?
Anyway, we were first tasked to bike approximately 10 feet, with the instructor walking alongside us. It was super shaky, and kind of scary, but to my surprise and slight disappointment, it came back to me quite naturally. Then we separated, with those who needed a little more encouragement in one group, and the rest of us in another. Here we did a series of 'drills' from riding in a straight line, to weaving in and out of pylons, to shoulder checks and hand signals. And then, we were set free...
But the question still remains, sure I look pretty good in the above picture standing next to the bike, but did she (meaning me) actually do it?
If you look really close, at the end, you can see me doing a turn signal. #pro
So there you have it folks - challenge yourself to do the unthinkable; the things that scare you. I'm not saying you'll end world hunger, or find world peace (although if you could, it would be appreciated, but also I'd be out of a job...), but, it truly is incredible to see what you can actually accomplish when you push yourself!
So here is once again, to facing fears!
-the Orange Canadian