The Kid in Us
We were at my parents’ house for the holidays, a family reunion of sorts. My brother, his wife, his kids, and mine, my husband — we were all there.
My brother had cash to spare; to him, it was loose change. But I thought it was a lot to spend on a whim. Especially one that had the potential of leaving behind more than a few scrapes, or even a trip to the emergency room.
However, the sight of my brother and his wife rolling into my parents’ house with their blue and black bike still made me a little excited. I was in my early thirties, and I’d never ridden a bike. Well, except for a few brief occasions when I was still a toddler, and perhaps a couple of times when I grew a bit older.
What I had back then, though, wasn’t exactly a bike. Instead, it was a three-wheeler. I recall my older brother pushing me around in the crudely refurbished vehicle. I later found out it was the same one he had ridden as a small child.
Now, seeing him with his new bike a few decades later made me remember that I’d never learned how to ride. I felt a mixture of excitement and intimidation, with a good dose of apprehension. My adventurous side wanted to have a go at the bike, but I was also scared that, at over 80 kilos and with unevenly distributed fat from top to bottom, I might end up making that trip to the emergency room.
My big brother, over 40 years old and quite a bit heavier than me, had the first ride. As expected, it wasn’t so smooth, but he managed to escape without a scrape. And after a few laps around my parents’ compound, he’d become a pro.
My brother’s wife went next. Her attempt was even more unsmooth, which slightly improved after a few laps, but not much.
Finally, I found the courage to mount the bike when I saw my husband riding ever so smoothly, sweetly. I might be biased, but the way he rode under the light August showers gave me shivers. Now there was a pro.
Then, it was my turn to ride. Trust me when I say that I made a comical ceremony of mounting the bike—you would’ve thought I was getting on top of a wild horse.
I finally succeeded, but I couldn’t actually ride. I did succeed, however, in getting a few laughs from my audience. I, too, found it funny at first, but I quickly grew frustrated. I so wanted to ride. Unfortunately, my legs had other plans. I couldn’t keep them steady on the pedal.
Eventually, my brother shooed me off his bike, something about me getting injured and damaging the bicycle, too. All the same, although I didn’t actually ride as I had hoped, it was a great experience.
Riding a bike, successfully, for at least 10 meters at a stretch, is still on my bucket list. I hope I accomplish the goal before I hit 40. That’s the plan.