Posted by: adventuressetravels | June 21, 2011

It’s Like Riding a Bike

I was 32 before I learned to ride a bike.

Sure, there were times I sorely regretted not knowing how. Not being able to take the famous bike tour of wineries in Mendoza, Argentina, among other things, finally made me resolve to learn.

Still, I kept putting it off. There was always one reason or another but my couchsurfing host mentioned bike riding as a great thing to do in the area I took a deep breath and asked: could teach me how to ride a bike?  I didn’t know how.

Without batting an eye he enthusiastically agreed. His beach house seemed the perfect place to do it. Flat land, nearby parks and trails, not too much traffic.  This really was the perfect opportunity.

I hedged about attempting to ride the first day I was there. After all, I had ridden the bus all night.  No one sleeps well on a bus, it just isn’t possible. I needed time to rest and recover – I wanted to be my best when I learned how to ride a bike. That was my excuse anyway.

Then party guests began to arrive. I couldn’t very well learn to ride with an audience, now could I? That would be far too embarrassing! It was starting to seem like I wouldn’t get a chance to learn. After all, I wasn’t staying more than a few days after the party and this was a couchsurfing party. Guests might very well stay a few days after the party.  Would I get a chance to learn, I started to worry…

The night of the party I started talking with one of the later guests to arrive. He was not there through couchsurfing, but through another hospitality website called warm showers. This website was a social network that was specifically for cyclists traveling long distances.

The man hadn’t come to the ranger’s house for the party; he was staying with the ranger on a pit stop on his journey cycling across the United States. He had started at the Northwest corner of Washington and was finally nearing the finish at the Southwest corner of Florida = all the way across the United States.

The more we talked the more interesting long-distance cycling and warm showers sounded. I had never thought of traveling such long distances by bicycle and the idea piqued my interest. I had heard about it in passing, but never thought of it for myself. After all, I didn’t even know how to ride a bike! Now not only was this a possibility, there were enough people doing it to have an entire social network of places to rest along the way. This was a whole new type of adventure I hadn’t even dreamed of. Now I really would have to learn how to ride a bike.

The next day I was more than a bit nervous but with the ranger holding the back,

Still not too sure about this whole bike riding business

I was steady. Steady, and committed. One man on either side of me I couldn’t get out of it. Kindly my teachers walked, jogged, and ran alongside the bike with looser and looser grasp until they finally let go. Though nervous at first, the longer I rode, the more confident I became.

With my two cheerleaders beside me, miraculously I didn’t fall once. I even got to the point that I was riding behind the long-distance cyclist.

Of course I still needed enormous amounts of practice, but I was my way to mastering the art of cycling.

Did someone mention riding around the world on a bike?



  1. Bravo! But heaven knows, you’ve been riding with extraordinary balance for years, just not on a machine.

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