Learning To Ride With Angie
October 5, 2005
Unlike the typical child of my city, I did not learn to ride a two-wheeler bike,
without training wheels, at a very young age. Despite advice on how to go about
achieving the ability, I was frustratingly unsuccessful. I was advised to try riding
down the driveway, but this did not do the trick of ridding me of the extra wheels.
On one overnight stay with my friend Angie, however, I was finally able to ride
without the assistance of an additional set.
I do not remember, exactly, when I acquired this life-changing ability; it is likely
that I was already junior high or late elementary aged. I had recently expressed my
lament at not being able to ride to my mom. I could not just hop on a bike that was
not laden with training wheels and ride down to the baseball park. An additional malady
of needing training wheels is that I was different from my peers in that way.
One afternoon when I was on a break from school for the weekend, however, a change
I am grateful for began. I was at my friend Angie's house, and I wanted to ride bike
with her. Angie was four grades younger than me, and we met when she was "still in
diapers," as her mom said.
On the day of this important stay the weather was cooperative for biking, but a bike
with training wheels was not available. This fact did not deaden my desire to ride.
The bikes were kept in a garage, and getting them out was not necessarily easy. Still,
two were retrieved.
Even though I could not ride a two-wheeler, Angie was willing to go out with me and
help me. She may have been very skeptical about going without training wheels on the
bike I was using. Still, we left for St. Michael's, a nearby church and school.
We somehow arrived at the location; we may both have walked bikes there, since I could
not ride. We came to St. Mike's. It was not to be just an ordinary afternoon. Angie set
about teaching me to ride a bike without training wheels. She would go behind me as I sat
on the bike and would hold on. The bike moved forward and I was able to ride with her
behind me! Did Angie struggle to keep me balanced and moving at the same time? What a
faithful friend she was!
St. Michael's was not the only place where my endeavors took place; there was a cemetery
that was even closer to Angie's house. Besides being the burial place of many bodies,
this site also had smooth, flat surfaces where riding could take place. I am not really
one to hang out in the graveyards, but this time in one proved very helpful. There were
one or more cemented routes that people visiting the commentary could walk on. I did not
use such a route to arrive at the grave of a deceased family member, however. Rather, I
acquired biking skill on the smooth, hard surface.
There, my skill progressed and Angie began to let go. At first, she did so after forewarning
me. I would ride without her helping hand. Later, she may not warn me before letting go;
she would remove her hand without letting me know she was going to. Besides my ability,
my confidence also increased. I think Angie's letting go without forewarning me was very
important or even crucial for this.
Did Angie get tired of following after her eager friend? I think she was also glad that I
had achieved so much. We spent a good amount of time on my riding, and I was excited,
thrilled at my ability. I did not really care to stop.
But, there are only so many hours of daylight; and after sunset, darkness falls. The
expedition halted. Why does it have to get dark when one can progress, on a bike, with
only two wheels? Morning would come, however, and the work of balancing a bike could
I woke up. Was it still real? Could I still, however shakily, move forward on a bike
without four wheels? I again sat on the bike seat. My new ability had not escaped me,
and I was still able to do the amazing act of going without training wheels. A night's
sleep had not taken this away from me: I am not saying that I was, by any means, an
expert biker, but I still had accomplished a lot.
My biking effort was not limited from city streets; I used the street by Angie's house
for my riding also. There was a hill, though, and that street was not the safest place
for a biker of my shaky caliber. Nevertheless, I showed Angie's dark-haired, blue-eyed
mother my skill there. Her mom was not the most comfortable with my riding on that street
that morning; it did have a hill and traffic.
My time with Angie drew to a close. My mom came by to pick me up, and guess what? I could
ride (or though I could)! After this time with Angie, my ability was much better than it
had been before. However, it was imperfect. I would not depend on brakes to impede motion.
Why use brakes when you can count on your feet for stopping? A foot was frequently used for
this during my first endeavors around my neighborhood.
I showed my mom my ability. She had not thought that I really could ride before she saw for
herself. My reliance on my feet, besides for peddling, decreased, and now I can use a bike
well on my own. This time spent around Angie's house has impacted me. I later got a bike as
a gift and have often gone just for a ride on it, without training wheels of course. I have
used it to go to a nearby park. Learning to ride with Angie was important to me, and she
was very helpful in this manner. This learning adventure was only one time when Angie showed
her friendship. She showed kindness, that weekend, in her persistence and patience.
--- Author's name withheld upon request
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