Learning to Cycle When You’re Not Five – Lesson 3

I arrive five minutes before training starts and our instructor has already opened the bike shed. I grab a scooter and off I go to warm up. What’s happening – I’m accelerating and whizzing along with both feet on like nobody’s business! “Great!” I suddenly hear my instructor shout behind me. I go around in a wide circle and glide over to the group with one leg bent behind me.

glide

Coloured circles are laid out in a line once more and we have to cycle around them and back in a wavy line, using the left foot to advance only on one side. It’s hard! I quickly realize steering is the obviously important part in this exercise. My first attempt fizzles out shortly before the finish line, so I try again, and despite my jerky maneuvers with the handlebar I make it. “Small loops, but not bad”, says the instructor as I come back.

A circle is made out of cones and we once again do a partner exercise. Two cones of different colours are placed opposite each other and the instructor picks me to demonstrate the exercise with her. I’m preening just a bit. We both start scooting at the same time, and the trick is to keep an eye on each other. If the person in front of me is going slower, so should I, if she’s going faster, I should pick up speed. I’m assigned another partner. After a few minutes the instructor says we must have confused something and we burst out laughing – I’m looking at my partner, but I joyfully speed up all the time, while she goes slowly.

Then we have to scoot along each other as far as we like, which is really pleasant as the soccer field is empty. As we scoot, we are instructed to chat and look at each other. It starts to rain and we have to take cover in the shed again. My scooter brings me safely there before I can get too wet.

It rained hard and by the time it stops, we are confronted with puddles and mud. But I am undeterred. Pick up speed, both feet on the scooter, and your partner pushes you a few times without you getting off the source of locomotion. I’m staying upright longer than I expected and that’s exhilarating! Next up – we scoot along in a line, discover that we “forgot our keys”, make a small turn and go back, “get the keys”, make another small turn and resume the journey. My line soon turns in to a curve and my turns don’t feel small, but I think my “retrieving” mission was successful.

Then we scoot towards a bunch of cones and “discover” them only in the last second. Ooops, an obstacle! Scoot around the obstacle. Yep, steering. I do OK and don’t crash in to anything.

But my crowning glory comes towards the end of the session. We’re supposed to scoot off, speed up, get both feet on, and then slowly brake with our bodies by squatting and leaning back a bit on the scooter. I have no idea how this is going to turn out and my primary concern is not to slip and fall in the mud. But things go surprisingly smoothly and my scooter gently slows as I hold the requested position, making a I-actually-do-this-every-day face.

My sneakers are dirty and my jeans look like I’ve voluntarily stomped around in the mud to get them as splattered as possible. But I don’t care!

drums

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