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The art of riding one handed

Remember the thrill that cycled through your body the first time you rode your bike no hands..the sense of accomplishment you got when you were finally able to master that "older kid trick?"

Bike tire and spokes with weeds and grass text reads The Art of riding one handed.

It was a rite of that we thought made us so cool...peddling our one-speed chain rattling bikes down the street, wheels turning in a blur, feet off of the pedals, streamers flying from handlebars, arms waving...

Yelling out "look Mom, no hands...."

Mothers shaking their heads while standing in the yards watching us whiz by...calling out, "if you fall down, don't come running to me." 

There was always someone with road rash, scabby knees, or torn clothing in our neighbourhood group. It was all part of growing up...

Somewhere as we aged we lost our abilities to ride a bike without that bit of not so charming middle-aged wobbling...

After a bit of training, [it took me a while to build up the courage to try it] I've remastered both my one-handed and "look Ma, no hands!" riding ability once again. 

shadow of woman riding a bike one handed in summer sun

It may only be the distance between two telephone poles, but it's still there.

Adult bike riding is different than childhood biking, the frames are larger, our balance is more awkward as an adult, core muscles weaker and we know it will hurt like crazy if we fall. 

The problem was I hadn't ridden for decades...and with my height, it meant a larger bike...higher distance to fall.

At first, I couldn't turn a circle on the narrow roads without stopping to, I can turn circles around my former self.

Daringly [tongue in cheek here] I started by lifting one hand off the bars...the wobbles sent me careening across the pavement hitting the side of the road, gravel flying.. I persevered....

Determination, and practice, many cold days riding down winters slushy roads, freezing my nose, fingers numb...sweating in the summer heat in the early morning sunrise rides...and it's paid off. 

Shadow of woman riding a bike reflected onto grass beside road

I now can bike with one hand [very carefully though] while taking video of the passing countryside...and some days when I feel extra daring, I even take both hands off of the bars...the freedom is something that I can hardly explain.

An accomplishment my childhood self would have laughed at I'm sure...but time passes and things change. 

How about sharing some childhood/midlife biking memories with me?



Heather Knowles said…
Two of my favourite things. Bicycles and countryside rides. Lovely memories.
RURAL magazine said…
Thanks Heather, I had so many dreams before we moved up here, and this was one of cycle down that deserted road...listening to the countryside, it's bliss.


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