Put a smile on someone’s face

You know, one of the most gratifying things in my world is teaching an adult how to ride a bike.

I got a call a few weeks ago from a gentleman, asking if I could teach him how to ride a bike. He was from Kenya, was a communications engineer, and had decided it was a good time to start riding. So, I met up with him last night out at the High School on Valley View drive off of Macarthur, where there’s a big, honking, empty parking lot that is smooth and fairly flat. I brought a beater bike with me, rented from the BikeMart, and a helmet, and we met up around 6:30pm.

We started off with the saddle pretty low, and we just started with him kicking, one leg at a time, to figure out his balance. Then, I had him kick with one foot on a pedal, the other one as an outrigger. I also had to teach him how to brake with his hands, not with his feet. We did this with one pedal, then the other, and finally, I had him get the ‘other’ foot on the high pedal, and start actually pedaling. We started with him going straight, then gently turning to the right, then pedaling UP hill, and finally, I had him learn how to shift some.

By the end of the hour, he had it. DUDE!

We’ll meet again once more, to practice some left-turns, and some more shifting, and I’ll probably take him out on the road a bit, to learn some traffic rules, but honestly, he’s got it. Sure, he may fall again (he really didn’t fall the whole hour), but he’s got a skill that’ll stay with him forever.

“It’s as easy as riding a bike” never sounded so good.


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