I haven't ridden a bicycle further than about 10 metres since I was 13.
I can cycle for ages on the stationary bikes at the gym.
I can just about make it through a spin class.
I am a super ridiculous expert at cycling on the Wii Fit.
But I cannot handle a real bicyle.
I was really really slow to learn, even with stabilisers, but it wasn't really a huge deal. I live at the top of a massive cobbled hill, so cycling was never going to be a big part of my everyday life. But I gave it a go for a while when I was little.
But there were a couple of incidents that really scarred me physically and mentally.
I had one of those old folding bicycles that can go in the boot of the car, but i didn;t realise the hinge had broken slightly. I freewheeled down a big hill, and then had to make a very sudden turn because there was a car driving past the path I usually went down. The bike folded shut on me, I skidded several metres along the street, tearing a chunk out of the palm of my hand and another out of me hip.
It scared the hell out of me. I stopped riding.
And then in Year 8 we went on a school camp trip. There were lots of phyisical activities which I got through or avoided with various amounts of success. One of these activities, however, was a cycling trip on mountain bikes. In a big group. I could just about handle cycling by myself, much as I can almost sort of do some degree of running, if I'm by myself. But If I'm with anyone else I feel I have to keep up with them, and that knowledge makes me panic. I know it's ridiculous, but I don't know what I can do about it. I'm a very, very antisocial excerciser. Anyhow, on this trip I was doing alright, though lagging behind somewhat, until we got to some big ditch/jump thing we had to cycle across with a steep hill at the other side. I panicced. Worse than i've ever panicced about anything. I couldn;t breathe, I could barely move. I had to walk the rest of the trip.
And so today was a HUGE huge leap forward for me.
Here in Holland, everyone cycles everywhere. It looks lovely. The weather is amazing. We decided to rent bikes. Lisa, a very good friend of mine and also my gym buddy, really can;t ride a bike. She never got the hang of it and hasn't ridden since she was 10. I thought compared to her I'd be fine. We had a little go at cycling down the street. I wobbled all over the place and couldn't stop myself. My bike has no handlebar brakes, it just stops when you pedal backwards. And the bike is WAY too big for me. I felt myself starting to panic. We walked our bikes along to the nearest park and I just about managed to cycle around ok, and was quite enjoying it. Though the stopping is still nearly impossible for me which is scary and I properly fell off a couple of times. The seat went down further on Lisa's bike so we swapped over and I was a bit better on that. We cycled around the park a few times, through a mad petting zoo, and even managed to cycle along a cycle path at the side of the road. Eventually we dared each other to cycle back to the house, which we just about managed without severe trauma...
My nerves are shot to pieces.
BUT I DID IT!