// My First Time
Posted on Monday, March 12th, 2012
I remember some very distinct details of my introduction to two wheeled velocipedaling.
The learning process was set against the beautiful backdrop of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding alpine environment. Perhaps the grace of this natural setting encouraged my enthusiasm through the inevitable artless stages involved in harnessing enough balance to keep my rubber side down. There was a specific instance of blunder that stands out in my memory still to this day. I lumbered sideways on my pedals and collided with the hot asphalt of the road, donating some fresh blood to the ancient water systems flowing around me. As I lay with my head comfortably cuddled within the cheap yet effective foam composite helmet decked out in flamboyantly early 90’s shades of neon green and hot pink, I became aware of an oasislike phenomenon. The ground ahead appeared to be reflecting the cars, trees, and houses that lied just beyond. “Uh-oh,” I thought, “I may have really knocked something loose this time.” The adult relatives I relayed my experienced to were far from reassuring that this was a natural mirage caused by the heat, and instead denied knowledge of such phenomena, leaving me to contemplate my temporary sanity. Luckily, through careful repeated attempts at recreating the visualization, I eventually accepted that it was a normal occurrence and the adults were the crazy ones, naturally.
Uncle Jim remained the solid source of inspiration through these first troubling trials. After a mere two days of training, he suggested and organized a ride with myself and his two sons. We set out along the bicycle path that follows the meandering of the Truckee River. My young inexperienced thighs burned as I struggled up what seemed to be gargantuan slopes. I was forced to dismount and walk up a few of these slight inclines, to the dismay of my older, more cycle-seasoned cousins, but not before giving an honest effort. At the day’s end, we returned triumphantly to the cabin to share our victorious tale with rest of the family awaiting us.
I continued to hone my cycling skills throughout primary school, even being so bold as to acquire an attachable radio for my handlebars, resulting in my neighbors being subjected to attempted comprehension of the latest hot jams of the early days of 106.1 KMEL, or antipodally, the golden oldies of KFRC. I would often ride around the block, most likely singing along with Snoop Dogg or The Temptations, depending on my riding mood.
As I grew and became more comfortable and familiar with taking public transportation, I picked up my bike less frequently. Throughout middle school and high school, I barely ever rode. Of course in high school the biggest event that it seemed would ever occur in this lifetime would be the acquisition of one’s driver’s license, and I was certainly not going to be the odd man out. When I finally finished my free public education and was soon turbulently subjugated to the cruel circumstances of the “real world,” the benefits of trading in my gas and brake pedals for a pair of cycle pedals became all too apparent. I have not looked back since.
We all must start somewhere. And even when we stray, it is never too late to get off, push up the hill, and hop back on.