If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you are aware of my ongoing battle with the bike. Until my amputation I loved to ride. After I became adjusted to my prosthesis, I resumed my beloved activity, only it was modified. Instead of riding outside I limited my experience to an indoor bicycle trainer. I have used computer programs to simulate riding outside, and although it did adjust the tension on the pedals, the computer was unable to fully replicate riding outside. There was something wonderful about feeling the wind in my face that I had come to accept was something from my past.
Although I knew that it was irrational, I developed an unyielding phobia about riding my bike outside. I became so terrified of falling that I refused to try. I did venture out a few years ago, where I proudly "conquered" my fear by riding around the neighborhood once. After my victory lap I promptly parked my bike back into the garage where it resumed gathering dust and dirt. Even though I proved my ability, the fear persisted.
During the past two weeks my little Koopa has become quite a bike rider. Right now, he loves nothing more than hopping onto his bike and taking off down the street. While he is still cautious, he is becoming more skilled and adventurous. Yesterday he even ventured off our street and meandered through the neighborhood with his friend Rowan. I can't remember the last time I saw him smile so brightly.
On Sunday Robby asked me to ride bikes with him. I was about to make an excuse but stopped myself in mid sentence. If I asked him to conquer his fear of riding the bike, I needed to step up to the plate and do the same. After all, what would I communicate if I let my fears control my actions?
So, instead of making excuses I calmly explained my fear to Robby. I told him that I was going to try, but that I was scared of falling with my prosthetic. He gave me a kiss, told me that he believed in me and handed me a helmet.
With that I was forced to face one of my biggest, albeit irrational, fears. I was nervous, but it turns out that the saying is true. Once you learn how to ride a bike you never forget!
Robby and I have spent hours riding our bikes together. While Scott is watching Timmy, the two of us hop on and just pedal and talk. He has dubbed us "bike buddies," which is a title I proudly wear considering the phobia I had to conquer to receive it. Of course, I am not naive enough to believe that my "bike buddy" distinction is without strings. As far as I can tell, it is only valid when no other friends are available for an adventure. Regardless of the fleeting honor, I am happy to assume the role of substitute riding partner.