Can you ride a bike? If so, when did you learn? I learned to ride a bike at about age six; maybe eight. My first bicycle came from people’s garbage.
My father worked in a chemical factory and one summer the workers went on strike. That meant no job for Dad. So, he got a part time job driving a garbage truck around town and every now and then he would take me with him.
As gross as that might sound it was a special treat for a little kid. You won’t believe how much cool junk that people throw away. It was like a mini garage sale at every house.
At the end of the day my Dad would drive the truck to a nearby dump— landfill in 21st century jargon— and we would push the garbage into a big pit.
After awhile I began to find bicycle parts that people threw away in their garbage. Handlebars. Seat. Wheels and tires. Then a bicycle frame and broken chain. My Dad cobbled the pieces together and I had a bike.
Unfortunately I didn’t know how to ride.
Dad proceeded to teach me but I was slow afoot and could not get started. Once I got going it was OK. I could pedal and balance and turn but I could not get started just using the pedals.
My Dad grew increasingly impatient with me and said if I wasn’t going to learn to get on the bike the right way then I couldn’t have it.
That made me mad so I curled up a tiny fist and clobbered my Dad in the nose.
Not a good move.
I got the expected licking with a belt and my Dad grounded me from riding the bike. When he would venture off to work in the morning I would practice getting on the bike. Thanks to a small rise in the back yard and a few weeks of effort I managed to figure it out and I learned to ride a bike.
When I was allowed to get back on the bike my Dad was impressed that I finally caught on so quickly. He was impressed with his teaching skills, I had a bike to ride, and I wasn’t grounded anymore.
Dad’s bicycle lessons taught me that sometimes you have to figure things out for yourself despite the difficulty.