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Lipton Tea bicycle giveaway

When my older brother was in elementary school, he came home one day and asked my mom for a dollar to buy a raffle ticket. This was the 80′s, so a dollar could buy you at least two gallons of gas back then. It was big money.

“Why do you need it?” she asked.

“I’m going to win a bike!” he told her.

The school was raffling off prizes as part of a fundraiser and my brother had his eye on the shiny, yellow, 10-speed bicycle. My mom gave him a dollar and prepared for the fallout when the young boy had a sudden lesson in probability outside of math class.

The next week he walked home with a shiny, yellow, 10-speed bicycle. Screw you, probability!

When Lipton Tea contacted me asking if I’d like to give away a bike on my web site as part of a promotion for their new Lipton’s White Teas, I thought of my brother and decided, “Yes, I would!” I try not to do too many corporate promotions around here since I consider this to be a personal blog and I don’t want to turn into a corporate shill or get a reputation as a sell-out (especially since they’re not paying me). But like I’ve said before, I do enjoy playing the part of Robin Hood and taking items from public relations people and redistributing them to my readers. Plus, the PR company, Ogilvy, put together a blogger code of ethics which they referred to in their contact e-mail which I think is an excellent idea. Every PR company should do this.

So here’s the deal. Lipton is hosting a “Free Your Y” contest at www.areyouyoungenough.com and if I’d actually gotten my act together before the deadline of May 11 you could have entered a video for prizes over there. Oops, sorry! I’ve been busy. You can still go over there to vote on the winners starting May 17.

However, Lipton is still giving away a Lipton branded Fuji Crosstown 2.0 bike to “help underpin the concept of embracing our youthful spirits” as the press release says. Read more about the bike here .

To enter the contest, comment on this post (using an email I can contact you at) with the story of how you learned to ride a bike. Or if you haven’t learned how to ride a bike, the story of why you have not. I love reading your stories. I will leave the comments open until 11:59pm on Saturday, May 17th. Then I’ll randomly draw a winner. Only US residents are eligible. My apologies to the international peeps!

Lipton also sent me some White Tea samples, and I have to say, they were pretty good. I drink a lot of the Crystal Lite peach tea drink, and these tasted pretty similar just in lots of different flavors like raspberry and peach papaya. My dad tried the island mango and peach flavor hot tea and said it was good. No, they didn’t pay me to say any of that. (I don’t think they paid my dad either, unless he’s got some secret deal on the side.) If I like a product, I don’t mind saying nice things about it. If the tea had sucked, I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it at all. The “To Go” packets are rather handy because you can dump them in a 16.9 fl oz water bottle, shake and drink. They’re zero-calorie too. I’m trying to cut back on caffeine though, so I probably won’t be sucking down too much of the stuff.

Disclaimer from Lipton Legal: The Pepsi/Lipton Partnership will provide a check for $75.00 to be used for professional assembly of all Lipton Fuji bicycles awarded. Neither Pepsi Co. nor Unilever is liable for any injuries, damages or accidents that may result from the receipt, assembly or use of this bicycle.

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303 Comments

Loey • May 14, 2008 at 8:07 am

I’m not eligible for the bike contest because I’m in Canada *sniff*, but I thought you’d like to know that both green and white tea have about 10% the caffeine of a coffee (drip), so you should feel free to imbib.

Check it out:

http://wilstar.com/caffeine.htm

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Leanna • May 14, 2008 at 8:13 am

I learned to ride a bike with my dad holding onto the back of the seat, and running along behind me. I kept saying “don’t let go, don’t let go” and then at one point I turned around and he’d let go and I’d been riding by myself for a bit, but then I got nervous and skidded on sand and fell. I got back on, though, and have loved riding ever since.

P.S. I’m about a third of the way through your book and am loving it!

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Tonia • May 14, 2008 at 8:13 am

I don’t remember ever learning how to ride a bike, it must not have been a memorable experience. But I do remember summers from the age of 10 thru 13 when I lived on my bike. My friends and I would bike all over town and to the pool and back every day. We would be out from morning till dark, only going home long enough to eat.

Now that I’m older (35), I am much more fearful of gravity, the bikes just don’t seem as stable as they were when I was younger and lighter. I’ve tried to ride a bike recently and it is much harder than I remember. My kids would love for me to go out with them in the neighborhood, but I need a lot more practice before I can venture past the driveway!

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Jenn • May 14, 2008 at 8:14 am

My first bike was a strawberry shortcake contraption, pink and white with a white wicker basket in the front. I loved that bike so much, and rode it every day until the day I crashed into my sister and broke her arm. Coordinated, not so much.

:)

Saw the interview, you looked great!

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Holly • May 14, 2008 at 8:26 am

I’m not sure how I learned how to ride a bike. I do remember being on my bike (with training wheels) at about the of 6 with one of my friends, when her 4 year old brother blew by me (without training wheels). After that I begged my parents to let me ride without training wheels. And yes I’m still friends with her and her little brother STILL makes fun of me 16 years later!

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Tammy • May 14, 2008 at 8:27 am

My first bike ride was a traumatic experience. My dad had been holding the back of my bike and walking me around the road for a few days, the big day finally arrived when I told my dad “I am ready to do it by myself.” My dad was so proud, he pushed me for a while then let go of me. I was so happy as I was riding, coasting really, down a hill. Only problem was nobody had told me how to STOP the bike, so I crashed into a parked car and my bike broke into several pieces. Took me a long time to ever get back on, but I eventually did!

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Jill • May 14, 2008 at 8:29 am

It was my 7th birthday and I KNEW that I would be getting a bike, as I had hounded my parents for one for months before the actual big day. My dad rolled my beloved new bike into the front yard – it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! It was pink and purple with a white banana seat and a white plastic basket on the front. The streamers from the handle bars were pink and purple and I thought I had never seen anything so fancy in my whole entire life. Dad told me to hop on, so I did and with him holding on to the back of the seat, away we went down the sidewalk, a little wobbly at first, but after awhile, I was riding cautiously alone. I remember telling my dad how smooth the ride was, not like my old rusty tricycle. I must have put a hundred thousand miles on that bike. *sigh* I wish I had it now!!

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Nina • May 14, 2008 at 8:34 am

I don’t really remember much about learning to ride a bike. I do remember though, that one of my best childhood memories is being hoisted on to one of those kiddie seats while my brother rode his bikes with me behind him. I haven’t spoken to my brother in three years (or more) and he’s very indifferent to me, nowadays. I wish we could go back to where he would strap me to the back of his bike.

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Heidi Paulus • May 14, 2008 at 8:43 am

Hi! I love your blog and this is my first comment.

I learned to ride a pink huffy. I loved that bike. I would spend hours riding up and down the driveway until I was finally able to take to the not-well-traveled country road we lived on. I have always gotten joy from riding a bike. With my recent weight loss of 86 (eeeks!) pounds, I have again started to enjoy riding. I have been taking a spin class twice a week and taking long rides with my husband on the weekend. It is amazing how strong and freeing it feels to be in this new healthy, active lifestyle.

Thanks so much for your inspiration.

heidi

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dietgirl • May 14, 2008 at 8:59 am

Aww MAN! Stoopid Scottish residency! The bike colours reminds me of a jar of Vegemite :)

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Sarah • May 14, 2008 at 8:59 am

I was 9 years old when my grandmother bought the pink Schwinn with a banana seat for me at a garage sale. The next day, I walked to her house and my aunt taught me to ride it. There was a small hill in grandma’s yard. At first I coasted down with my legs to the side, then with my feet resting on the pedals, and finally I started pedaling on the way down the hill. I kept on pedaling…

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Erica • May 14, 2008 at 9:02 am

I also learned on a pink huffy. I loved to bike right away, but I wasn’t allowed to go very far from my house, and riding in circles around the parking lot got old… so the poor bike sat unused. We moved and I was allowed to go further afield at the new place – but I didn’t understand that bikes had air in their tires and oil on their chains, and the bike that had been sitting unused needed both. All of the sudden, biking seemed really, really hard!

I was shocked, more than ten years later, when I got on a bike and was able to go faster than a brisk walking pace. Now I bike to work and most errands, and it’s great – as long as I remember to lube the chain and keep the tires full.. which reminds me of something I should be doing…

Thanks PQ!

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cathy • May 14, 2008 at 9:03 am

I don’t remember learning how to ride a bike. I suppose it wasn’t a memorable experience (unlike learning to roller skate for which I still have the scars to remind me). I do remember having a pink bicycle with plastic rainbow tassels and a white basket in the front. My bike had the metal pedals (before plastic was deemed safer for kids) and my shins had the bruises to prove it. During the ages of 8-12, I lived on my bicycle, only coming inside when it was time for dinner. It was a great time in the 80’s where every house on my block had a child my age and we all rode around as if we owned the neighborhood. I distinctly recall riding with a basketball in one hand to duel my brothers at the park, then riding to the nearest McDonald’s for free iced water. I haven’t ridden since my brother got his license, but thinking about those times reminds me of how active and happy I was as a child.

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Adrienne • May 14, 2008 at 9:05 am

I remember learning to ride a bike in the back yard with my dad on a 3 speed blue Schwinn that I had gotten for Christmas the year I was 7. I think I may have learned a little on a smaller bike, but I didn’t master the riding skill until I had the new bike.

My backyard had a slight hill so it was good for starting with some momentum. My dad would hold the back of the seat and tell me to start pedalling. Then he would let go. Repeat dozens of times and then finally one day I could stay upright.

I actually still have that bike, even though right now it needs new tires. I’d love to win this new one, but I don’t think I will ever get rid of my old-school Schwinn.

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JBo • May 14, 2008 at 9:09 am

I don’t remember if it was hard to learn to ride, except my mom would take me to the parking lot of the tool & dye up the street on Sundays when no one was there. The lot was gravel and I would fall down a lot and scrape myself up. It would be hot in that big open expanse and the windowless corragated blue walls of the tool and dye towered over me. Trains would come by and make their train noises. Cars would go by and make their car noises. Then we would walk home and I would get a popsicle.

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Lori • May 14, 2008 at 9:11 am

I remember learning to ride a bike vividly! I was 5 and my best friend and next door neighbor had learned how to ride her two-wheeler… I was green with envy. I remembered crying that night that she could do something that I could not. I came home from school the next day and didn’t tell mom or dad, but taught myself to ride my bike. It was a very freeing experience. My 5 year old daughter learned to ride her bike yesterday. She learned the same way I did… damn sheer determination. Her cousin learned last week.

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deanna • May 14, 2008 at 9:12 am

I don’t remember – its seems really blury to me. I am the youngest of five sisters so not sure if they helped or my parents. I do remember living on my bike though, we would get up early, pack snacks (could this be the start of the weight problem?) and take adventures around town. We really thought that we were so far from home when in reality we were at best a 1/2 mile away. We did this almost every day in the summer if we were not at the pool. It was so much fun! I should take more adventures as an adult!!!

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Melanie • May 14, 2008 at 9:13 am

I can’t remember learning to ride a bike at all. I do have a story that involves bicycle riding and in fact bicycle riding became very important to me for a time. All throughout law school and later once I started working as a lawyer I had a copy of this catalog that I found one day at school. It described these absolutely wonderful sounding European bike trips. I was somewhat miserable for large periods during law school and directly afterwards in part because I felt trapped by my choices. I used to spend hours upon hours reading this catalog and dreaming of going on a European bike trip. I had never traveled abroad and I desperately wanted to. I thought about it all the time. I mean, I had pretty much memorized this catalog. Finally, after I had worked at a law firm for about 3 years, circumstances emerged that encouraged and permitted me to quit. I applied for and was accepted to the Peace Corps and left my job about 4 months before departing to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer, cashed out my 401k, and spent every cent of it on a 3 month European trip. Seven weeks of that trip were spent on bike trips with that very company, and I can honestly say it was worth every penny. Retirement, Shmetirement I say. The company is http://www.bluemarble.org. They are fantastic, and I highly recommend them. I have been itching for ages to go on another trip with them, and maybe I will. For me, a bike represents freedom and the culmination of a lot of frustrated dreams. I don’t currently have a bike, so winning this one would be sweet!

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Claudia • May 14, 2008 at 9:13 am

My dad was a PhD student when I was about 6 or so, and we lived in student housing, which was this big grassy area dotted with houses. All the kids I hung out with were older than me, and at some point I was the only one left with training wheels on my bike.

One of the older kids pointed this out to me, and man, did I get mad! So I wheeled my little pink and purple (seriously) bike home, sat down on the couch and demanded to have the training wheels taken off. My parents were a little taken aback, but my dad agreed, and once they were off I kept trying all day to get my ballance, until finally I succeed. Great example of my stubborn streak.

I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and I’m so impressed! Congrats on all your success.

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Amy • May 14, 2008 at 9:15 am

I learned how to ride on a purple unicorn bike with training wheels. Which unfortunately got stolen from the front of my house. I have learned since to lock things up with wheels!

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Rah • May 14, 2008 at 9:19 am

I was in third grade and had wanted a bicycle FOREVER, but my parents had ignored me because my older sister didn’t want one. (They operated under the assumption that she would do everything first.) Finally, someone in our church heard my pleas and gave me a second hand one. The day my dad came home with it I was so excited I squealed. Every house on our block in Amarillo, Texas, had boxwood shrubbery in front, so I wobbled up and down the block, using those shrubs as my emergency cushion to fall into when I lost my balance. I rode that night until the street lights came on and my parents made me come inside. Scratched but eager, I was out the next morning at dawn. By about noon, I had a wobbly mastery of bicycling, and I simply loved it.

Come to mama, yellow Fuji; it has been a long time!

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Amy • May 14, 2008 at 9:20 am

I kept my training wheels on for a long time. My brother is two and a half years younger, and when he started riding, he didn’t bother with the training wheels. Subsequently, he learned to ride before me. That’s when I decided to abandon the training wheels, myself. My dad told us to turn in the direction that we felt like we were going to fall. That would have worked out great, except we only had a narrow sidewalk to ride on, lined with trees and parked cars.

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Jennifer • May 14, 2008 at 9:21 am

My dad taught me by holding on to the back of the bike and then periodically letting go…I guess I wasn’t learning fast enough for him so he decided to get on and show me how it was done. He rode to the end of the street and went up a driveway to turn around and promptly rode the bike right into their garage door…him and the bike fell right over…after that he stuck to holding on to the seat and denies to this day that he fell off my bike and skinned his knee.

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Paige • May 14, 2008 at 9:25 am

My older cousin’s felt it was time that I learn to ride a bike (I was 6, they were 10-12) when they wanted to bike down to the theater to see the Care Bears movie – it was a small town in the 80′s, no one questioned the safety of small kids biking across town ;-)

So, my cousin Jenny took her old bike, popped me on it and kept telling me to think I was ‘the little engine that could’ and repeat “I think I can, I think I can”……I remember being so obsessed with saying those words that I just pedaled down the street with no problems what so ever.

:-)

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Ashley • May 14, 2008 at 9:26 am

So I’ve been lurking for awhile, but this is just too tempting.

I learned to ride a bike the first time at age 8, but I recently re-learned in a fairly traumatic fashion. I decided to buy myself a road bike to ride here in DC, but, since I’m terrified of the thing, and traffic here makes riding around in anything less than a tank hazardous, I decided to ride only at about 6 AM on Saturdays. This, unfortunately, happens to be when all of the hard-core, Tour de France wannabes in their fake Lance Armstrong uniforms (really) go riding at about 70 mph, which has left me with the rather unenviable choice of being run down by them at 6:00 or running down innocent moms with strollers myself at 8:00. Additionally, when I assembled the bike, I put the front fork on backwards, so every time I tried to turn I fell off. For three months. Until a friend pointed out that my foot was not supposed to overlap the wheel by that full 8 or so inches.

So I can say from personal experience that the 75 bucks for assembly Lipton will send should definitely be taken to the nearest bike shop, where they will surely stare at you derisively as they assemble the non-Trek, barely worthy of bike-hood bike, but at the very least you are slightly less likely to crash into light poles–yes, light poles, some barely visible in their slenderness–as I did some two dozen times last fall.

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fbdave • May 14, 2008 at 9:27 am

I really can’t remember exactly how I learned to ride a bike. I’m pretty sure it involved training wheels, though! When they were taken off and I was on my own, boy was I wobbly…

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elissa • May 14, 2008 at 9:28 am

I remember my childhood and the bikes of my childhood in snippets rather than cohesive stories. I remember my brother and I perched in matching plastic child seats strapped to the back of my parent’s bikes as they raced home ahead of a thunderstorm and an oversized powder blue bike with training wheels. I remember riding with my parents and my father, on his bike, coming up behind mine and pushing me forward a little faster yelling ‘you need to switch gears’ and ‘come on, you’re falling behind’. I remember a bike ride where I suffered because I refused to let my parents know that I’d ripped open the back of my leg climbing a fence (that I shouldn’t have been climbing). I remember as a teenager riding for hours by myself along different roads and paths and now, now the bike I’ve had since I was 13 is on its last wheels, and I go to the park and watch the bikes fly by and try to pretend I like running more than biking (I so don’t).

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Penny • May 14, 2008 at 9:28 am

I received my first bike for my birthday. I can’t remember what year but I was in elementary school. Anyhoo, I rode around in the driveway for a day on training wheels. I was convinced that I was a pro on the bike and they could be taken off. I wanted to get out there in the neighborhood and ride. My older brothers were doing it why not me? My Dad took them off and I got up on that bike and….crashed! Hard! But that didn’t stop me. With a little help, I was up on my bike and riding in the neighborhood within a week. Its been a while since I’ve been on a bike but would love to go on bike trails in the mountains of Virginia. What great exercise! Thanks for helping motivate me to lose the weight!!

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Carrie • May 14, 2008 at 9:29 am

I don’t remember learning to ride a bike, though I know I didn’t learn until first grade. I have a terrible memory when it comes to things from my childhood.

However, I need a bike! A few years ago I briefly lived with my dad. His friend left a bike at the house, so I decided to ride my bike to work every day (about a mile). I couldn’t believe how quickly that helped me shape up! I was doing other things as well, of course, but I think it made a difference.

I haven’t bought a bike since because we lived in the big city for a while and I am afraid of riding with cars. Then I had a baby and didn’t know if I could ride with a baby. I was actually planning on buying a bike this weekend!

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Nancy • May 14, 2008 at 9:30 am

My dad taught me how to ride a bike. I had the bike with the banana seat, big handle bars and the basket with 3 flowers. I also had a bell that I rang all the time. The day he took of my training wheels, he gave me a push from our barn in our back yard. We (the bike and me) went flying, and landed on the rock that we built fires on in the back yard. I was done that day, but ever since, I’ve loved riding my bike!

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Shelly • May 14, 2008 at 9:31 am

I learned to ride a bike the summer I turned 6. My birthday is in July and the morning of my birthday my parents told me we were going to pick up my birthday present. We drove to JC Penny’s and parked in the back by the loading dock. My dad went in and came out with a big box. It was a brand new bright yellow banana seat bike. I was so excited to get home and ride it. I have 2 older brothers and they had been riding their bikes for what seemed like forever and were free to go around the block all by themselves. I wanted to go too. When we got home, my dad put the bike together and then took me next door to the empty field where there was a hill. I jumped on the bike and he gave me a push and I was off. I had no fear and took off right away. I still love the feeling of getting on a bike and taking off. However, now I make sure to wear a helmet. I’ve had 2 major bike accidents and am lucky to be able to still ride.

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Laurie • May 14, 2008 at 9:33 am

My Dad taught me how to ride a bike as well. He’d hold on to the back seat and give a shove.We never had a new bike in the family (too many siblings), but my parents always put a lot of work into refurbishing a basically good bike from the thrift store, so we each got one when we learned to ride. I don’t have a bike but would love to have one to ride to work for a change (I usually walk).

P.S. Admittedly, although an avid blog reader I have not bought your book- however I did read the entire thing at Borders bookstore last weekend!

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valerie • May 14, 2008 at 9:33 am

I don’t remember learning to ride a bike. I do know that it was my primary transportation as a kid and I would ride to my friends’ houses everyday during the summer. They lived in a subdivision that had a community pool.

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sharon • May 14, 2008 at 9:38 am

I don’t remember exactly learning to ride a bike but I’ve had a lot of bike accidents. At 7 years old I was trying to ride a men’s 10 speed and flew over the handle bars, landed on my chin and had to get stitches. I do remember telling the doctor if it hurt I was going to spank him. I didn’t get to spank the doctor of course but I did get a strawberry milk shake on the way home. Please tell us if you were nervous on the show, you didn’t seem like you were at all. Good job!

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Diana the Scale Junkie • May 14, 2008 at 9:40 am

My older brother and sister thought it would be funny to adjust my training wheels so that the back tire no longer touched the ground. When I got on to pedal it was like riding an exercise bike and despite my best efforts the bike did not move. I was so angry with them as they rolled on the grass laughing their asses off. I went to Dad and demanded that he remove my training wheels so I could learn to ride a my bike the real way, he did and took me to a section of our driveway that had a gentle slope. That gentle slope gave the bike just enough momentum to allow me to make the pedal connection and power the bike on my own. After that day there was no stopping me!

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Kristi • May 14, 2008 at 9:42 am

I was 7 and received a purple bike for Christmas. It had a white banana seat, ape hanger handle bars, and a pretty whicker basket with pink flowers on it. My best friend had been riding a bike since we were like 4 and I couldn’t waite to learn. Growing up in WI it was very cold with deep snow, but my sister took me to the alley behind our house. She held for a little while, but when she let go I went crashing into the neighbors garage. I never let go of the handle bars and smashed all my frozen knuckles and fingers. It hurt so bad I waited until summer to try again. Then I just stood by a step and pushed off (because the bike was too tall) until I got it. Now I’m 43 and still love to ride!

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Keri • May 14, 2008 at 9:42 am

I was about 7 when I learned how to ride a bike without training wheels, which I thought was rather late to learn. My memory is a little fuzzy, but I can remember how scared I was even WITH the training wheels on. I didn’t like the way the bike hobbled back and forth between the two training wheels. My dad kept explaining to me that if I would just pedal faster that wouldn’t happen, and I wouldn’t even NEED the training wheels. Still I hobbled along for weeks just pouting away because I just couldn’t get the hang of it. Then one day I came home and there was a shiny brand new bike with a banana seat and sparkly purple paint with streamers on the handle bars. I mean it was THE bike to have in 1980. But I think I cried and said I didn’t want it because it wasn’t pink (what a brat I was! I’m SO embarrassed!). So they took it back, and they were so hurt. :-( So a few weeks later, one day I just got on my friend’s bike and rode it like I had been riding a bike for years! I couldn’t believe how easy it was! Here’s the funny part, after my parents saw that I could ride a bike, they got me a USED (because of my tantrum with the new they had surprised me with before) Huffy with a basket and a big squishy seat. And it was pink. :-)

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Erin • May 14, 2008 at 9:43 am

(side story – i am a whore for that white tea. i buy the 20 oz bottles in bulk from BJ’s and am currently am sipping on the peach hot white tea)

My first bike was a My Little Pony bike. It was white and pink, and of course, had the ponies on it. I loved everything about the bike, it even had a basket that I could put my My Little Pony action figures in (yes, they were action figures). Sadly, my memories about the actual bike are much fonder than me riding the thing. I was 5 or 6, I can’t remember, but we lived in Iceland at the time, and we were very limited as to where my parents could teach me. My sister was riding her bike (hers was not nearly as cool as mine… it had a banana seat!) but she had it without training wheels. I couldn’t let my big sister do something I couldn’t do, so I made my dad take the training wheels off. Either my memory is clouded or I was a child prodigy, but I distinctly remember only needing one push from my dad and I was off.

My least fond memory of bike riding involves my best friend Kristin. We were in 4th or 5th grade, and we would always ride our bikes around the neighborhood. We also would twirl batons and pretend like we were majorettes (we had wild imaginations!). We were riding down the one hill in our neighborhood, and Kristin’s baton got stuck in the spokes of her rear tire. Her bike completely flipped over. We thought she broke something. Thankfully, she was okay. But we never rode bikes carrying batons again!

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Tracy • May 14, 2008 at 9:44 am

I learned to ride a bike when I was eight in the era of banana seats. My bike was purple and had a white basket on the front with a plastic flower attached. I fell off many times and had the usual skinned knees – but the freedom was worth all the bandaids! It is Bike Week and it is being celebrated vigorously in Boston. I’ve ridden my bike everyday this week so far – even in the treacherous Boston traffic, crossing bridges and everything. I’ve come a long way.

Thanks for hosting this give away!

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Kate • May 14, 2008 at 9:44 am

Like others that have posted notes here already, I don’t recall very clearly learning to ride my bike. I do know that I rode it everywhere. I am the third of nine kids in my family and if you couldn’t get to wherever you wanted to go by foot or by bike you just didn’t go there. So my brothers and sisters all rode everywhere, to stores, to the park, to the public pool. I also loved riding my bike and I have never had one as an adult. I have been seriously considering getting one – so of course I’d LOVE to win your raffle!

Thanks for taking up the offer from Lipton, I wouldn’t mind tooling around my neighborhood on my sweet tea bike!

:) kate

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Jenny • May 14, 2008 at 9:46 am

I learned to ride at five on a small blue bike with no name or label. It had a small basket on the front and a bell. The first time I was “free” from the hands of worried parents running along side or the training wheel I said “I’m free!!!!” And I was. My bike made me mobile and that’s a great feeling. At five. Or any age.

I also hit that basket one day as I launched over the handlebars when I hit a tree, but that’s a different post.

Pretty bike.

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Ewa • May 14, 2008 at 9:52 am

Hi there!

I know I can’t win the bike (I’m Canadian – really we’re not international, I swear!) but I thought I’d share that I learned to ride a bike at the very senior age of 23 (I’m 30 now). When I was a kid I fell off and my parents never made me get back on, so I didn’t (I supposed I decided that falling wasn’t something I was interested in). Then at 23, I was teaching English in Poland and I thought it’s high time to see what all the fuss was about… so I went with a friend to a park outside the city and I tried… and oh man, did I fly!! I was a force to be reckoned with.

Now I live in Toronto, and for the past 3 years have been riding my bike year round to work every day. It’s crazy for me to think that I went from not knowing to riding on the downtown streets of a city of 3 million people.

That’s my biking story. Oh, and I love your blog!

ewa.

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nmbr1soxfan • May 14, 2008 at 9:53 am

AHHH…Red Lightening…That was the name of the beauty that my brother, my sister, and I all learned to ride with on the small hill in front of our house. We called it Red Lightening because it had red paint with shiny silver specks in it that sparkled in the sunlight. Each one of us anxiously awaited the day that it was our turn to have the honor of riding Red Lightening down the street with our dad and all the neighborhood kids running behind us.

We actually saved the bike for years in hopes that as we had our own children they too would find that same joy from Red Lightening that we did, however, by the time the first one came along and was ready to ride a bike he refused to get on it because he said it wasn’t cool enough (and the next two agreed)!

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zombie mom • May 14, 2008 at 9:53 am

I learned to ride a shiny blue Schwinn with training wheels when I was four and a half- a joint effort on behalf of my parents. I was loathe to move up from my teal tricycle, but with two younger siblings vying for it – the pressure was on. The first day I caught my front wheel in a crack in the sidewalk and went down- hard. The second day I ran into a decorative boulder in the neighbor’s flower bed. The third day, with training wheels rattling, I was flying. The day the training wheels came off my mom and dad and sisters clapped for me as I flew down the street – of course, I crashed. However, I was back up and riding. I had a hot pink bike I adored that was stolen in recent years. I would love to get back to riding a bike.

I would love to win the pretty shiny big girl bike so that I can attach a baby trailer and tootle around with my two girls getting them jazzed up to be bike riders and have healthy lifestyles. Lately we have been walking to the gym, but oh, how great to sail down there on a shiny yellow bike.

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Susan • May 14, 2008 at 9:56 am

OMG! I love riding a bike. It really is a thrill. I think I look like a maniac when I ride around town because I am always working my hardest and I always have a crazy grin on my face. I truly love riding my bike.

I currently have a mountain bike which I bought 8 years ago when I didn’t know anything about bikes or bike riding (other than I loved it; I am a lifetime bike ride lover). I have been wanting to get a new street bike for a few years, but they are SO EXPENSIVE!

I learned to ride a bike when I was very young. I believe I was three or four. I remember my brother, who is 4 years older, teaching me in the parking lot of our apartment complex. I don’t think it took much time to learn. I don’t remember any crashes or horror stories while learning, thought I have had a few scuffs since.

Once I was riding, I never looked back. I have always owned a bike and I have always gone for bike rides. I have flipped over the handle bars, been hit by a car and fallen many times. But I still get on and ride as much as I can. With a helmet, of course!

Thanks for the opportunity to win this awesome lipton bike! I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed!

thesetiredthighs@gmail.com

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Megan • May 14, 2008 at 9:58 am

I learned to ride a bike with help from my grandpa, who would do “power pushes” to get me going. Once you go fast enough, the pedaling and balance gets much easier :)

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kxm24 • May 14, 2008 at 9:59 am

The thing that stands out most in my mind is while I was learning I used to use this wooden square that surrounded one of the trees in our backyard. It was like a wood sandbox and it had a tree and dirt in the middle. I would get on my bike while standing next to it, put one foot on a pedal and the other foot on top of the wood to get my balance. Then I would push of the wood and attempt to ride. I don’t remember how successful I was with this and if this is the only way I learned. I don’t remember what any of my first bikes looked like either.

I’m looking foward to teaching my son to ride a bike, he’s 2 1/2 right now. We have to get to the training wheels first.

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Eva • May 14, 2008 at 10:04 am

I learnt how to drive a bike in India (that’s where I grew up)and being the smart ass I thought I was, (I was six with an attitude, girls, girls)I figured, oh how difficult it can be, after all I have been driving my tricycle for years now. So one day, i pick up my elder sister’s bike and there i go on the road and suddenly comes a pack of cows infront of me.(no i didnt live on a farm, cows have as much right to walk on the road as much as any human, rocks, insects, dogs do.) So suddenly I see a pack of cows infront of me and I forgot wear the brakes were. I go hit the cow straight in her stomach and next thing I know, I am riding another cow, going wherever they were going after they got confused as to why a bike would hit them. Thank God, it happened only once and neither the animal nor the six year old got hurt. Only thing that got hurt was my six year old attitude. :-)

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Kelli • May 14, 2008 at 10:14 am

My first bike was a Desert Rose banana-seat bike and it was pretty in white, pink, and grey while I still had the training wheels on. Once those trainers came off, though, I was set loose down the driveway and crashed into the chain-link fence that lined the side yard, which not only scratched up my beautiful bike, but it took a nice gouge out of my thumb, too. Stupid fence! A couple of wailing tears to my mom and a bandage later, I was back out trying it again, this time, no crashes. I was probably the happiest 7-yr old on the block that day.

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Diana Post • May 14, 2008 at 10:16 am

My first bike was a hand-me-down banana seat that was once Hot Rode red, but by the time I got it (in the 90′s!), it was a dark maroon color. It had a chain guard painted with the logo Red Foxx and a sleek cartoon fox. It was completely awesome.

I started with training wheels of course, and I don’t remember how old I was when they came off, but I do remember that it was my grandfather who held the metal support at back of the seat and ran alongside until I had the momentum to go on my own. As soon as I did, though, you couldn’t stop me.

I rode everywhere, gave my younger cousins rides on the long seat behind me, played Bike Manhunt (it’s rough finding a hiding spot when you also have to hide your bike…), and rode from my parents to my grandparents’ and friends’ houses all the time.

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Rose • May 14, 2008 at 10:16 am

When I was a kid and my parents were still together, my family would take neighborhood bike rides. The memory I think I have of this is probably from being told about it, because my older brother and I were young enough to have to ride in child seats on the back of our mother’s and father’s bikes, and my older sister, who was only about six, had to do her best to keep up on her banana-seat Schwinn. I don’t have any stand-out memories of learning to ride myself. I know I had training wheels for a while, I think my mother ran alongside holding the handlebar until I could balance. I’m sure I fell a numerous times before I got it– maybe a metaphor for the struggle to lose weight? I remember teaching my friend Jeannette’s little brother Steven how to ride his bike using that same method a couple of summers later, and being really proud of myself when he got it.

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Poppy • May 14, 2008 at 10:16 am

I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was in third grade. Oh sure, I’d given it a try earlier – about the time when other neighborhood kids were starting to ridicule my training wheels – but I crashed and burned and vowed to never get on a bike again. Then third grade rolled around and at my grade school that was the grade that you became eligible to ride your buke to school if you passed the bike safety test which would be held at school on the playground and was a manditory event. To this point, none of my classmates really knew that I couldn’t ride a bike because after all – only babies couldn’t ride bikes. So in one week, I had to get out my bike and learn to ride well enough to get to school. It’s amazing what a motivator impending shame is – I managed to ‘master’ the art of the two-wheeler in an afternoon (with only a few minor mishaps) and I indeed did make it to Bike Safety Day and pass with flying colors.

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Clio • May 14, 2008 at 10:18 am

I was a cryer when I was a child. I cried about learning to do everything: tie my shoes, jump rope, and ride a bike.

I had the bike with training wheels forever, and when my dad tried to teach me without them I refused until I realized I was the uncoolest nerd around with my training wheels. I finally gave in and he did the old running behind me until I was pedaling, then he stepped back and I noticed immediately and crashed myself into a mailbox and skinned my knee.

It took about 2 more weeks after that, but I finally accomplished it. I own a bike now (my hubby got it for me for my birthday and the weight is coming off!) but this one would be for him.

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Sayre • May 14, 2008 at 10:18 am

I have no memory of LEARNING to ride a bike… I just remember the feeling of freedom I had when I was riding it. I could GO PLACES! I earned extra money with it delivering newspapers from a giant basket on the handlebars. These days, I’m looking towards a bike again for freedom from the pump. Even though my car is small and isn’t much of a gas hog, $40 to fill it up every couple of weeks is too much for me… So it’s back to the bike. This summer, I will teach my son the fine art of “urban assault” – otherwise known as riding your bike in the city.

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Lisa • May 14, 2008 at 10:23 am

I don’t remember learning to ride. But I do remember my green banana seat bike– so cute but so hard to use to get anywhere. It was replaced with a green (why green? it wasn’t my favorite color) five-speed Schwinn. It wasn’t until I’d fought with the Schwinn for a few years that I got the decent 10-speed that was both transporation (suburbia, and I didn’t have a car) and recreation all through high school.

I miss the feeling of freedom I got riding aimlessly at night, following random roads to see where they’d take me.

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Jeff • May 14, 2008 at 10:28 am

My father took the training wheels off my bike and told me to get on the bike and he’d be holding it up behind me. He went around the back yard with me and we made a loop. Of course, I was too stupid to realize that after a while, he had stoped walking along with me and I was on my own. Of course, looking back and seeing him standing a ways away made me realize I was on my own and immediately I lost balance and control and crashed. But then I got back on and suddenly, I could ride a bike! Thanks, Dad!

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Anne • May 14, 2008 at 10:31 am

I can vaguely remember when I learned to ride a bike. What stands out the most is the color of the bike itself: purple (my favorite color at the time) with a big white basket decorated with purple flowers (I was undeniably a child of the 80s). There was a big field behind my house, and my dad took me back there after removing my training wheels. As the story goes, after one mighty push from him, I was off and riding, and didn’t fall once. For whatever reason though, I seem to recall falling once I actually tried it on the pavement. Figures that I’d pick that point to fall, when there was no cushy landing of grass available. :)

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Pickle • May 14, 2008 at 10:32 am

My first bike was yellow, too! It was a used boys’ bike, but I didn’t mind. I also had the traditional “parents-hold-then-let-go” route, though it took me forever to get to that stage, as I clung to the training wheels as long as I could.

A few years later I got a bike of my own, a grown-up women’s bike, in purple, from my parents for christmas. Then tried it out on the ice, which resulted in a bloodied leg and a lesson learned about lack of friction and bicycle tires.

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G.G. • May 14, 2008 at 10:39 am

It took me forever to learn. I got my first bike with training wheels (a pink Huffy with streamers on the handles and a white basket on the front–very girly) for my fifth birthday, and I didn’t learn how to ride w/o training wheels for three years. It’s a long story about frustration, psyching myself out, overthinking things and choking and feeling like a failure. Then one day it all clicked and I could ride–and then I fell off the bike (the VERY same day) and broke my ankle and spent the next several weeks hobbling around on crutches. Seriously.

But the good thing is that as soon as the cast was off, I got back on the bike and rode it (and its successors) like crazy. And now I’m getting back into riding again.

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Courtney • May 14, 2008 at 10:39 am

I know that I learned to ride a bike when I was a kid, and that my dad helped me, and that I had my training wheels on for probably longer than I was supposed to. What’s most memorable for me is learning how to re-ride a bike after a nasty fall about five years ago that left me in the hospital for several days and required surgery. I hadn’t been on a bike since that accident until about a month ago, but now I’m training for a 100 mile race!

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Cher • May 14, 2008 at 10:40 am

I grew up in the country. We didn’t have any sidewalks, our short driveway was gravel, and the road we lived on was a state highway. Our yard was hilly and mostly filled with grass up to your knees. So I had no flat surfaces on which to learn to ride a bike. I was 12 years old and embarrasingly, still couldn’t ride a bike. I got a beautiful powder blue 3 speed bike for christmas (it even had a basket in the front), but all I could do was sit on it and dream of riding it.

One day we visited my cousins in the city. They, of course, had bikes and sidewalks on which to ride them. My cousin let me try her bike, and surprisingly, I managed to ride it!!

There were no training wheels, no overprotective adult behind me holding the bike up and pushing me. Just me and my overwhelming desire to learn to ride a bike.

Once I had learned the basics, I started riding my bike in the gravel driveway and eventually in our hilly, grassy yard. (Talk about a leg workout!)

Learning to ride that bike was one of the greatest accomplishments of my childhood. It taught me that I can do whatever I put my mind to. And I’ve kept that lesson close to my heart ever since.

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Lisa • May 14, 2008 at 10:45 am

PS question for Jennette– In your interview at Elastic Waist today, you mention “lean meats.” Is it deliberate that you’re calling out meat, actual animal product, as opposed to lean protein?

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Lora • May 14, 2008 at 10:49 am

My dad taught me when I was 6. We had a long gravel driveway and he would run behind me while holding onto the back of the seat. After he’d let go, I’d freak out and subsequently wipe out in the gravel. My knees and elbows took a beating that day and Mom spent some time picking gravel out of my skin. I still remember the bike. I don’t know where they got it (just about everything that would have been a “big ticket” item in the early 70′s was a hand me down from someone in my dad’s extended family) but it was a beautiful blue with a white seat that was on springs so you had a cushy ride. I miss that bike.

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Pamela • May 14, 2008 at 10:52 am

Well, I don’t remember learning how to ride a bike, but I remember re-learning as an adult. I was maybe 17, and visiting Belgium, and we had to ride bikes to get around. I remember being very shaky and finding it hard to maneuver around obstacles, but I gradually built up my confidence. Around 1994 I bought my own new bike, a mountain bike, and I fell in love with off-road cycling. I still love it with a passion — just thinking about singletrack makes me smile — but I haven’t managed to actually DO any of it for quite some time. Riding a bike does remind me of my youthful spirit, when I get sheer pleasure out of movement, and muscles, and the wind blowing through my hair.

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Susan C • May 14, 2008 at 10:58 am

I think when I finally got the hang of it I was on the tennis courts of our neighborhood playground. I do recall the excitement of realizing that I was actually doing it and bike riding continued to bring me joy for a lot of childhood years. I also just recently taught my 7 year old son to ride and he is loving it! I’d love to get back on a bike and ride with him someday soon.

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susan • May 14, 2008 at 10:59 am

Since my parents were adamant that they would not take off the training wheels until I was 7 years old and given that I am a stubborn pushy person, I borrowed my friend’s bike and taught myself to ride sans wheels at 5!

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Justin Wallraven • May 14, 2008 at 10:59 am

The learned to ride a bike the way most little boys do. I got chickenpox.

Technically, I was recovering from the chickenpox. I felt better, but I was still too sick to go outside with my friends. Consequently my parents “quarantined” me to our garage which, incidentally, is a GREAT place to learn to ride a bike (smooth riding surface, easy access to Band-Aids, etc)…as long as you don’t mind occasionally running into walls or parked cars.

Therefore, by necessity, learning to ride a bike involved the added challenge of learning to ride tight little circles…but I eventually figured it out. I also became very good at “ejecting” when it became apparent my circle had gotten too big and I was about to hit a wall.

I wasn’t a small child…but my bike was made for one. In fact, if I had to estimate, I would say I was at least twice and maybe three times too big for the bike I was riding.

Oh, one more thing, the bike was pink.

Looking back, I’m pretty sure I looked like a diseased and disturbed little circus clown. There I was– covered in pockmarks and calamine lotion–riding a miniature, pink bike for hours in tiny, concentric circles.

That probably explains why—as soon as I was old enough—I went off and joined that carnival!

Actually, that last part isn’t true, but it would have made such a great story I decided to go with it. Instead of joining the carnival, however, I went the other way. I joined grad school.

If I would have joined the carnival, I’d be getting a lot more exercise these days. Instead I spend most of my time “researching.” “Researching” is a term that graduate students around the world use to describe what they do because it sounds a lot better than “sitting on my butt doing nothing.”

I can “research” just as easily while riding a bike, and I know the fresh air and exercise will do me good.

I just need to find a place to ride it…Can I borrow your garage?

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K • May 14, 2008 at 11:02 am

My sister took off my training wheels. I was absolutely FURIOUS. I was NOT ready to ride that bike without the extra wheels. I cried, stomped my feet, and went all red.

Then, I got on the bike with her beside me and… Ohmigosh, I can do it!

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Ann • May 14, 2008 at 11:07 am

I vaguely remember getting the smallest little white/pink bike that could be found by my parents. I remember using training wheels at first and at some point the training wheels went away. I then progressed to the typical banana seat bike, and then to a light blue ten speed. I just started biking again a few years ago and I LOVE it!

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Alex Tucker • May 14, 2008 at 11:08 am

Your interview was great! Wouldn’t you love to have the make-up and hair guy in your bathroom daily….little guy just pops out of a drawer. LOL

I learned to RELEARNED to ride a bike at age 24. I had joined WW and started walking everyday. My leader talked about riding her bike daily and how much she enjoyed it combined with her classes. I told my husband I wanted to get a bike which was met with a look of shock knowing I had been in a bad bike accident when I was 13. I was looking back at my brother and hit a parked car causing me to fly up over the hood and broke my arm in two places and left road rash from my forehead to my ankle. We went that weekend and bought us both bikes. We took them to the bike trail about 6 AM Sunday morning so we wouldn’t be in anyone’s way and I wobbled and weaved until I got confident enough again to soar. After that we took them camping all over Texas. When I had my first child I got a baby carrier as a shower gift from a friend who knew how much I loved to ride. By the time the oldest was old enough to ride his own bike and keep up my youngest was ready for the carrier. I donated the carrier when R got to big for it. My bike was stolen when we moved 2 years ago and now I ride my son’s bike in the mornings before the boys get up and on weekends they go with dad.

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Meghann • May 14, 2008 at 11:14 am

Growing up with a twin turns every milestone in life into a competition. My parents always rehash on how when at 9 months I was walking circles around my still crawling twin brother and he was trying to pull me down as he was not yet read to take those first steps. When my twin and I started talking it was a battle of who could say the full first word first, I of course was able to successfully produce the word “Daddy” as my brother was still mastering “Dada.” There was the first day of school, where I jumped on the bus first with no hesitation and then there was when our little sister came around and I was the first to hold her with no adult arms lingering about. I was becoming good at winning the milestone competition until the time came to take the training wheels off. I was determined to ride with just two wheels, however gravity had other plans and preferred me on two feet instead. I grew frustrated as we practiced in our church parking not being able to make it very far and always ending up on the ground. This however was a milestone competition my twin brother succeeded at. He mastered his red bike in a matter of an hour and was riding circles around the parking lot with ease. I remember being so jealous as he was allowed to take a trip around the block on his bike with our Mom because he was successful without the training wheels. I cried my little eyes out as they rode away around the corner from our house and waited patiently for their return. When they returned I was not the only one with tears in my eyes, my twin had taken a big spill and now possessed a bloody knee. Is it wrong that a smile appeared across my face? I take shame in it now how jealous I was of my twin brother for riding his bike before me, looking back I giggle about how much of a brat I truly was and am proud to say that those qualities do not shine through today. My poor brother never meant to cause me any harm nor I to him. Eventually I learned to ride the bike on my own, but I will never forget the first day I tried and my brother took off without me. I will also never forget his bloody knee from returning with out me.

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Debbi • May 14, 2008 at 11:15 am

Hey- I remember my first two wheel bicycle. I was learning to ride and my family was on a serious buget. I got to have my sisters outgrown bicycle with a new banana seat and sissy bar handle bars with tassles out the end. It took awhile for the training wheels to come off. I remember my dad kept raising them up a little every once in awhile. I would just keep riding on them. Going down the street at a 30 degree angle. He finally took them off and I could right upright, wow what a day! I was pretty sharp going down the street! Great memories. The smell of Southern California ice plant and you crashed into it. Yeah, I did alot of that too. :)

Love your book! Got it last week.

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Jan • May 14, 2008 at 11:16 am

My older cousin Amy taught me how to ride a bike in the early 70′s. She had this big yellow smiley face watch that I really loved. She told me if I would learn how to ride on two wheels she would give it to me. I guess that was all the motivation I needed!

Congrats on the publising and the half marathon!

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ann • May 14, 2008 at 11:16 am

My first bike was bright yellow and had a banana seat and curved handlebars. I think my parents scrounged it out of a nearby garage sale. No training wheels; my dad was running behind me holding the seat until he wasn’t. Of course, as soon as I realized he wasn’t, I fell over. But I managed to get back on and figure it out. I loved that bike — I would spend hours riding around my neighborhood looking at all the houses and exploring on my own.

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Merry • May 14, 2008 at 11:20 am

Huh. I never win nuthin’ — I’m doomed.

I taught myself how to ride a bike when I was 6. Not an exciting story, but I’m glad I did. Cycling is an exercise that you can start doing even when you’re overweight, and it’s fun!

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carolyn • May 14, 2008 at 11:20 am

My mom taught me to ride. Apparently she and my dad had a deal. She’d teach me to ride a bike, he’d teach me to drive a car. Apparently she thought the Schwinn was safer than the Subaru.

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Natalie • May 14, 2008 at 11:20 am

I remember asking my dad to take off my training wheels … I was sick of them being uneven and rocking back and forth on the bike…. so he took them off and sent me outside. By myself! I am not that adventurous … I remember pedaling for 1 second and putting my feet down to stabilize myself and kept going until I was going a 20-30 feet at a time and took off from there. Now I live in New York City and haven’t ridden a bike in years … I think if I win I’ll have to re-learn how to ride a bike on these mean streets!

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EG • May 14, 2008 at 11:24 am

My first bike (the Desert Rose) didn’t have training wheels, and combined with my lack of athletic ability, I delayed learning. Finally my parents bribed me with a hamster. I’d always wanted a pet. To earn it I had to ride my bike to a certain house and back.

Our driveway was hilly, but our neighbors were on vacation so I used their flat driveway for a week, and mastered bike riding. I earned that hamster in no time, and was able to join my friends on their bikes!

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Elisha • May 14, 2008 at 11:25 am

I was a late bloomer when it came to learning how to ride a bike for the most part because my father ran over the bike when I parked it behind his truck when I was five. I was devastated as the bike was days old and he was angry because it could have hurt his truck. So it wasn’t until I was nine that opportunity knocked on my door. My sister had out grown her bike and I wanted to learn. Both my parents were out on errands and my two older sisters wanted to go on a bike ride (those were the days when no one thought twice about kids being on their own). I started to cry because I didn’t know how to ride. My sisters thought this would be a great way to get away from the pesky younger sister. So I was left trying to learn by myself in our garage. I would sit on the seat and balance myself with one hand on the wall of the garage and try and push off and peddle. Tearful but determined I finally got the knack of it. It was a great self esteem builder.

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Emily • May 14, 2008 at 11:27 am

I’ve never been particularly interested in having a nice car, but I definitely remember my first bike (and learning to ride it). It was purple; the handbars were decked out with a bell and streamers…but most importantly, it had a bananna seat. This perfectly suited my six year old tastes. Learning to ride a bike was a perfect reason to wear my favorite item of clothing; a pair of neon orange biker pants with a black stripe going down the side. Finally, in the name of safety, I had a big “Bell” brand bike helmet that I got to decorate with stickers of red lips, sunglasses, peace signs, and other AWESOME symbols. I started with training wheels of course…my transition to training wheel-less bike riding must have been pretty seamless, because I don’t recall any traumatic incidents. Mainly, what I remember (somewhat nostalgically) is I haven’t looked that awesome since my early bike riding days.

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a • May 14, 2008 at 11:27 am

I learned to ride when I was 10 or so, my niece and nephew were 5 and 6 years younger and they both knew how to ride so the pressure was on. I finally learned on an old bike from the 70′s that my sister had left at our house and didn’t have my own yet since, I didn’t know how to ride one. It had a crazy leopard seat, a blue sissy back, and red frame. that was a bike! I always pretended I was riding a motorcycle when I was on it. those were fun days, riding the bike all day with not a care in the world,nothing on tv in the early 80′s either. 4 channels.

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Marie • May 14, 2008 at 11:30 am

I learned to ride a bike on an old red hand-me-down that had wooden pedals! When I graduated from training wheels, I was so scared that I would tip over when I stopped that I would fling my legs over to one side and jump off!

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Alexandra • May 14, 2008 at 11:39 am

I don’t remember learning how to ride, I guess it was too long ago! I do remember having a terrible accident in 8th grade, and I didn’t ride for a while after that! Wear a helmet! I’d love to win this… gas is killing me…

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betsy • May 14, 2008 at 11:44 am

As a city girl, I learned to ride a bike one summer in my uncle’s cow pasture, wobbling around cow pies on very uneven ground, dodging the stray confused cow, with my cousins running alongside shouting encouragement. It was a grand dirty adventure.

I would love a new bike, and if I win – I will ride! (but not in a cow pasture)

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Tara • May 14, 2008 at 11:49 am

I was a goober and didn’t learn to ride a bike without training wheels or assistance until I was 10. I think it was because I was afraid of falling off. Hopefully this won’t sound too cheesy but I’ve missed out on a lot of things do to unnecessary fear and I am trying to not to let fear prevent me from trying new things anymore.

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Jennifer • May 14, 2008 at 11:55 am

I don’t exactly remember how I learned to ride a bike. I do remember, though, having perpetual scabby knees because I always fell off my bike…. These days, biking is my primary mode of transportation–it saves gas money, and it incorporates my workout into my commute. I love it!

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Karen • May 14, 2008 at 11:57 am

I learned to ride a bike using training wheels and probably rode with the training wheels on much longer than I needed to. I remember visiting our cousins in Mississippi one Thanksgiving and getting on theirs (minus the training wheels) and being truly amazed that I could ride the bike without the training wheels. As a side note, if I remember correctly, my twin sister wasn’t as fortunate and crashed.

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Shannon • May 14, 2008 at 11:58 am

Oh I want that bike! Although since I have two sitting in my living room right now, I think my mom would argue otherwise! A yellow one would look great with my collection.

I learned to ride at my preschool. They had these short bikes for us to use. For the longest time I had to use the tricycle. I was always jealous of the kids with the two wheelers. I went home one night and my parents helped me with a two wheeler on my grass. It was great. I biked out of our grass and onto the neighboorhood road and kept going. The only problem is I didn’t know how to stop, so i crashed in the grass!

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Shannon • May 14, 2008 at 11:59 am

Oh I want that bike! Although since I have two sitting in my living room right now, I think my mom would argue otherwise! A yellow one would look great with my collection.

I learned to ride at my preschool. They had these short bikes for us to use. For the longest time I had to use the tricycle. I was always jealous of the kids with the two wheelers. I went home one night and my parents helped me with a two wheeler on my grass. It was great. I biked out of our grass and onto the neighboorhood road and kept going. The only problem is I didn’t know how to stop, so i crashed in the grass!

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Liz • May 14, 2008 at 12:00 pm

It’s a wonder I ever learned how to ride a bike. Post-training wheels, I was coasting down my road, ready to stop myself with my feet when I heard a crash and a thud. My show-off brother had gone down my neighbor’s steep driveway, flipped over the handlebars, and broken his jaw.

After having to run the 1/2 mile home to alert my mom rather than just jump on my bike, I decided I had to learn, just in case my brother tried to break himself again!

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sara • May 14, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Wow, that’s heartening to know that a previous commenter learned at 23… I never learned! My parents gave me a bike but I never got off training wheels. I live in CA and biking is super popular. My boyfriend wants to teach me but he’s got six inches on me and his bike is too big. I’d love to have another reason to learn!

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Stuffanie • May 14, 2008 at 12:04 pm

I learned how to ride a bike using my aunt’s ten speed. I had witnessed her jumping on and cruising down the road many times, so I figured it couldn’t be too difficult. I jumped on her bike when it was left foolishly unattended. I could not reach the ground and the concept of squeezing a metal lever to stop myself from careening down the steep hills was lost on me. However, the parked car at the bottom of the hill worked just fine.

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JEM • May 14, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Ahhhhh, I have been dying for a bike! We have this great park just a couple minutes from our house with miles of bike trail. Biking is fun! I haven’t had a bike since high school What an awesome weight loss tool!!!

Let’s face it I am a bit of a chicken and always have been. On my 5th birthday I got my very own bicycle. Most girls would have been thrilled. I however was horrified. This meant I had to ride it and to me it looked very scary. It wasn’t that it didn’t look pretty, it was a little girls dream bike: Pink, Purple, and White with streamers, a basket, and a horn. My father spend hours putting it together in the garage. When he was finished he hurried inside and asked if I wanted to try it out. I shook my head wildly. He was a bit hurt by this so I felt I had to explain. “Daddy, I had to much birthday cake, I can’t learn to ride right now.” Everyday I had a new excuse for why I couldn’t ride. Every time I gave my new reason my mom and dad would look at each other with these knowing eyes. A couple weeks later my parents decided it was time for me to try the bike whether I wanted to or not. I finally agreed to get on the bike as long as dad would hold on tight. When I got on I thought to myself, “This isn’t so bad.” Then we started to roll and I clenched the handles as hard as I could. I remember thinking surely this will be the end of me. As we rolled further and further I relaxed a bit and began to enjoy it. My dad asked if I was ready to try it on my own. Of course I wasn’t and he knew I never would be if given the choice. So, he let go, and I didn’t even know it until my mom yelled, “You’re doing it, You’re doing it!” When I looked back and saw he was gone I started to wobble and crashed. “You let go!” I cried as I looked at my bloody knees and hands. With many more patient tries ahead I was a regular biker by winter and by summer you couldn’t get me off my bicycle.

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Alissa • May 14, 2008 at 12:11 pm

My sister and I learned to ride a 2 wheel bike at the local park on the grass. I think one of my mothers friends gave her the idea of taking us to the park. The thick grass made it pretty difficult to pedal, but it was worth it because when we fell, we didn’t get too banged up.

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AKS • May 14, 2008 at 12:21 pm

i don’t remember the exact moment when i learned how to ride a bike, but first i started with training wheels, then removed 1 training wheel, then rode the bike without any training wheels. It just sort of happened gradually.

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Amy • May 14, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Dang, that’s a lot of comments!!

We rode in the child seats with our parents on their bikes, and I was lucky that it was my brother that had the nasty accident before helmets were invented! I don’t remember our earliest bikes like trikes and all, but I do remember my Flower Girl stickered banana bike, purposely bought in a blue color so when I outgrew it, my parents peeled off the Flower Girl stickers and gave it to my brother!

Later I got my mom’s hand-me-down 10-speed, which had been returned to her in Indiana when it was found by police in Florida after it had been stolen by our druggie next door neighbor and somehow made it that far south. It was kind of like PeeWee’s Big Adventure, I guess! I took my guinea pig for rides in the basket all around the neighborhood, and then used it to deliver my paper route for a few years, back when papers were delivered in the afternoon by preteens—ah, my first job. Collecting the subscription money door-to-door was a pain!

I had a different 10-speed in boarding school, which was then stolen, and then returned to me when the Muncie cops found a bunch of stolen bikes in a garage and I had bothered to file a report! Yet other hand-me-downs got me through college, riding to my classes and to 5a.m. crew practice down at the Connecticut River in all weather.

After college I decided to try mountain biking, which inspired my dad, and we had a lot of great trips through the woods together. His more recent heart condition has relegated him and his bike to the roads instead of the woods, and I hadn’t been to the woods in awhile, my Gary Fisher bike getting dusty in the garage (but at least not stolen!).

But last week I commuted to work on it, and then again on Monday. I’m riding again tomorrow to an urban renewal charity project, painting a mural along a busy road, and Friday is Bike To Work Day!

So now that I’m finding the need to re-outfit my mountain bike as a commuter, a new commuter-style bike would be a great win. :)

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Lynn • May 14, 2008 at 12:30 pm

It was the love of my life. A no-speed hot pink Sears bike with a psychedelic banana seat. Santa brought it to me when I was 7. He knew a cool bike when he saw it. I spent all day learning and then at every available moment went to spend time with her.

She was my best friend until I was ten and got a hot pink three-speed. I would ride around the driveway with my transistor radio in the basket listening to Chaka Khan and Rufus blaring at me to “Tell Me (them) Something Good.”

I would love to have a cool new bike. I’ll be putting a banana seat on it and there will always be cold Lipton tea in the basket! Now, where’s my Ipod?

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KC • May 14, 2008 at 12:30 pm

My first bike was a pink 1-speed with a white, plastic basket in the front that had a pink (plastic)daisy on it and a white banana seat. I got it in the summer and thought I had died and went to heaven. I remember my dad teaching me how to ride. We were on his street that only had gravel sides – no side walk. My dad convinced me that I could, in fact, learn to ride and keep up with my brothers.

On the first attempt I lost control and wiped out all over the gravel side. With my knees bleeding and gravel stuck in the wound I wanted to give up. My dad stood right there encouraging me and cheering me back on the bike. My brothers all stood by on their bikes screaming “Come on you can do it – or are you too baby scared?!?!?”

Well being the only girl I can tell you I decided I was not going to be “baby scared”. I was going to show those boys how to ride a bike.

I hopped back on my bike and wobbled down the road with my dad running beside me. On that day I felt the wind in my hair the first time and felt free.

That summer anywhere the boys could go I would follow on my pink, banana seated bike – no more “baby scared”.

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spy Susan • May 14, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Prior to my learning how to ride a bike the apparently common way with my dad holding onto the seat, and then suddenly NOT holding on, I have another bike incident story. One of my earliest memories was around age 4 and my sister’s bike had the long flat “trailer seat” above the back tire. Our mom warned her not to let me ride on that seat but we did it anyway, her reminding me to hold my legs out. Of course I forgot and before long they were entangled in the spokes and we both went flying. Luckily for us a Boy Scout troop just happened to be across the street and they ran over to make sure we were ok. We had no broken bones, but she did get into big trouble with our mom. Her grandson LOVES that story and makes her repeat it often!

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Mary Sue • May 14, 2008 at 12:38 pm

I’m currently in the process of “re-learning” to ride a bike. I haven’t ridden one since high school – 20 years ago – but I think it will be a fun weekend activity, so I borrowed a bike from a friend while I decide if I really want to buy one.

Amazing how they’ve changed! My last bike was a ten speed, and I don’t think I ever used all of the gears.

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mia • May 14, 2008 at 12:42 pm

I don’t remember how I learned ~ though I’m sure it involved pain. I remember my first bike was pink with a big big polka dots on the banana seat. My brother is five years younger than I am, and I do remember the day he learned to ride a bike. My dad ran along beside him until he took off. He went around the corner and disappeared for a full 5 minutes. We were a lazy family, but eventually one of us started to wonder if he was okay. Just a moment later, he came peeling back around the corner. He had stopped to remove the training wheels, all by himself.

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Amanda R. • May 14, 2008 at 12:48 pm

I only have a vague recollection of learning how to ride a bike. I know I was living in Nebraska at the time, so that narrows down my age from between 3-5 yrs old. I have an older brother, so of course was always trying to catch up with him. I remember I had a bike with training wheels and me and my brother were riding our bikes in our drive-way, I don’t know why I was so convinced that I could ride a bike w/o the training wheels, but I was. So I got on my brothers bike and rode a couple of circles with it, then promptly crashed, but was excited out of my mind nonetheless.

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Heather • May 14, 2008 at 12:49 pm

When I was six years old we moved to a townhouse development with about a million kids. I was so excited to have tons of kids to play with and ride bikes with, but I still hadn’t learned how to ride a bike!! I was soooo embarrassed because everybody else knew how to ride a bike and who makes it to 6 whole years old without knowing how??? So, to my humiliation, my mom would try to teach me in the grass next to our townhouse so I wouldn’t hurt myself when I fell. Of course, trying to ride a bike on grass is ridiculously hard, so when my mom wasn’t looking, I borrowed my friend’s bike and just started riding it on the road with no problems whatsoever. I guess the falling a million times in the grass must have paid off!

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Alisha • May 14, 2008 at 12:51 pm

When I moved into the neighborhood I grew up in I already had a bike. It was a pepto bismol pink and white banana seat bike. My grandma bought it for me. It had training wheels. I could ride with them no problem. Then I saw the older kids riding their bikes around the neighborhood without them and they were so free. So I asked my dad to teach me to ride without them. He did the typical holding the seat then letting do. I would fall or stop as soon as he let go. So I told him to leave me alone. I stayed outside for hours trying and trying to get the balance. Then it happened, I didn’t tip over. It took a few days but I was riding with no training wheels. Looking back they were a hinderance, so were arm floaties in the pool. They were both a crutch for me. I had to do it myself even if it took days. It is how I am to this day…..although, I did give up on hula hooping.

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bellplayer658 • May 14, 2008 at 1:00 pm

My family lived along this relatively infrequently traveled gravel road. When I was around 6 or 7, my father got me a bike with the “pretty” pink and purple tassels hanging off the handle bars. He had put training wheels on the bike, which I used until I was consistently steady. But then, the training wheels came off…. Several big spills later, and with gravel embedded in my palms, I could finally ride my “big girl” bike…

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Rachel • May 14, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Hi Jeannette,

first of all…CONGRATS on all your recent success and coming into fruition of so many goals. I have ordered your book and it is on the way!!!

How I learned to ride a bike? I was a late bloomer with it…the whole two-wheels-instead-of-four thing scared me for a long time…but finally I did it one day! And now I ride every day to work. I could sure use a new bike. Thanks so much for facilitating the contest.

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MPF • May 14, 2008 at 1:02 pm

PastaQueen you’re an inspiration! I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but it’s the promise of a bike that has me finally making a comment.

I’ll never forget learning how to ride my first 2 wheeler. My Dad would come over and we would take the bike out. I would sit on the saddle with my legs barely touching the ground. I would start peddling, with my Dad running alongside me, his hands securely holding the seat and the handlebars. He would let go and inevitably I would fall over. When my Dad wasn’t available, the older boys on my block would takeover. A group of them would shout instructions while some of them held on to the bike. It still didn’t prevent me from falling. But one day, my Dad and the boys were all present, and with the entire crowd cheering me on, I was finally able to stay up and ride on my own. Everyone was so proud of me, and I was proud of myself too.

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Kim • May 14, 2008 at 1:15 pm

I received my first new bike on my 6th birthday – a huffy pink lady with a banana seat, a lovely plastic basket with more lovely plastic flowers and plastic tassels hanging from the handlebars–this was the late 70s/early 80s before we knew how bad plastic is :) But I didn’t need the training wheels because I learned on some crappy smaller bike I think my dad found in the trash. He said I could get my own bike once I learned how to ride this one.

Little did he know I would ride that thing around the yard (it was a softer landing – it didn’t have training wheels) ALL DAY until I no longer fell off. I would be out there at night in my pjs trying to get the hang of it, my mom yelling for me to come in, but my dad would come outside and work on the car so I could stay outside.

My pink lady and I spent several lovely summers together riding around the neighborhood, up and down hills, and to the pool. The freedom was exhilarating! My latest bike (only my second, I’m very loyal!) broke last spring after many years of service, including getting me to and from work. I haven’t been able to let it go. But I will if I win a new one!

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Amanda • May 14, 2008 at 1:19 pm

I was so lacking in fine motor skills as a child that I actually had to take a special class to develop balance and readable handwriting. No way did I have the coordination required to ride a bike at age 6 when all of my friends were learning. For like four years I trailed behind them on my scooter, and this was before the days of cute, zippy little scooters. This thing has overinflated white tires and pretty much marked me as the kid who couldn’t ride a bike. Fortunately, my friends loved me anyway!

When my little brother learned to ride a bike I decided that for pride’s sake, no matter how many falls I took, I would have to learn. Over and over I started at the top of our driveway and coasted down until finally, after about the 100th try, my feet connected with the pedals and I was able to stay upright and pedal off into the sunset! Um…or down the block. My mom took pictures. I think it was just so she would have proof that her 11-year-old could finally ride a bike!

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sjansen • May 14, 2008 at 1:23 pm

i remember my dad running up and down the street next to my blue banana seat bike for hours while i tried and tried not to freak out when he let go. i had scraped every inch of my legs and my dad must have lost 15 lbs from all the running, but i finally got it.

and then- i swear i didn’t get off the bike for about 5 years. i know i must have done things like go to school and the like. but mostly i remember days and days of summer spent tooling around on the blue bike with streamers from the handle bars… ah- i should totally get some streamers for my bike this summer.

cheers!

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Sally Parrott Ashbrook • May 14, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Riding my bike (never called it ‘cycling’) was one of my favorite activities of my childhood. It started with my red tricycle I got when I was 3. Then I moved on to a yellow bike with training wheels. But the best day was when we took my new red bike out to a big patch of lawn; my dad ran beside me, pushing my bike as I pedaled; and then he let go. And I was flying along, or so it felt, all on the volition of my own two pumping legs. I fell eventually, but I got right back on, and I rode around town the rest of my childhood.

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Renate • May 14, 2008 at 1:35 pm

I don’t remember how I learned how to ride a bike, but I have a story about the reason I DIDN’T ride a bike for 20 years. It was in the summer of 1980, my 8-year old son had just gotten a new bike and he begged me to come for a ride with him. I strapped the bikes to the back of my 280Z and off we went in search of a trail. A couple of miles down the road, the bikes fell off. Since two bikes didn’t fit into my tiny sports car, I told my son that I would take my bike home and he should ride his towards our house. Once I got home, I worried about him being out there by himself and decided to ride my bike to meet him. The last thing I remember is getting on my bike in front of our house. Five hours later, I vaguely remember being in a car, coming home from the hospital. We never figured out what happened with any certainty, but apparently I had crashed my bike somewhere, hit my head and got severely lacerated knees, a 5 inch cash on my head, with a concussion to boot. From what I was told, I managed to walk home. Once I arrived there, my Mom told me that I talked like a little girl and had no memories of anything that happened in the previous six months. She finally insisted that my now ex-husband take me to the hospital. They x-rayed, stitched and did some other tests and send me home. I remember part of that ride, but then things got fuzzy again.

I was so frightened by that experience (mostly because I didn’t know exactly what happened) that I didn’t get on another bike for 20 years. Even though I love our weekly outings now, I’m still somewhat afraid I will fall again.

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Red • May 14, 2008 at 1:36 pm

Like many, I learned to ride my bike with my dad pushing on the back of my seat. At the time I had absolutely ZERO faith in angular momentum and was convinced I would die the second my dad let go of the seat, despite the millions of bikers which were evidence to the contrary.

Finally my dad had to trick me by pretending to hold onto the seat when he wasn’t. It was still several weeks until I would feel comfortable on a bike.

My sister learned by herself, shaming me for life.

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Stacie • May 14, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Did your bike have a banana seat too??? Because if so, I had a bike just like that!!! I think my grandparents might still have it in their shed…

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lynn murawa • May 14, 2008 at 1:44 pm

I received my first bike for my 5th birthday. I can remember it only took a couple of days before I could ride it without training wheels. I haven’t had a new bike since I was in college. Hope I win this one.

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Amy • May 14, 2008 at 1:44 pm

1st time posting…long time reader.

I don’t remember learning to ride a bike. I do remember my favorite bike was a yellow Huffy with a white banana seat. That bike was tuff it went through a tornado (yes a real tornado) and had many hard miles put on it. I use to out jump the neighborhood boys bmx bikes with the “nanna” as we called it.

I’m now 35 and I ride a bike to work each day pulling my 4 and 2 year olds to daycare in a trailer on the way. I ride all over town running errands now that gas is so high. Somehow I don’t remember biking being so physical when I was a kid.

My current bike is a hand me down from my 15 year old that was too short for him and the trailer was given to me by a friend whose kids are too big for it now. I’ve lost over 20 pounds riding and my little ones love to go for a “wide” as they call it.

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Stacie • May 14, 2008 at 1:48 pm

This must be destiny. I’ve been wanting a bike but don’t have the money to buy one… so *fingers crossed* for probablity working in my favor.

I don’t remember the actual “learning” to ride a bike… but I remember hours and hours and days and days spent riding my bike. My best friend when I was a kid lived directly across the street from me, and both of our driveways had just enough incline that we would start at the top of his driveway, and race over to mine. then we’d turn around and do it all over again. And again. And again. Luckily we lived on a street that not many people drove down…

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Lynne • May 14, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Blue banana seat bike, handlebar streamers, no training wheels. Age 6, I was the youngest of the grandkids and pushed my aunt’s old bike all over the neighborhood until one day I could finally RIDE IT! Of course, it was only 3 days later when I finally got the nerve to tackle a REAL hill and flipped off breaking my arm and saddling any ideas of riding again for the final 4 weeks of summer vacation and into the fall. I had to learn to ride a bike all over again in the Spring when I turned 7 and got my own bike. The end.

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Helen • May 14, 2008 at 1:59 pm

I am joining with others who don’t remember learning how to ride. I’ve thought as hard as a could but it’s just not there. However, my most memorable bike memory is from the Christmas I was 9 years old. I wanted a bike so bad – with a basket and a banana seat. My brother, who was 8 had also asked for a bike. I fell asleep that Christmas Eve thinking over and over, “please God let me get my bike, please God, let me get my bike.” Literally in the middle of the night, I was woken up by my dumb brother who was jumping up and down whisper screaming “We got our bikes, we got our bikes!” He totally ruined the surprised. Of course, I was still happy to get the bike. Even though I had terrible strep throat and a double ear infection, my mom overdressed me to the point of tipping over and let me go out and ride that new bike one time around the block.

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Tracy • May 14, 2008 at 1:59 pm

I remember the week before learning to ride my bike. My parents bought me the bike – for my birthday. For some reason they did not drop everything to teach me to ride the instant they brought the bike home. It must have just been a day or two but I have a memory of waiting for DAYS for them to teach me. It was a girls bike so I would sit on the bottom of the V frame (instead of the seat) and push myself along with my feet on the pavement. I think I even got in trouble for it! I’m sure my parents did’t want me to hurt myself.

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Maureen • May 14, 2008 at 2:01 pm

I don’t know if my parents didn’t believe in training wheels (not like they didn’t believe they exisited, just that they didn’t believe in using them) or if they just didn’t bother buying them, but we had to go straight from the trike to the bike. I learned to ride my bike by started at the top of a grassy hill in our farm yard and cruising down it until I lost my balance and fell off. I had to keep my feet out of the way because the pedals would be going like mad as they turned when the wheels turned. So, trial and error, that’s how I did it! I would love to win this bike so when I do a mini-triathlon, it looks like I’m sponsored by Lipton. Although, I guess all I would need for that is stickers… Please put me in the draw for the bike though!!!! :-)

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Jessica • May 14, 2008 at 2:01 pm

The day I learned to ride a bike was the same day I lost my two front teeth! I have pictures of me riding down the sidewalk in front of my house, grinning with my teeth missing.

My dad put on the training wheels but by the end of the 2nd day I was riding without them. I have to say I was a pretty good bike rider because I never remember crashing, falling, or being scared. I had just turned 6 when all of this occured.

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Michelle in CA • May 14, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Oh Boy! I hope I have your brother’s luck because a new bike is just what I need, and yellow is my color :) So I don’t remember learning to ride a bike and it looks like I’m far from alone. But I do remember a time when I got a new bike as a teen and started riding after not riding for years. I was out in the neighborhood and took a fall.

I walked my bike home and told my dad my arm hurt. He took a look at it and told me I’d be fine. An hour later I was in tears from the pain and my brother convinced him I wasn’t well. Off to the ER and I had a fractured wrist. Ouch. I was tough though and my dad was a trooper because he felt so guilty but kept saying, “if you weren’t so tough I would have known you were hurt.”

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Megan • May 14, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Learning to ride a bike is easy, re-learning it after 10 or so years out of the saddle is the hard part. In the 2 rides I have taken since 1998, I have fallen… not badly, but enough. and now, I am being forced into a bi-athalon in Colorado by a friend (and in exchange i get to take her indoor skydiving!)

problem is, i dont yet have a bike… kinda messes up the whole “bike & run” thing…

so, although i know you choose randomly, im rooting for myself here… is that mean?

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Eileen • May 14, 2008 at 2:12 pm

Hey PQ – first-time commenter here (sucked in by the possibility of a new bike). I’m a regular reader and also read your book – great job on both! I’m 45 and, like many of your other readers, still distinctly remember my father running behind me down the road balancing me on my bike. A couple of months ago I started riding my old, decrepit bike to work (fortunately not the one I learned on as a child, but still a very old one) to (a) save gas, (b) help the environment, and (c) squeeze in some exercise, and I would LOVE to be riding a spiffy new one! Thanks!

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Lisa • May 14, 2008 at 2:14 pm

The first time I rode a bike I just jumped on and pushed off down our rather steep driveway. Luckily I made it to the bottom safe and sound because I didn’t know how to use the brakes. A bit of a dare devil I guess or maybe I was just too young to know any better.

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barbara • May 14, 2008 at 2:19 pm

How cool! I was sitting at my desk, drinking a a diet peach papay Lipton White Tea (true story; I can send you a picture)when I read your post just now.

The youngest of 6 kids, 2 of my siblings included brothers growing up who were…well…boys. Boys who were a little mischievious, who lived life on the edge and thought everyone else should too.

We lived out in the country, on a gravel road near a very steep hill. Can I just say that a gravel road, a big hill, and a 5-year old on a bike is just not a good mix for a story that needs a happy ending?

We took my new bike to the top of the hill near our house, and my oldest brother gave me a good shove while my other brother gave my twin sister a shove on her bike at the same time.

It was learn to ride, or learn how to fall from that point! We learned to ride our bikes that day.

Years later, my twin sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. So her husband and I raise money and/or ride in the MS150 in her honor where they live in the Ozark Mountains. That’s right, more hills! But I’m not scared of them any more.

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Claudia • May 14, 2008 at 2:30 pm

I remember my first bike. I got it for Christmas, I think I was 6 & my bestfriend got one too, she was 5. Mine was a pink & white huffy with a banana seat. It had training wheels on it forever, I ran those things to out. I finally decided at 9 or 10 I could ride my bike without training wheels. I was kind of forced to take them off because they were all bent and worn out anyways. So I was kind of old with training wheels and my friend learned to ride hers within a few months of getting it. We had fun though, we always rode our bikes in the summer and after school. Those were the days.

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Alison • May 14, 2008 at 2:30 pm

I remember learning to ride my brothers bike. I dont remember actualy owning my own. I would have to wait until one of them would so nicely let me get on and run behind me. I would say that my younger brother taught me how to ride, but then he would never let me ride his LOL

Alison

Allie1229@gmail.com

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Rina • May 14, 2008 at 2:50 pm

I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until I was 26. I’d wanted a bike really really badly as a kid, but my mom was never comfortable with the idea…she was always worried I’d break an arm or something, I guess. Anyway, fast forward a couple of decades, I’m living in the Bay Area where biking is huge. I hurt my knee running, so I needed something low impact.

My boyfried at the time helped me learn. We went to the local park and rode around until I got the hang of it. Then I was able to take advantage of the miles and miles of bike trails nearby. A couple of years into it, I fell during a ride and needed stitches on my thumb…my mom resisted the urge to say “I told you so”.

I was glad to see I’m not the only adult-learner…and even more glad to see Ewa is from my hometown, Toronto. Sara, I’d say you should totally learn to ride a bike — it’s worth the hassle…especially if you can find a park with lots of low shrubs you can crash into.

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Jenn • May 14, 2008 at 2:51 pm

YES! Yes it did! Oh, how I loved that bike.

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Naomi • May 14, 2008 at 2:53 pm

I learned the typical way, at about six, with my dad chasing behind me holding on to the bike seat until I was going on my own. But then a couple years later, my best friend needed to learn how. I’d been around for a couple of the early lessons with her mom, but it was just NOT working. So one day, the two of us decided to try on our own. We took my banana seat bike to the cul-de-sac on our street, and I ran behind her holding on to the metal bar on the seat. Doubt my eight-year-old arms were doing anything to hold her up even before I let go, but she believed I was helping so she kept pedaling. When she saw I’d let go, she immediately fell over. But she’d already succeeded, and we both knew it. So she got back up and kept going.

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Jess • May 14, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Hrm, How I learned to ride a bike.

I remember having a little pink bike with the plastic spoke-covers and training wheels, and thinking it was the fastest bike EVER! I don’t really remember learning to ride it, though.

I had a friend who was supposed to teach me how to ride in the street by riding on the sidewalk, now that I look back, that doesn’t make much sense. Go figure.

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Shasta • May 14, 2008 at 3:02 pm

My first bike was a pink Schwinn with tassels on the handlebars and a white banana seat. I also had a bell that I rung with glee when I chased the dog with my bike. I grew up in the country and learned how to ride and navigate gravel roads without skidding. I don’t really remember how I learned to ride it – only that I rode it ALL THE TIME.

Things I DID learn on my bike:

Riding through mud puddles is very fun, but will make Mom very angry come laundry day.

Remember to duck when wheeling along a wooded obstacle course.

Stop by using the pedal brakes and not your bare feet.

Do not ride a bike with bare feet.

Cats do not like to ride on bikes.

If you fall off or get bucked, get back on your horse.

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Flo • May 14, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Jersey City wasn’t exactly a bike riding mecca when I was a kid. In fact, I didn’t know anyone that had a bike. When I was around 8 or 9, the boys in my neighborhood found an old bike. One of the older brothers helped fix it up and before you knew it we had a bike to ride. But no one could ride. We took turns trying to figure out how to ride. I don’t believe our parents knew about the bike and we would come home at night all scraped up and have to explain why. Then one day my mother saw us with the bike and figured out what was going on. She came and taught us all how to ride. She even tracked down another old bike and had my brothers fix it up so our little group now had 2 bikes. We traveled all over on those 2 bikes. We would take turns riding and the others would run after the bikes. Some of my best memories are on those bikes. To this day bike riding is one of my favorite things to do. Now I ride for fun, to get around, and to race in triathlons.

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orangehands • May 14, 2008 at 3:13 pm

My godfather taught me how to ride by holding onto the seat until I got comfortable. I lived on a hill so it was fine until I had to brake. Landed in the thorn bushes- ouch. Learned how to brake real quick after that. :)

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Elizabeth • May 14, 2008 at 3:30 pm

I learned to ride a bike with my dad holding onto the back, running behind, up and down the cultesac in our neighborhood. One day he just let go and I was off. I still remember that bike – it was bright red and had a banana seat with SPARKLES in it. I got it for my fifth birthday, and when the training wheels came off of it, I was really nervous. It took me a really long time to learn to turn.

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DAS • May 14, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Honest to goodness, I don’t remember learning to ride a bike. I CAN ride but have not one iota of a recollection of the event – I’ll need to call home and drill the parents! I do have a cute story about my son, last summer at 4 yrs old his best buddy across the street came knocking on my door.. He came to announce my little guy was riding a bike – sure, no biggy, we’d been riding around the cul-du-sac all summer WITH TRAINING WHEELS. The little guys managed to take OFF the training wheels and the older buddy – all of 5 – did the running behind and encouragment and off my little guy went. We had to re-enact it all so I could get a photo op! Pretty cute (AND saved me a back ache of running along side!) So, I’ll make sure HE doesn’t forget how he learned to ride a bike!

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nolafwug • May 14, 2008 at 3:33 pm

I learned how to ride on a funky green bike with a glitter banana seat. It was even registered with the town in case it got stolen. There was an ID number stuck to the frame. Hmmm, if I was a bike thief that’s the first thing I would peel off!

My mom and I walked up to the school parking lot where there was a lot of room to jerk around. I learned quickly and to this day I ride fearlessly – aggressively even. I’m not saying that is a good thing. I got in several bike wrecks as a girl (and one as an adult). Just scrapes, bruises, and warped metal for the most part. In the worst one of all I was riding a friend’s BMX which I was unused to. I went too fast, lost control and almost lost my two front teeth. I ended up with a root canal (I can bite into a popsicle and I don’t feel a thing!) and to this day my teeth look kinda funny.

So be careful on your bikes, kiddies!

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Christina • May 14, 2008 at 3:36 pm

I was about 13 when I learned to ride. The neighbor kids helped me. First I practiced sitting on the bike and balancing while holding onto the porch railing. Then one day I tried pedaling (as opposed to walking the bike while I sat on it–Flintstone style) and it all fell into place. I was super happy and my friends were very supportive.

Good memory for me. Thanks for reminding me of it.

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Jojo • May 14, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Well, I grew up in Mongolia and back when I was little, not many little kids had bikes as they were really expensive. My brother had one though and he used to ride me around on the back, this is when I was like 5. Well needless to say, one day I let me feet drop down when he TOLD me to keep them up and my left foot went into the back spinning wheel and got all mangled…I still have a huge scar to prove it. I was bleeding all over the place, my brother was yelled at ALOT (poor guy), and the FEAR of bikes was instilled until this day. Yes, I’m 23 and don’t know how to ride a bike. I’m ready to learn and would love to have a bike to do it. Thanks!!!!

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jae • May 14, 2008 at 3:53 pm

Wow, a lot of people want this bike!

I don’t really remember how I learned to ride a bike. My parents were too big to have run beside me, holding my seat and cheering me on. I do remember there was a big hill at the begining of my street, I’d walk my bike up and then roll myself back down. Thinking back, that was a really big hill. Geez, I was a pretty brave kid! ~j

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Krys • May 14, 2008 at 3:54 pm

I learned to ride a bike much the same as every one else, with one of my parents holding onto the back, after they took the training wheels off. But once I got the hang of it, I was unstoppable! I hate to admit, but it has been probably 20 years since I have riden a bike. :(

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Lauren • May 14, 2008 at 3:57 pm

I think I was 6 or 7 when I learned to ride. My dad popped my training wheels off, I jumped on my bike (hot pink with black specks, my best friend had the same one..we were so cool)and tried to sail off..but instead the bike and I just tipped over. I tried literally like fifty more times and the same thing kept happening, I just kept tipping over to the left. My amazing problem-solving dad reattached JUST THE LEFT training wheel. And I rode like the wind!! For two years I was the girl who could KIND OF ride without training wheels, but not really. It’s actually how my best friend and I told our bikes apart.

“Is that your bike or mine?”

“Does it have one training wheel?”

“Nope”

“It’s yours”

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Beth • May 14, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Wow lots-o-comments. I learned to ride a bike in a normal kid way: my dad got me going then let go on a gentle hill and boom I was riding. As an adult, relearning was not so easy. Just last night I was on a ride with my husband and we were reminiscing about a few years ago when he was helping me learn to ride again so that I could bike to work and we could go biking together. I was sorta a psycho – I wouldn’t let him look at me while I was trying to move from a stop to going, and made him ride in front at all times so he couldn’t see me…. compared with last night when I was making him check out my form and how fast I could go. I’m such a dork!

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Suzi • May 14, 2008 at 4:09 pm

I learned to ride a bike when I was 26. Our daughter had gotten a bike for her 6th birthday. I had to laugh at the look on both thier faces when I admitted I never learned to ride a bike.

My daughter said she would only learn to ride if I did, and I had my rep as a cool mom to consider. My poor husband was so frazzled at the end of the day I think that might have been the first time I ever saw him cry out of pure frustration. My daughter is 16 now and we have a lot of fun riding together now. .

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Kelly • May 14, 2008 at 4:18 pm

My brother has always been more athletic than me, even when we were tiny children. I am about a year and a half older than him, and I remember being so jealous when he was able to just pick up a two wheeler (no training wheels!) and book it down a long grassy hill at my grandma’s farm house.

Seeing him doing circles around me on that (stupid!) bike, was really what made me want to learn how to ride. You know- sibling affection and all that.

Anyway, when the fateful moment came for me to practice on only two wheels with my father running beside me, I remember being so exhilarated with the speed and the wind.. Then I crashed. I remember crashing a lot that day actually…

It wasn’t easy to achieve balance, but I finally did. That wasn’t the end of the learning, though.

I remember having many crashes as a kid, including one on a chilly fall day. I decided to wear my long scarf- it was about 4-5 feet long with different colored stripes. I distinctly remember this because it ended up wrapped not only around my neck, but at the same time around the gears, the pedals, and into the spokes. I fell over, slowly being choked by the weight of my bike, when the UPS man stepped out of his brown delivery van and saved me. He was the nicest guy! Thanks, if you’re reading this!

Anyway, I haven’t owned a bike since I was about 15 years old, and I would love to have one again.

Thanks!

Kelly

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Alaina • May 14, 2008 at 4:19 pm

I got my pink Huffy for my 6th Christmas! I LOVED that bike and I loved riding it. My Dad taught me how to ride. I didn’t ride a bike for a long time after middle school. But last year I got on a friends bike and remembered how much I loved it. I started training for a tri and the biking was one of my favorite parts…right after swimming. I still hate the running! I’d love to win a Fuji bike for my next race!

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Laura Brandon • May 14, 2008 at 4:23 pm

I think I was like 7 when I learned to ride a bike. We were visiting my aunt and uncle in Lubbock, and my cousin Tracy, who’s 2 years older than me, decided she wanted us to go bike riding around the neighborhood. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to ride, so she taught me. I think I learned in about a day. I do remember crashing into a tree. But I don’t think we ever went around the neighborhood, because by the time I had figured it out, it was dark.

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Laura Bagwell • May 14, 2008 at 4:30 pm

My grandparents lived on a simple farm in upstate SC. It was wonderful visiting there as a child. They had an old, OLD rickety blue bicycle that we three kids absolutely loved to ride. I remember learning how to ride it up and down the rural one-lane road or the grassy path to the pond. The bike fell apart after years in the barn, but it had provided years of great summers.

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Brandi Sobanski • May 14, 2008 at 4:34 pm

I learned to ride a bike the summer before I started Kindergarten. I was told that I needed to wait until my Mom had a minute to help me, but I was impatient and couldn’t wait so I taught myself how to ride a bike between 2 parked cars. I just recently taught my 3 year old son how to ride his bike–All the older kids in the neighborhood who don’t know how to ride a 2 wheeler bike are quite impressed with him!

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Melissa • May 14, 2008 at 4:35 pm

Sadly, I rode a tricycle until well into elementary school. And since I was a rotund child, I’m not really sure how that worked.

But! I finally learned to ride without training wheels sometime in the second grade. And a couple years later, saved and bought a pretty pink Huffy 10-speed, which stayed in my room collecting dust because I was too afraid of the dogs running loose in my neighborhood to ride it.

And thus I became a rotund pre-teen. And the rest is history.

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Penny • May 14, 2008 at 4:40 pm

I learned to ride a bike like everyone else. I’ve also learned about life the same way. My parents let go and there I was, on my own. My first attempt on my bike? Well, I fell into a thorn bush. Life’s like that too, actually. The mother of five kiddos ages 2 1/2 to 12, I just recently went through a separation after 12 years of marriage…which is about as thorny a bush as you can find in real life. Just like that 8 year old that fell in the thorns, I cried a little and then I stood up, brushed myself off and I’m getting back on my bike. :) With the separation came an anger I’d never felt before and that is when I began running. Every day. 67 pounds later I am a new me. I’m the new “old” me that used to be able to run and play and laugh. Now I just need a bike so I can cross train. Thus, this comment. On a side note, thanks for this blog. It’s been an inspiration to me these last several months as I’ve lost almost half of myself as well…and in the process…found a whole new me. You rock!! *Penny Christine (my1cent@aol.com)

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Kelly • May 14, 2008 at 4:45 pm

I was 6 when we moved onto Fort Avenue in Niagara Falls. There were more boys than girls in my neighborhood and I became fast friends with Karl. (Who I later developed a huge crush on.) He was a year older than me and had an awesome red huffy. He taught me how to ride his bike. He used to walk beside me reminding me to pedal and showed me how to balance myself. I remember the day he let go, I turned around and he was jumping up and down as proud as a peacock. He was so kind, he shared his bicycle with me everyday for a month until my Mom surprised me with my very own. I’ll NEVER forget my first bicycle… it had a banana seat that was purple and sparkley. I loved the streamers that hung off of the handle bars. Karl also put a flag on it for me. I have so many fond memories of that bike and my best friend.

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JANIE • May 14, 2008 at 4:48 pm

I only remember tying a big wheels to the back of my ten speed and going and turning as fast as i could so who ever was riding the big wheels could fly across the road. lol we would do this all afternoon.

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Amy • May 14, 2008 at 4:49 pm

My parents received a used bike from some neighbors when I was four. I went out, sans training wheels, of course, and learned to ride.

It was, unfortunately, several months later before I learned to stop. We had a lot of bushes & trees in our yard that helped me until I figured out how to pedal backwards for the brakes!

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Rosie • May 14, 2008 at 4:54 pm

I crashed my pink Huffy right into the side of the neighbors’ house! My dad had been running along behind me, holding the seat to balance me. He thought I was ready for him to let go. Obviously, I was not. I was very indignant.

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Rachael • May 14, 2008 at 5:00 pm

I didn’t learn to ride a bike until the beginning of the 5th grade. I was 10 years old. I grandfather found an old bike at the dump and fixed it up for me. He painted it bright blue. I guess I didn’t have a bike before then because 1. my parents were very poor and dysfunction and 2. I was a very overweight and unathletic child from a young age. I was very excited about my bike, but embarrassed to have training wheels on it as a 10 year old! I had the classic, dad holding on then letting go suddenly learning experience once the training wheels came off. As a young teen, my friends and I rode bikes all over our town. I had that bike for a long while.

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Kristy • May 14, 2008 at 5:14 pm

I had a white and pink bike with pink streamers and a banana seat. Why were those banana seats so popular anyway?? I had a really steep concrete driveway, so needless to say I crashed quite a few times. I think I still remember how to ride, though.

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sharla • May 14, 2008 at 5:24 pm

I remember my learning to ride a bike, we lived on a farm, there were 8 of us brothers and sisters so we shared the bike, my oldest brother taught me out on the dirt roads around were we lived, it was great and I remember laughing so much, that is until I swallowed a flying bug. Yuck, but I learned to ride and to keep my mouth closed.

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Darleen • May 14, 2008 at 5:26 pm

While I already have a bike (Townie Cruiser) I am writing on behalf of my friend Megan. She doesn’t have a bike, can’t ride and falls over everytime she comes to a stop! But hey, aside from that she loves to ride – unfortunately no one will lend her their bike – that falling over and hitting metal bollards thing :/

This has not stopped her from signing up to do a Dualthon with me in Septmeber in Colorado. I suspect that if she had a bike of her own to train on she could do well in September. Well that and there are no stop signs and/or bollards to run into on the trail – she just needs the wheels.

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Laura • May 14, 2008 at 5:35 pm

My dad stuck a long stick thing in the back of my bike (like between the seat and the wheel) so he could run behind me holding it while I learned to ride. Then one day I started talking to him excitedly about how well I was doing, and he answered from way behind me – he had let go! I promptly fell off and cried and blamed him for letting go. It was basically just like the Full House episode where that happens to Michelle. However, like Michelle, I did eventually learn to ride :)

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Caroline • May 14, 2008 at 5:39 pm

My elementary school has an annual spring fair called the Strawberry Festival. I’m not sure why – Missouri isn’t exactly known for its vast stretches of strawberry fields – I think it was just an excuse to eat strawberry pies. Anyway, there were game booths, crafts, a lip synching contest and a bike parade for the kindergartners (like me) and first graders. You decorated your bike at a booth at the fair and then your parents would clap as you rode around the perimeter of school.

In hindsight, the event was stupid, but it meant a lot to me and I desperately wanted to ride my bike with my friends in the parade. My mother wouldn’t buy me a bike unless I learned how to ride one first. I learned on the bike of my friend, also my babysitter’s daughter. It was a hand me down with a rusty chain and scratches, and training wheels. Ugh! I couldn’t have those for the parade. The baby wheels were taken off just a week before my big event. I didn’t have much time to practice, but I was doing perfectly fine in the back yard, so I was allowed to borrow her bike for the fair.

On fair day I covered the old bucket of a bike with streamers, balloons, etc. It wasn’t as nice as the bikes the other kids had, but I was still excited. I really had no idea if I could make it to the end of the block, let alone around the whole school. Once I started pedaling, I couldn’t get enough. I went against all of the rules and rushed to the head of the pack.

I flew past the finnish line and claimed a big blue ribbon and pumped a fist in the air. In my celebration, I neglected to see a huge protuberance in the sidewalk caused by tree roots. I fell, skinned up my knee and scraped my shin with the pedal. Balloons popped, streamers ripped, and I, of course, cried. My pain was soothed by the ribbon and the various strawberry desserts inside the fair.

A few weeks later I had my own, brand new, bright blue, bicycle.

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Caroline • May 14, 2008 at 5:40 pm

My elementary school has an annual spring fair called the Strawberry Festival. I’m not sure why – Missouri isn’t exactly known for its vast stretches of strawberry fields – I think it was just an excuse to eat strawberry pies. Anyway, there were game booths, crafts, a lip synching contest and a bike parade for the kindergartners (like me) and first graders. You decorated your bike at a booth at the fair and then your parents would clap as you rode around the perimeter of school.

In hindsight, the event was stupid, but it meant a lot to me and I desperately wanted to ride my bike with my friends in the parade. My mother wouldn’t buy me a bike unless I learned how to ride one first. I learned on the bike of my friend, also my babysitter’s daughter. It was a hand me down with a rusty chain and scratches, and training wheels. Ugh! I couldn’t have those for the parade. The baby wheels were taken off just a week before my big event. I didn’t have much time to practice, but I was doing perfectly fine in the back yard, so I was allowed to borrow her bike for the fair.

On fair day I covered the old bucket of a bike with streamers, balloons, etc. It wasn’t as nice as the bikes the other kids had, but I was still excited. I really had no idea if I could make it to the end of the block, let alone around the whole school. Once I started pedaling, I couldn’t get enough. I went against all of the rules and rushed to the head of the pack.

I flew past the finnish line and claimed a big blue ribbon and pumped a fist in the air. In my celebration, I neglected to see a huge protuberance in the sidewalk caused by tree roots. I fell, skinned up my knee and scraped my shin with the pedal. Balloons popped, streamers ripped, and I, of course, cried. My pain was soothed by the ribbon and the various strawberry desserts inside the fair.

A few weeks later I had my own, brand new, bright blue, bicycle.

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Lisa • May 14, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Having lived in Indianapolis all my life–nearly 43 years–I actually remember when kids rode bikes everywhere. Who had a car at 16? I learned to ride a bike by myself at about age 9. I just couldn’t get the hang of it, so I perched at the top of a grassy hill, held on and peddaled like crazy. It worked.

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sarahG • May 14, 2008 at 6:05 pm

I discovered your blog after watching a video of your TV appearance online. Love it. Very inspirational. I’ll be buying your book as well.

Here’s a bike memory I will always treasure. I got my first bike for my 6 or 7th birthday. My mom was in the hospital with a kidney stone and my dad was in charge of the celebration. He made a chocolate cake with frosting with little marshmallows and used shashing to decorate the bike – you know, the kind of thing beauty queens get when they win to announce they’re Miss This and That. My bike was decorated with all these ribbons that were for a queen pageant. It was awesome.

My bike was pink with a floral banana seat. Sweet. I learned to ride a bike on that beauty.

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Elyse • May 14, 2008 at 6:07 pm

I was about 13 and the choice was either to walk the 3 miles to Junior High or learn to ride my bike…so I learned to ride….better late than never – And this summer i am doing a 6 day bike ride in the Loire Valley (in France) – who would have thunk it?

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Teresa • May 14, 2008 at 6:15 pm

I grew up on a dirt road (with potholes galore) in the mountains. When it came time to learn to ride a bike, I was so excited; it was a beautiful purple bike with streamers and a banana seat with a rainbow on it. *Sigh* I miss the 80′s. So knowing full well what I was in for, my dad instructed me to avoid the potholes once I got the training wheels off, but I was shaky at best. I was luckily wearing a helmet, but I still have a scar on my elbow where I fell into a rock in a pothole. I still mountain bike though, where now it’s seen more as a battle scar than an accidental injury. :)

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suzanne • May 14, 2008 at 6:19 pm

yes…mine also had a banana seat, streamers from the handle bars and the coveted wicker basket. However mine also came with siblings that were six years older than me…so how did I learn to ride a bike? As quickly as possible, to either keep up or keep away from them!

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Carey • May 14, 2008 at 6:35 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and have totally enjoyed it. Unfortunately I don’t remember exactly how I learned to ride a bike. My dad taught me, I’m sure. He and my mom gave my sister and me bikes when we were in high school, which was very exciting. It scares the hell out of me, however, to remember how we used to ride them the wrong way up hills (we could’ve been hit and killed!). I promise not to do that if you draw my name. I’ve learned a lot in the last 15 years.

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Lynda • May 14, 2008 at 6:47 pm

The little boy next door taught me to ride his bike when I was about 6-then he would let me ride it around the block once a day if I cleaned his room up..of course I did it…I still remember how free I felt when I rode that bike!

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lisa • May 14, 2008 at 6:57 pm

i got a hand-me-down bike (purple schwinn with monkey bars and a banana seat), but my mother never had time to teach me to ride. one day i walked it to the ravine where everybody played, and someone pushed me down the hill. i chipped a tooth, skinned both legs up and sprained my wrist, but i earned to ride that day. my mother cried because she didn’t teach me.

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susan • May 14, 2008 at 6:59 pm

My parents got me an English racing bike with Green Stamps when I was five. Unfortunately, it was a 3-speed adult bike and way too large for me. It sat in the garage for a couple of years.

Then a mom down the street (who probably felt sorry for me) lent me her daughter’s small bike with training wheels and I took off, never looking back. I even learned to ride that gigantic 3-wheeler that same summer.

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Stephanie • May 14, 2008 at 6:59 pm

I really wanted to tell a good story, but I can’t FOR THE LIFE OF ME remember learning to ride a bike. I know how and I’m sure it was on one of my older sister’s hand-me-down bikes, but the event escapes me entirely. I did jog up a lot of good memories of bike riding as a kid though and I’d really love to get back into it, but good bikes are so expensive. This would be a great way to get back into it! =)

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Bronwyn Lunceford • May 14, 2008 at 7:03 pm

I don’t remember specifically who taught me to ride — probably my brother, since dad was too busy for those kinds of things. I do remember trying to get the hang of turning — I had a habit of turning too sharply, and that led to crashes– lots of skinned knees! What helped me most was learning in the country on a grassy, slightly hilly place. I remember coasting down that hill, it was when I got to the bottom and had to turn that I had a problem! Oh, please, please, please — let me win that bike!

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KS • May 14, 2008 at 7:05 pm

Long time reader. First time poster. Your achievements in the last few weeks are awe inspiring.

I don’t remember my age, but I had a sparkly green “big girl” bike with a big banana seat. I loved that thing. My dad tried to teach me by holding on but I always knew when he let go. So, I spent hours going up and down the driveway with one foot on the curb alongside. I don’t remember when I actually got the hang of it, but once I did, you couldn’t get me off the thing.

We just spent the last month teaching our puppy to run alongside while we ride (he LOVES it) and it feels vaguely like learning to ride all over again because of the instability of riding with one hand on the bike and one hand holding the leash of an oversized puppy!

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Carrie • May 14, 2008 at 7:15 pm

I don’t quite remember learning to ride a bike so I thought I’d share one of my memorable crashes. My brother and I were riding our bikes while our parents followed close behind. I wasn’t paying attention and banged my head on a stop sign pole. I cried and cried. I still love to ride but now I’m much more careful around stop signs.

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denise • May 14, 2008 at 7:30 pm

I remember a cool black tricycle that I rode for a while, but don’t remember my first two-wheeler for sure. I have a vague recollection of wobbling along on a real bike with someone’s hand holding onto the back of the seat to balance me, but don’t remember whose hand it was – probably my grandfather, if I had to guess.

Once I got riding, I remember practically living on a bike for many summers. We rode to the pool, to each others houses, to the store, to the playground – everywhere we wanted to go. Of course that was many years ago in the age of innocence when there wasn’t a child abductor assumed to be waiting around every corner.

Now at 50+ years, my riding has been mostly confined to a stationary bike – and a recumbent one at that. But last year on vacation at the beach I rented a bike and tried riding again. It’s true that you don’t forget how – but it’s not true that you pick it back up without a hitch. Although it was a bigger challenge than I anticipated, once I got going, I loved it! It would be great to have a real bike again.

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Karina Phillips • May 14, 2008 at 7:36 pm

I remember my Mom teaching me how to ride a bike. I remember falling a lot and her encouraging me to get back on the bike and try again.

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Christine Perkins • May 14, 2008 at 7:40 pm

I learned to ride a bike with my Mom holding onto the back of it and riding through a cemetary close to my home. It felt like flying the first time she let go of the bike and I was sailing through the air on my own! I would love to have a bike now to ride with my kids! Great exercise and fun at the same time.

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Bee • May 14, 2008 at 7:46 pm

My mom helped me learn to ride a bike, first with training wheels and then by holding onto the back of my seat and running along with me. I vividly remember the day we were ‘riding’ along like that and it suddenly dawned on me that she wasn’t holding on to my seat. It was exhilirating. Thanks for reminding me of this memory. My most vivid bike-riding memory was a couple of years later, though, when I was 11 and started my period for the first time while bike riding with friends. Sorry for the TMI, but hey. It’s a milestone!

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Michelle • May 14, 2008 at 7:51 pm

My first bike was purple and sparkly with a white and silver sparkly banana seat (Aw, yeah!) and white basket on the front. We had a small hill in our front yard and I learned to ride a bike by starting at the top of the little hill and letting gravity and luck propel me as I learned to use the pedals. Unfortunately for me, our front yard also had three trees. Like a magnet, I remember the first time I really got going, the bike went right for the middle tree and I went head first into it. Painful, but at least I got back on my swanky bike and eventually got the hang of it.

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Sara L • May 14, 2008 at 7:52 pm

I first learned to ride a bike when I was around 5 years old. My big brother had just learned to ride without training wheels and of course I wanted to do everything he did! I remember it taking forever but I finally got the hang of it. From that point until my brother reached the age where little sisters became totally uncool, we rode our bikes everywhere!

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Kristin • May 14, 2008 at 7:57 pm

I don’t remember how I learned to ride a bike, but I do remember how I got my first bike. I was about 6 years old and I really wanted a bike. So my parents made a deal with me that if I saved my money and paid for half, they would pay for the other half for my birthday. Yes, I had to pay for half my birthday gift! The bike cost $50 and I paid $25 of it. (My mom recently found the receipt in a file of saved stuff. Probably saved for warranty purposes, not to commemorate how warped my frugal parents were!) But there’s more. A couple of years later my (younger) sister also wanted a bike, so she got the same offer. Except the bike she got belonged to a neighbor (same model as mine), and only cost about $20 total. So she only had to fork over $10 to pay her share of the bike! I was steamed over that for years, as an example of how the youngest always gets off easier. Of course it was a used bike, but I didn’t really grasp the significance of that till many years later. Like 30+ years later. (An addendum–my parents are really very generous, and even now that I am a self-supporting adult, buy me lots of stuff that is much more expensive than a Spyder bike.) But anyhow, I would really love a shiny new Lipton Tea branded bike! I’m a big tea drinker too! So please randomly pick me!

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CPA Mom • May 14, 2008 at 8:12 pm

I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until I was 12 – I had a LOT of ear problems (three surgeries before I was 5!) and the doctor said I’d never ride a two – wheeler. Well, of course, I had to show him!! I still love to ride – not I put one of my kiddos on the back in their safety seat for some extra workout!! I’d love to win this bike – mine is over 10 years old and showing it. Thanks!

p.s. We drink only Lipton – I’m sipping a hot cup of Blueberry Pomegranite right now and I use those TO GO pouches all day in my 32 oz. bottle of water.

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Byron • May 14, 2008 at 8:40 pm

I first learned to ride a bicycle down a hill in Greenwood Heights,in Austin, Tx. My bicycle was with training wheels that were not all the way on the ground. Most of the kids when I was younger were taught this way. Now imagine as a small child you are looking at this hill that looks miles long, but is probably a quarter of a mile or less. To teach me balance my older brother would put me on the bike & just let me roll down this hill that looked miles & miles long and as you pick up speed you panic as a kid, because of the unknown. Well to say the least after crashing the yard of this old lady we got tired of crashing so you got the fear out & rode completely down the hill then turned around & walked back up. Nice brother, huh! I was probably 4 or 5 yrs old at the time. But I never forgot.

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melon54 • May 14, 2008 at 8:53 pm

I was 18 months old when I learned to ride my first bike. My parents had taken me shopping with them. I was getting restless, so my father perched me on the seat of a shiny red tricycle. When it was time to leave, I screamed like a banshee and held on as tight as I could to the bike. My father, who my mother claimed could never say no to me, bought me the bike. My feet didn’t reach the pedals. So, when we got home my father attached wooden blocks to the pedals, gave me a push and I was riding.To this day I still love riding my bike!

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VerseFameBeauty • May 14, 2008 at 8:59 pm

When I was 3-6 we lived near Baltimore in a very hilly neighborhood, and so my parents weren’t really able to teach me to ride a bike. When we moved to Orlando, however, it was one of my dad’s first priorities. For my birthday that year I walked out to the living room to find a brand new bike… a brand new Ninja Turtle bike, that is. It was neon green with black specks and black handlebars/trim. My dad took me out to breakfast for my birthday, the bike in the back of his pickup, and explained that this had been the last bike at Sports Authority the day before, and that I was welcome to come back to the store to exchange it… with the caveat that if I got a new one, we’d just have to go home– whereas if I kept the one I had, he could teach me to ride it for about half an hour. I thought about it for a while, but I finally decided I’d rather learn to ride an ugly bike right then and there than wait and learn to ride a pretty bike later. So I lived with a neon green, super-ugly boys bike for years!

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Sarah • May 14, 2008 at 9:01 pm

I finally learned to ride a bike when I was 12 years old. It took years of trying from my parents, step-parents and various other family members to get me to be able to ride my bike on my own and without training wheels, until one day it finally just clicked and I got it. I felt totally awesome riding around on my school’s deserted playground, until I forgot to turn and biked smack into a wall. Ouch. I was still stoked that I could ride on my own though, and kept doing it.

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K. Ann • May 14, 2008 at 9:03 pm

My dad taught me to ride. It was in the 70′s. I eventually got one of those girl’s bikes with the banana seats – although my brother let the kids down the street ride it – was very mad about that. The next bike after that was stolen when I lent it to someone and they rode it to a party.

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Sarah J • May 14, 2008 at 9:04 pm

I don’t remember learning to ride a bike, but I remember loving bike riding. For my 8th grade graduation, I asked for a Schwinn 10 speed. My parents gave me a pearl ring instead. My brother, though, got a Schwinn 10 speed for his 8th grade graduation 2 years later. (he didn’t want a bike, nor a pearl ring, I bet). I couldn’t believe that two years later I still wanted this bike so bad. I was a non athletic, biggest kid in the class teenager (if you get the picture). My parents realized their mistake and got me a bike too. So, here i am, 30 years later (more of less) still in love with my bike. At 305 pounds I rode five different bike trips last year… between 25 and 40 miles each! All on a borrowed bike, by the way. So, even though at 43 the pounds aren’t coming off like I’d like, I’m still pursing my dream of distance biking.

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Jon • May 14, 2008 at 9:04 pm

I honestly don’t remember how I learned to ride a bike or when my parents first took off my training wheels, but I do remember that my first bike was blue and had silver training wheels. It also had the type of brakes where you simply pushed the pedals in the opposite direction to stop. It was a big change for me when I got my first ten speed bike and had to brake with my hands!

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Kristen • May 14, 2008 at 9:09 pm

I remember it perfectly. I was just an anklebiter, and I went to Cadillac, MI, for a vacation with my parents, and of COURSE, I brought my bike — a shiny silver Schwinn with a sparkly red seat. I still used training wheels at that time, and had NO desire to try riding without them. My parents had a different idea, and, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to resist getting on my bike while on vacation, they “forgot” my training wheels at home and got me on my bike without them. I’m still not great at riding, but I enjoy it, even without training wheels!

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Amy • May 14, 2008 at 9:14 pm

I remember getting my first two wheeler for my 6th bday. It was a hand me down from some relative. It was blue and had a big white banana seat. I remember practicing a lot in my aunt and uncle’s long drive way. Learning to use the brakes was a challenge. I remember riding into a number of bushes:)!

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Trisha • May 14, 2008 at 9:21 pm

I remember when I rode my bike through a ditch and up the other side. I didnt make it to the top and rolled backwards. My rear wheel hit a little bridge, flipped me backward and I landed on my back and it knocked the breath out of me. Another time, my sister turned in front of me and I slammed inot her. I hit the asphalt and busted my head open, it knocked me out. I woke up to her screaming on the side of the road to get up b/c a car was coming. Then she ran to get my dad and I stumbled after her. My dad swooped me into his arms and I passed out AGAIN. Yup, had a concussion. I really want a bike.:-)

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budicca • May 14, 2008 at 9:27 pm

I remember a blue and white bicycle with a white basket in front, a banana seat, tall u-shaped handle bars, and training wheels. I rode with my parents and older brother since before my memories begin. My mother decided it was high time to drop the extra set of wheels, and spent a couple evenings with me after dinner until I got the hang of balancing on just two. More memorable was teaching my bikeless best-friend at 16 how to ride. I wasn’t a good teacher, impatient, and full of laughter. She gave up on my pathetic teaching attempts when I suggested my little brother’s tricycle instead.

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Virginia • May 14, 2008 at 9:29 pm

I think I was a lot older than most kids when I learned to ride a bike. I would say I was between 11-12 years old. Back then, along with now, I struggled with my weight so the balancing act of a bike was interesting. The bike I learned on was blue with a big white seat and a basket on each side of the back wheel. Not a very cool looking bike but it worked for its purpose. Well, after a few successful attempts on grass I decided to ride down our road which was rocky which definitely made it titled appropriately since it was called the “Hardscrabble” road. I made it up the road okay but the way down was a different story. I lost control of the bike and used my hands to break my fall. Needless to say I was upset as I made my way back home. I lived with my aunt and uncle and it was my aunt that greeted me when I got home. I explained what happened and she looked at me and said “We know what really broke your fall”. I looked down at my shirt–dirt covering my developed breasts. They had, like my aunt said, broke my fall since they reached the ground first. Did I mentioned that I when I got my first bra it wasn’t a training bra but a “B” cup? So, my experience with learning to ride a bike also came with learning that sometimes it is not just hands that can break (or in this case cushion) your fall. I haven’t been on a bike in years and wonder if I will have the same experience again or will the saying about riding a bike be true? Learning to ride a bike the first time was interesting and mixed with pain but there are a lot of experiences that are like that in life.

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Kim • May 14, 2008 at 9:46 pm

I can’t remember the exact moment I learned how to ride a bike, but I do remember spending hours upon hours as a child riding all over our neighborhood. It was true freedom. :)

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Anna • May 14, 2008 at 9:50 pm

I have a pretty fuzzy memory of how I actually learned to ride a bike … something about a giant (well, it seemed giant then) hill and going down it with no idea how to use the brakes …

But I do remember waking up on my birthday and seeing my first ever bike next to the bed – it was pink with streamers and a banana seat and everything! I was so thrilled! How did you learn how to ride a bike??

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Christy • May 14, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Hi, PQ, I started reading your blog a few months ago, but this is my first comment. I’m 28 years old next week, and I never learned to ride a bike! When my mom tried to teach me, I always leapt off the bicycle whenever I realized she wasn’t holding on. After one afternoon of failed attempts, she was frustrated and never encouraged me to try again. And I was frankly relieved that I could be left alone to read my Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High books in peace! Lately, I have been considering learning to ride because I’m trying to go green, and I could use a bike to go to the store and to the gym.

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Lolabolt • May 14, 2008 at 9:59 pm

My dad taught me how to ride a bike when I was 5 years old in the parking lot of a local church. It was spring and the weather was still verrrrryyy chilly (I live in Pittsburgh and, just for the record, it is currently like 50 and raining. Hard.) Anyway, I had gotten the bike for my birthday in March and couldn’t wait to learn how to ride it without the training wheels – the kids on my block were good for teasing me over the training wheels.

In preparation, my dad LAYERED me in clothing. I had on a few pairs of sweat pants, sweat shirts, a winter jacket, knee pads, elbow pads and a helmet. We got to the church and he instantly removed my training wheels. I got ready, he gave me a push and there I went. Well, naturally, I fell, but the padding/helmet made the falls not hurt very much. Many pushes (and falls) later, I was able to ride me sweeeeet pink bike (with streamers on the handle bars!) with the neighborhood kids sans training wheels / snarky baby remarks.

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Amanda • May 14, 2008 at 10:07 pm

My first bike was yellow and I called it “Lemon Drop.” I was probably 5 or 6 years old when I learned to ride it. My house was on top of a huge hill and my driveway was very steep. My older cousin who lived across the road came over and wanted to help me learn to ride. He got me on the bike and positioned me at the top of the driveay and pushed! It is a miracle I did not die that day, but I did learn to ride my bike. Unfortunately, my “How to learned to swim” story is eerily similar.

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ClinicQueen • May 14, 2008 at 10:11 pm

My first thoughts about bikes are from a classic Simpsons episode when “Michael Jackson” showed up. He sang a song to Lisa with the lyrics, “The training wheels come off your bike, you start to notice boys you like…” Unfortunately, my biking skills matured late – I had noticed many a boy by the time I was two-wheelin’!

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Anneke S • May 14, 2008 at 10:16 pm

My first big kid bicycle was a red convertable (from boys to girls style) with a small seat. Unlike my sister’s bicycle, my dad didn’t have anything to hang on to on the bike while running alongside of me. So he hung on to me around the back of my neck with one hand. It got old real fast, so I decided I needed to learn how to ride on my own. I remember being so proud when I was able to go from one side of the cul-de-sac to the other by myself.

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MizAngie • May 14, 2008 at 10:27 pm

My mother and daddy took turns holding the heavy bike upright as I tried to learn to ride in the first grade. Back then bikes had fenders and they were verrrry heavy. As soon as they let go I would fall/jump off the seat. It was my older sister’s bike so when I fell off the seat I straddled the too-high bar and hurt my “self” very badly. I was bruised from my thighs to my bellybutton. In frustration I gave up. Later, in the third grade, my mother came home with a more modern bike from Sears. It was bee-yoo-”tea”-ful! I cried because I couldn’t ride the dern thang. As I pouted in my front yard I watched six little boys, who together shared the equivalent of one brain and had been forbidden to come into our yard after caught shoving something up the cat’s butt, ride their bikes recklessly into the open sewer ditch (it was a looong time ago in a rural community)and having a blast. I thought, “If those kids can ride I oughta be able to do it!” So I picked up my shiny new bike and rode off, just like that!

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Skinny Guy • May 14, 2008 at 11:00 pm

There wasn’t anything at all memorable about how I learned to ride. My grandfather did the whole “hold on to the back of the bike and let go while I wasn’t looking” thing, and there was no looking back after that.

Sadly, I haven’t been on a bike for about 25 years although that would definitely change if I won!

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Zandria • May 14, 2008 at 11:06 pm

My dad taught me how to ride a bike by promising not to leg go, and then letting go! (But I suspect that’s how most kids learn, so I guess it wasn’t too traumatic.) I haven’t ridden a bike in years though, and I haven’t OWNED one since I was about 12. I really want to start riding again!!! :)

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Jen • May 14, 2008 at 11:08 pm

I learned to ride in the usual dad-tricks-me sort of way. But it took a while before I could get on my bike by myself on flat ground. Before that, I had to go to a spot in my yard that had a little hill to get on. I liked riding around in my yard better than just about anything for a long time. I had a pink bike with a sissy bar and a banana seat and the basket in the front, very femme.

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Debra Womack • May 14, 2008 at 11:09 pm

I only vaguely remember learning to ride a bike – it was over 32 years ago.

I was about 5 and the bike I had was red. It had solid rubber wheels (they can’t go flat!) and training wheels. Some In Charge Adult took off the training wheels, held the back of the seat, and ran with me “for a while”. Actually they ran with me for about 10 feet. I think they were too out of shape to keep up.

About a half block later, once I realized they had let go of the back of the seat, I fell.

I did manage to get back on the thing and ride some more. I even got good enough to ride with no hands for blocks on end.

I wouldn’t try that now, though. :)

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Barbara Ellingsen • May 14, 2008 at 11:15 pm

I learned to ride a bike at the age of 6, without the help of anyone, and no training wheels. My great-grandfather fixed up an old bicycle that he found at the curb, and gave it to me. I took it out to the street (there were no sidewalks in our neighborhood back then) and just kept trying over and over until I finally figured it out. It took many hours and many scrapes on my knees, but once I got the hang of it, there was no stopping me!

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Bethama • May 14, 2008 at 11:42 pm

Ah, bike riding. For my brothers and me, the drill was to shlep us to our elementary school day after day and set us loose upon the blacktop. Good times. Lots of boo-boos. As a child, I never really took to bike riding; after all, I really only rode around the block, and that got old fast. Once I outgrew my childhood bike, I pretty much gave it up.

It wasn’t until I got to Japan that I unearthed the wonder that is Riding for Practical Purposes. Costs for train and bus fare added up darn quick, and I had heard that there was a pretty direct route from my off-campus dorm to my college, so buying a used bike seemed like a good deal in the long run. My goodness – bitter cold and a steep incline didn’t stop me from riding in every single chance I got. I used to get depressed when it rained too hard to brush it off with a parka.

I’m back in Japan now, and finally got myself another bicycle… oh, how I look forward to getting desperately lost this weekend.

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Patty • May 14, 2008 at 11:52 pm

I learned to ride a bike about 5 years old in my front yard. I remember my mom pushing me and saying “pedal, pedal” and having lots of falls at first. It didn’t take long for me to love my bike. I had the banana seat and the fancy handlebars with string coming out of them. I still love bikes and get on my mountain bike from time to time to ride trails. I would love to be entered into the new bike contest!!

BTW, just bought your book so hopefully some $ is coming your way from your cut. Have a good week.

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JS • May 14, 2008 at 11:58 pm

My first bike was a tricycle. I rode it until I was 7 years old.Then I decided I wanted the new Disney Jasmine bike with lotus petals in the spokes. It had training wheels and eventually I learned to balance upright without them. The only thing I was disappointed with was the fact that I didn’t get pretty tassles like my cousin’s bike did. She had a barbie girl bike and I was so envious. I feel the worst for my brother though, he didn’t get any of those things. He’s now almost an adult, and he hasn’t gotten back on a bike since. :/

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Joyful1 • May 15, 2008 at 12:17 am

I learned to ride a bike at a young age but it was the bike I got while in middle school I remember best. In the 8th grade I sold the most raffle tickets to the East Middle School Car Wash winning a $300 gift certificate to a store in town the Trading Post. I had big plans for the money as I was going to use it to get a T.V. for my bedroom. Surely my mom and dad would cave with their no T.V. in bedrooms rule if I “won it”. Plus, clearly it was a win-win as once I had my own television they would never have to sit through another episode of 90210, Blossom, or Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper!

On the day I got the gift certificate I begged my dad to take me to the store. He agreed to do so after dinner and called for directions. I remember going to my room before we left and clearing a place on my dresser for my new T.V. It wasn’t until we arrived in the parking lot that I learned the store I had won the gift certificate to was not named the Trading Post but rather Trading Post Sports. Yep, not a T.V. was to be found, but rather racks of bikes and other sporting goods! Not exactly the dream of this 13 year old overweight, couch potato!! Nevertheless, I left the Trading Post that evening with a new teal 10-speed bicycle.

I wish I could say I got lots of use out of my bike, but the truth is except for occasional trips around the block, it collected dust in the garage while I packed on the pounds. I think my bike was finally sold in a yard sale while I was in college as I had “out grown” it (Code4: was to fat for). Today at 29 I can’t help but think about the hours wasted watching television over the years rather than living. In saying this, I’m thankful it is never to late to make a change and enjoy a good bike ride…

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Suzie • May 15, 2008 at 12:31 am

Oh, heck yes I want a yellow tea bike!

I learned to ride on a purple sparkly stingray-and yes, with a banana seat-and those ape hanger handle bars. I remember crashing into trash cans and losing the skin off my knees and elbows. Those were the days…

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courtney • May 15, 2008 at 1:33 am

funny bc i was babysitting this evening for two 7 year old twins who were zooming around the neighborhood on their bikes, I fondly remembered how much I used to LOVE bikeriding. Tonight I really wished I was right there w/the boys riding up the hill & zooming back down peddling fast! Oh, to be young again! :)

I would love the bike … I can’t recall how I learned to ride my bike but I do know it had a banana seat and streamers coming out of the handle bars. maybe a bell too? clingcling.

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PurpleGirl • May 15, 2008 at 1:47 am

All I really remember about my first bike was that it had pink on it. I remember the street I learned to ride it on; I don’t remember if it was a birthday or Christmas present, or if it was a “just because”. I do remember it had training wheels …. which my father wouldn’t put on until I could ride it without them. I was terrified! I remember wobbling, trying to keep my balance, and I have a crystal-clear mental image of the street in front of me at the moment my dad let go of the back of the bike seat.

Strangely, I don’t remember what happened next. I don’t know if I crashed, or fell over, or anything. Maybe I’ll call tomorrow and ask my mom. I do remember that eventually the training wheels were put on, although one of them was bent funny, so it didn’t really hold the bike up anyway!

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Marla • May 15, 2008 at 6:05 am

I learned the classic way – from tricycle to training wheels to my poor father running alongside swearing he wouldn’t let go. I really really really wanted a banana seat, but back in the day there was some controversy about whether they were safe. Because kids tended to ride double on them. So, lacking a banana seat, we rode double on the handlebars, the mudguard, etc. Yeah, much safer!

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Gina • May 15, 2008 at 6:47 am

Wow, this was great timing on my part. I found you on Soul Sisters and Half of Me is such a great name, I had to check things out.

I don’t remember learning how to ride a bike. I barely remember a purple banana seat with streamers on the handle bars. I do remember one summer living on the thing with a couple of friends. One night we were on our way home and decided to go a different way. Woo Wee, what a rush, the twists and turns. Great night. Of course, when I drive on the same road now, 20+ years later, I can hardly believe I was so daring (or stupid, your call).

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Melissa • May 15, 2008 at 6:47 am

I learned with red training wheels on my strawberry shortcake bike. It had long rainbow tassels on the handlebars that used to brunsh along my legs when I rode. I crashed into a brick mailbox one day and totalled the bike. I still have a 2 inch scar on my knee.

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Kristina • May 15, 2008 at 7:25 am

I learned how to ride on a purple and white Murray bike with rainbows on the chain cover. My father gave me a big push and off I went. I loved riding that bike more than anything.

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Lauren Ware • May 15, 2008 at 7:29 am

Well, I learned to ride a two-wheeler after I won one in a contest! Remember in the 1970s when you could enter the drawing contest on the back of the Rice Krispies box? I drew Snap, Crackle, and Pop, and won first prize in my age group. I was seven years old. I remember my friend’s mom said my mom should “make” me get the ten-speed because it was more expensive, but my mom let me pick out my own bike. It was beautiful – a pink Schwinn with a banana seat covered in flowers and streamers flowing from the handlebars. Motivation! I learned how to ride the afternoon I brought it home, with my dad holding the back of the seat to balance me, then letting go. I was very proud. I no longer have the bike (we gave it to a cousin who later sold it at a garage sale) but I have the memory, and a photo of me standing proudly next to it.

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beachreader • May 15, 2008 at 7:30 am

I learned to ride a bike when I was six. I wanted a bike so bad and my best friend next door got one with a big banana seat for her b-day, about a month before mine. I was so envious! It was given to her by a single guy, friend of the family named Charlie. Well, being as my mom was single and poor I knew I’d never get a brand new beautiful bike like that, but it didn’t stop me from wishin (probably out loud!). Fast forward to my b-day and what do you think I got?? Yep, a brand new banana seat bike – from Charlie. He eventually married, had kids of his own and actually moved in the neighborhood. What a great guy.

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Lindz • May 15, 2008 at 7:35 am

I’ll never forget my first bike. Same as the above poster, I learned on my Strawberry Shortcake bike. Pink & White w/the long tassels. We lived in an apartment complex & my dad took me to the parking lot right outside our door. We started w/the training wheels, daddy jogging by my side. But braking was still a foreign concept to me so I remember hitting a few curbs initially. Oh, & a neighbor’s car. (sorry!) Once those came off, though, it was on! I’d go wizzing around our block as fast as I could. Unfortunately, we had a lot of stray cats & I was headed right towards one. I had a bike, she had claws. I swerved first. Right into this huge bush, containing a bee hive. :( Ugh, scraped knee, elbows, bee stings. It was a nightmare. But I kept riding. Eventually.

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Nicole • May 15, 2008 at 7:38 am

Hmm, for the possibility of a bike… hope my luck parallels your brother’s. I learned to bike when I was four, I remember it and how terrifying it was to be let go. Bikes were an almost daily part of my life as I got older. Then I moved to Los Angeles -not a bike friendly place however I went to a college in a town where everyone got around on bikes. Now I don’t bike much any more but want to get back into it as I really do love the freedom of being out on a bike.

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Pam • May 15, 2008 at 8:01 am

I remember my Dad teaching me at about the age of 5 or 6 when we lived in New Hyde Park, NY. We soon moved to Syosset, NY and I rode my bike a lot with friends. How cool were stingray bikes with banana seats? And I remember getting a 3-speed for Christmas one year – very cool. One year my husband gave me a bike for Christmas. Of course I had to go out and ride it right away – brought me right back to 6th grade.

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Pamela • May 15, 2008 at 8:14 am

I am 48 years old and just learned to ride a bike about a year and a half ago. I was something of a book worm as a child and didn’t learn then. As I got older, I wanted to be able to ride, but didn’t have a bike and frankly didn’t think I’d ever be able to learn. A very patient man who is very much into bike riding, spent days (okay, weeks) with me in my driveway, first holding onto the back, then letting me go. I’m still not so good with the gears and stationary objects seem to be like a magnet for me, but I do ride now.

Love your blog and your story!

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Dyan • May 15, 2008 at 9:12 am

Learned to ride a bike by myself!!! Yeah baby! I was already like 4 feet tall when I was 7 years old, so I could steady myself. Schwinn boys bike with a banana seat the big tall loopy metal bar in the back. I rocked it out with the cards in the spokes too.

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caerphilly • May 15, 2008 at 9:25 am

This isn’t about how I learned to ride a bike, but how my friend down the street did. I first went wobbling down a path on a pastel two-wheeler at around seven; we lived on a farm then and I had grown up riding horses first. Memory is vague, but my parents seem to have skipped over the tricycle phase, tossed me onto a regular girl’s bike, and pushed.

Fastforward almost two decades, when I’m living in DC and getting around on a ten-ton oldschool Schwinn from craigslist. I must have made some offhand comment about it at my night job because a friend – I shall call him Oscar – revealed, somewhat mumblingly, that at 21 golden years of age he had never ridden a bike. I reeled. “But…” I said, mind casting about for the vocabulary to approach such a huge chasm of life experience, “but, how do you get around??” He shrugged. “I metro. And walk.” We looked down at his ancient boots, huge heavy black leather things that addded a couple inches to his 5’3″ frame but must have weighed half a stone each.

The next week we were out in the school playground across the street, with my bike and a few devoutly whispered prayers.

We started out trying to balance- Oscar would perch nervously on the bike, while I braced it, until he was used to the feeling of sitting on this very foreign object. Then I’d let go and jump out of the way and yell, “Okay, go!” Not too surprisingly, this didn’t work out. After a few tumbles, we hit on a more time-honored method: he’d stand on the pedals, push off, and go.

There were some close calls- I think once he almost ran me over as I hovered nearby planning to catch him – but whether it was from innate talent or just having (slightly) longer legs than a 7-year-old, Oscar learned quickly. As twilight moved in, an older man had brought his dog over to the grassy part of the playground to throw a ball around. After a while, they slowed and stopped, and sat watching Oscar as he made big uneven loops on the bike around the parking lot. As they left, a few minutes before we called it quits, he waved and called out, “Nice work!”

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Alisha • May 15, 2008 at 9:30 am

Growing up in the middle of nowhere, my bike was freedom incarnate. I remember the excitement of my first 3 wheeler (which I promptly ran my thumb over with), and later a birthday present from my dad: a pretty pink and white and purple bike with tassles and a horn (and training wheels of course).

I was a tomboy from birth, and after I mastered the basics of my “starter bike” I was eager for more. I had my dad take off the training wheels and give me a starting push. I remember excitement and feeling like I was on top of the world…until I got cocky and rammed into a tree (brakes were the last thing on my mind). I hopped right back on and never really looked back. Some of my favorite memories from growing up center around a long list of bikes I owned, my friends, and our crazy summer adventures.

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James Womack • May 15, 2008 at 9:32 am

My first bike (at age 5) didn’t keep the training wheels for very long, maybe a few weeks. My dad held onto my shoulders to steady me those first few tries, but I soon mastered it. Getting on the bike required a trip to the back porch, standing on the bottom step and turning the pedals to just the right position before getting on. Pretty soon I was tearing around the neighborhood, joyous in my newfound freedom. I spent most of the next ten years on my bike, sometimes calling my mom after dark to come get me from some interesting place thirty miles away. Suburban Atlanta in the 1960s was a great place for a kid to ride a bike!

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Darlene • May 15, 2008 at 9:45 am

My bike story is similar to many others as I also had a dad that was holding onto my bike and running behind me. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I tried and tried. I had to watch while my best friend across the street was “free wheeling” all over the neighborhood. When I asked Erica one Saturday how she did IT – riding a 2 wheeler – she said, just move the handlebars left and right really fast. I must have looked like an idiot but wouldn’t you know I eventually got my balance and did it that same day. Little did she know that it would also lead to showing off and going “no hands” into a bush in the front yard, head over handlebars and a sprained ankle! Alas, I am happy that I learned because I’d look really silly riding the trails with training wheels on!

My first bike? My parents surprised me at my 7th birthday party with a purple bike, cute white basket, ringer on the right and streamers from both handlebars and STONE tires. YES, I’m absolutely serious. It had these hard tires on it, not the normal kind we have now. It was really hard to ride, but I was excited because it was mine.

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Ally • May 15, 2008 at 9:56 am

I DEFINITELY remember learning to ride a bike. It was a red Schwinn with a Strawberry Shortcake banana seat and my dad sent me down a HILL after teaching me the basic mechanics and screamed BRAKE! BRAKE! at me as a slammed into the curb. I think everyone within a half-mile radius of our house/crash site came out to see what had happened. But I learned how to ride a bike, and more importantly, how to brake.

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Kristen • May 15, 2008 at 9:58 am

I love to tell this story.

My mom said I always liked to keep up with my older brother and sister. They got new bikes when I was 3 and a half, so my dad said he would put training wheels on my sister’s old bike for me. My dad was late getting home from work, and apparently I was very impatient. Mom said she looked out the window and I was riding the two-wheeler without the training-wheels! I got all the way to the end of the block before I realized that I didn’t know how to turn. I fell down and walked the bike back home. I have loved to ride ever since.

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Jaime • May 15, 2008 at 10:47 am

So, I had learned to bike when I was younger but hadn’t ridden for YEARS until the summer of 2007. At that time, after running a couple of half-marathons, I decided that it was time to start again because I needed a break from running. So, I bought a beautiful several thousand dollar pale green bike with clipless pedals (which I had never used before), a helmet, cycling shoes, a jersey, and shorts. Five seconds after getting on the bike it toppled over on me ripping up my right leg, putting gravel through one of my fingernails, tearing up my new clothes and shoes, and scraping up the paint job on the bike. Lesson #1: It’s not a good idea to clip into your pedals while the bike is stationary!!! But now I figured I couldn’t return the bike, so I kept going…

I took off my cycling shoes and put my sandals on to take a ride around the parking lot, not too bad…

Next, I changed back into my cycling shoes and took the bike over to a nice paved 5-mile loop and clipped in (sort of) while the bike was moving. 2 miles later I encountered a hill – and realized I didn’t know how to shift gears in order to ascend the hill. Luckily there was a fence that I was able to grab so that I could get myself off of my bike and walk it up the hill. Lesson #2: Learn what the gears are for and use them!

Okay, after getting up the hill I got back on the bike and continued riding. After 3 more miles I realized that I was going to have to go back downhill (uh-oh). So, I got myself all prepared for a huge spill when suddenly I was riding freely down the hill without a care in the world!

I got back to where my car was and debated a second lap around the loop. The first one hadn’t been so bad I though. At this point I encountered a sign that told me to stop and walk my bike. But I figured that there was no one around, so I would just ride on. But, I had unclipped from my pedals to come down the hill and at this point my feet slipped off of them. I suddenly all knowledge of how to steer or break my bike and drove it straight into a parking meter. Lesson #3: Read the signs and follow their instructions!

The next day I ended up getting x-rays of my left clavicle. Luckily it wasn’t broken and my spirits also recovered. Lesson #4: Cycling can be fun.

So, after many more falls, cuts, bruises, and scrapes to myself and my beautiful bike, we’re now a good pair. I don’t want to give her up, but I’d love to win this bike for my little sister who struggles with her weight as I’d like for her to find the joy that I (eventually) found in cycling.

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Hastings • May 15, 2008 at 11:11 am

I did the same thing as so many with my dad running along behind. Learning to ride was never my problem, it was learning to stop that was the issue. I learned to ride at 5, stopping didn’t occur until I was closer to 8. My method previous to that was to aim the bike across the front lawn, let it slow down and jump off. Our front porch had a permanent divot where the bike kept crashing in to it.

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Ginger • May 15, 2008 at 11:18 am

I can’t even remember how young I was when I learned to ride a bike, but I do remember the rough road we lived on (tar that bubbled in the summer) and a pink bike with a white banana seat. I don’t remember a lot of falls or spills, but I can remember my dad holding onto the little chrome loop at the back of the seat, running along beside me.

I wasn’t allowed off our street when I was a kid because of the “dangerous” road it met up with — the kind of road that I know ride on all the time knowing that cars have to treat me like a vehicle. I can’t imagine not knowing how to ride and I’m really trying to convince my 9 year old son that he MUST learn to ride in order to be a happy adult! :)

Please enter me!

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Charlie • May 15, 2008 at 11:21 am

My memory is kind of hazy, but at some point I graduated from riding a bigwheel to a bicycle with training wheels. I do remember the feeling of freedom that riding a bike brought. I have fond memories of my bike with a banana seat and a bell on the handlebars. I loved riding my bike around the local college campus. There were sidewalks that went on forever.

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hopefulloser • May 15, 2008 at 11:27 am

I’m not sure what my age was but I vividly remember the pink bike my dad had make me pieced together from other found bikes and previously blue since being used as my brother’s bike. We painted it pink and added a white basket with multi-colored flowers. I had trouble being able to stay up on the bike for any amount of time after my parents let go. One day a friend of my mother’s came over and was critical of the fact that I couldn’t ride, I just blurted out that I could already (total lie). I was angry, I just pulled my bike up and pressed on the pedal and the bike felt so different with nobody holding on. I knew I had done it and could barely believe it. Now I desperately need a bike to ride my first triathlon. Channeling the luck of your brother :-)

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liz • May 15, 2008 at 11:51 am

I was a very unathletic child but took right to riding a bike. I had a beautiful teal bicycle which my dad pushed me around on for a while until I just went. I didn’t ever have training wheels. I vividly remember riding my mom’s big “English Racer” bike down the sidewalk when I was way to small to be riding it and a neighbor boy yelled out “hot snot!” That was pretty shocking to me as I wasn’t allowed to say snot (or fart). This was back in the sixties — times have changed.

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Peggasus • May 15, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Wow, I don’t remember when I first learned to ride, it was a long time ago!

But I remember when my second son did. I had gone to New Jersey from the Chicago suburbs (where we lived at the time) for five days to visit and help my sister-in-law who was on doctor ordered bed rest while awaiting the birth of my twin nieces.

He told my husband that he wanted to surprise me when I returned by learning how to ride his bike, no more training wheels. My husband said you never saw a kid try harder at anything, he just kept plugging away at it until he did it, falling time and time again.

And when I got back home he said, “Mommy, I want to show you something!” I’ll never forget the look on his face as he pedaled down the sidewalk, so proud of what he had done, his skinny little legs pumping furiously. He was 3 1/2 years old.

Now he is 16 1/2 and driving, but he still does everything with that same drive and determination.

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Berit Maxwell • May 15, 2008 at 12:16 pm

Santa surprised me on Christmas morning with a sparkly green bike that had tassles hanging from the end of the handle bars. It was also equipped with a banana seat and a white basket. The basket was filled with things like a new Bobby Sherman record! I was in heaven until I road it. Like some other posters…I took off on my bike pretty easily until it came time to stop. I crashed into a bush full of Christmas lights, but it was a Merry Christmas indeed. One Christmas I will always treasure.

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Dawn • May 15, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Wow! I love all the comments and stories. I vaguely remember learning to ride. I just remember being surprised that no one was holding my bike up.

But I can tell you about re-learning. I was a little afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it or that I wouldn’t stick with it so I didn’t want to spend a huge chunk out of the family budget. I went and bought an inexpensive mountain bike. I could barely even straddle it in the store. I was so nervous and embarassed. My son checked it out for me and as soon as we got outside, he hopped on, rode it all over the parking lot and ran it through all the gears.

Watching him made me want that confidence and freedom! I carefully climbed on the bike and wobbled a bit and did a timid little lap around the parking lot. Suddenly I felt like a little kid again!! It’s only taken a few weeks and while I’m not quite ready to coast down the hill with no hands….I’m feeling more and more comfortable and am actually considering biking to work. The road bike would be perfect!!!! I have a HUGE hill to climb and rumor has it the mountain bike might kill me. :-)

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Laura • May 15, 2008 at 12:49 pm

I’m 38 and my mom still tells the story of how I learned to ride a bike. Why? I fell off so many times…determined to do it on my own…I earned 24 bruises (counted) and from that day forward she knew tenacity was a big part of who I am.

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Stacey • May 15, 2008 at 12:58 pm

I want to win the bike for my dad, so I’m going to tell you a bike story about *him*! He’s a great storyteller (I’m not) so I can’t do it justice – but to this day l make him tell me this story and never fail to fall over laughing.

One summer, my grandparents and dad took me and my sister camping. I was a teenager and my sister was still very young. My parents had separated, and Dad was newly back ‘on the market’. We arrived at our campsite early in the evening, and I immediately took off on my bike to explore. My grandparents took my sister (and the car) to go get some food. Dad needed to make a phone call and had to get to the other side of the campground a few miles away. So, he hops on my sister’s bike (bright pink My Little Pony theme, complete with pink basket and streamers!) and crosses his fingers that no one will see him. He makes it to the phone with no incident and is hauling butt on his way back. He makes it almost to our camper when he looks up and sees a convertible full of girls giggling at him. He was a big guy, and he says he looked like a bear in the circus riding a tricycle when he was hunched over and balancing on that tiny pink bike. Completely embarrassed, he tried to take a shortcut through the grass to our camper. It was dark by then, and he didn’t see the cement parking stop until he hit it – the bike stopped, but he kept going right over the streaming handlebars until he landed on his tush. He abandoned the bike where it was and slunk back to our camper where he hid until the girls had left, laughing hysterically, in their car. Poor Dad!

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Burton Brown • May 15, 2008 at 1:31 pm

I don’t remember…I’ll have to ask my Mom and Dad about that…they may remember…so long ago…

I do remember learning to ride “no-hands!”….especially one particular attempt…10 speed Huffy…you know…top brand…super light!…high end performance racer!…coasting down a hill heading towards my home…country road…rare cars…

…release one hand…then the other…whoa..whoa…oh ya…I can do this…LOOK MA! NO HANDS!! The next thing I remember is tumbling over the handlebars because somehow, through a shift in the time/space continuum…a ditch suddenly appeared in front of me…and the front tire of my bike decided to ride in the ditch instead of the road…..ugh…I hope no one was watching…I’ll limp home from here…

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Sheena • May 15, 2008 at 1:55 pm

I only vaguely remember learning to ride a bike, but moreso I remember why I had to learn. My brother and some neighborhood friends would alway ride their bikes down a long hill in the nieghborhood. It was not a particularly long street so walking the ditance was no problem, except for the presence of the hautned house. On the street was a house of grey stone with dead trees in the front. Never did we see anyone enter or leave the house. But aside from the general eeriness of the house, everyon once in a while we would notice a difference in teh appearance, such as blinds suddenly being open in one of the windows. So you had to speed past teh house on your bike so that the ghosts of teh house would not get you. And that’s why I desperately had to learn to ride a bike.

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Heather • May 15, 2008 at 2:03 pm

I learned how to ride a bike in the traditional way– lots of scabs and bruises and falling but still wanting to be like by older siblings and have the freedom the bike provides. I was never on the bike too much as a kid though– I was more likely to be home reading. The idea of freedom didn’t quite compensate for the fact that I’d easily be left in the dust of the other children.

So who would have thought that as an adult, I love riding bikes and have completed a 104 mile bike ride?

I guess knowledge is power… even if it takes you a while to get around to using it.

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Deanna • May 15, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Hi there. I learned how to ride a bike mostly in my grandparent’s cul-de-sac with my dad’s assistance. I don;t remember too much about it other than falling off ALOT since I (STILL) have the worst balance ever. And I remember the first time I realized I was riding by myself and with no training wheels and how excited I was.

I also ran into a boulder-type-rock nose first while still learning how to operate the brakes… I still have a bump on my nose from smashing it onto my face as a child! :)

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Jodi • May 15, 2008 at 2:26 pm

My first cycling love was my red tricycle, but I learned how to ride on a spiffy pink Schwinn with a banana seat. My wonderful father taught me to ride by running alongside me, steadying me with one hand until I found my balance.

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Megan • May 15, 2008 at 2:30 pm

I learned how to ride a bike with training wheels and by watching my older brothers and sisters. I never got to be very good at it — I crashed more often than not, and have scars to prove it! I’ve been wanting to really learn how to ride a bike for the past couple of years, but haven’t completely gotten over my fear of getting back on that injury-machine. Plus bikes are expensive and I’m poor :-)

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Opi • May 15, 2008 at 2:32 pm

With training wheels. And then one day the training wheels were replaced by my mom running along behind me. I don’t really remember falling much or getting lots of scrapes and bruises, maybe because those types of things don’t matter when you’re little…

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Jennifer • May 15, 2008 at 2:47 pm

The one thing that sticks out in my mind is riding my brother’s bike for the first time with bare feet. (I’m from Kentucky so insert stupid redneck joke here. . . .)

I have no idea why I didn’t have shoes on but it worked and from that day on I could ride a bike without training wheels!

I really want that bike so pick me, pick me!

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Lib • May 15, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Being a Baptist preacher’s kid, I of course learned to ride a bike in a church parking lot. Lots of me yelling “Don’t you DARE let go” while my sweet preacher daddy promised he wouldn’t until…he did. My first lesson in cycling and trust!

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Moni • May 15, 2008 at 3:02 pm

When I was 6 years old, my mom took me to “Toys R Us” and let me pick out the bike I wanted to learn to ride. I picked a My Little Pony bike that was white with purple streamers and a banana seat. For some reason, no training wheels were available. When we got it put together, she had my brother (age 10) take me out and teach me. He would run behind me “holding” the seat, then when he couldn’t hold on anymore, he’d let go and I’d promptly fall into a bush or hedge or anything fluffy looking. It was fun.

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alison • May 15, 2008 at 3:04 pm

I don’t remember exactly how I first learned to ride a bike, although it was likely done to get a reward. My parents used to reward me for doing things I didn’t want to, for example ‘you can only get your ears pierced if you let the doctor burn your wart off’ you know, that type of thing.

My next memory of riding a bike was when I lived near the beach in CA and bought a ‘beach cruiser.’ I only ended up riding the bike a handfull of times since I was terrified of the traffic on my street.

Now, I would love to win the bike because A) I have a new found committment to fitness and B) there is a (car/truck) traffic-free bike path near where I live where I can ride safely. If I win, there will be no reward required to re-learn how to ride (I don’t have any more skin tags or warts left anyway), learning to ride the bike will be reward itself.

PS – your book is great (as is the blog) I read it in one sitting.

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Tara • May 15, 2008 at 3:30 pm

My parents tried for weeks to get me off the training wheels with no success and then one day my evil brother, yet, family is family and I love him so, started pushing me on my two-wheeler extremely fast and then he just let go and told me to put both feet on the pedals and start pedaling. To my surprise and that of my parents and brother (he clearly could care less if I skidded on my face, which I did in a different bike experience with him chasing me and those darn confusing foot brakes), I started pedaling and miraculously could ride a two-wheeler from there on out.

With your story of Lipton tea and your brother’s bike, it reminded me of those little ceramic animals they would put in the regular Lipton tea boxes. My mom drank a ton-o-tea so we had the whole collection!

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susan • May 15, 2008 at 4:48 pm

So, my bike-learning experience still burns a hole in my memory so strong that I’m surprised that I like to bike ride at all. Training wheels on…training wheels off…on, off, on, off. My Dad grew quite impatient with me – but that was normal. He took me out into the street determined to teach me to ride as he was NOT going to put the training wheels back on. His sure-fire method…Spank me when I fell off. Not a hard spank but a good swat. It was more the embarrasement that made me learn and perhaps a sore butt. A new bike would be handy in this beautiful small town in the middle of Sweden but i’m alas, not eligible. Hopefully my little store will get the Lipton white tea soon. Hey, we just got the green tea so I’m happy. I just thought I’d share my story.

PS: don’t hate my dad… he’s a good dad and I’m a damn good bike rider!

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Tena • May 15, 2008 at 5:00 pm

I went from a big tricycle to a big bike with training wheels. I think I was six or seven. My dad never ran behind me, my mom didn’t even want to know I was on the bike! She always thought I would get myself killed. I mostly had to ride standing up since the bike was so big. The training wheels got pretty bent up from all the bumps on the sidelwalks. Finally, I bent them up myself so I could get up more speed. I lived on my bike every summer. We never could afford a Schwinn so my bikes were always generic. I had a friend that had a yellow 10 speed one year and I really coveted that bike. It would be awsome to finally have a yellow bike…now that I’m 51!! I still ride, too.

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Caley • May 15, 2008 at 5:34 pm

I honestly can’t remember how I learned to ride a bike; it was so long ago that I almost feel like it wasn’t something I ever had to learn so much as just something I always knew how to do. I can’t even recall an amusing bike-related memory to share! Unless you count the time a few years ago when my husband and I were riding bikes and all of a sudden one of his pedals fell off. As in, no longer attached to the bike. I just remember his confused face and him getting off and walking the bike home.

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Erica • May 15, 2008 at 5:49 pm

I have the happiest memories of learning to ride a bike, and love watching the experience on home video. My dad would hold onto the back of the seat and walk/jog as I pedaled. Then, when I hit my groove and wasn’t paying attention, he’d let go (staying right behind me), and eventually I’d realize that I was riding on my own!

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PJC • May 15, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Apparently our house had an unspoken two bike minimum. I had to use that babyish tricycle until my much older sister tired of her bike and my middle sister surrendered the hideous contraption she’d been riding–wide painted blue fenders, squishy whitewall tires and a triangular orange seat that looked like a wedge of cheese. The only thing missing was a red clown nose for the rider.

Dad put the training wheels on but I didn’t need them for long. My friends tooled around on their trendy banana bikes while I pumped away on my antiquated relic.

Sweet freedom accompanied by a dose of ridicule.

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Amber • May 15, 2008 at 6:14 pm

am just about done with the book. so inspiring and laced with wit. i used to be a substitute teacher so little jokes like “i knew less names than a subsitute teacher” were so cute. you just articulate the little things well.

anyway i digress. about the bike:

i think every kid that has an older sibling gets sick of being second to do everything. so as soon as my brother who is a year older than me got his training wheels off, i wanted mine off too. i was four years old and sure i was ready. my dad agreed to help me. hes very old school like “hey why wade in the shallow end when you can be diving” so he ignored my pleas to not let go. he let go nearly immediately and without warning probably 10 times. 10 times i panicked and toppled over. i was mad at my dad and formulated a plan to try on my own. i snuck out of the house in the “middle of the night.” probably like 10 pm and wheeled my bike out to try riding solo. i even tried on the street. the fall i took ten seconds after starting was awful. my palms and knee were skinned and i wanted to cry but somehow the pain motivated me more and i kept trying and trying and learned that night.

on another note i once sold candy in a school contest where the prize was a bike. mine had just gotten stolen so the idea of a replacement loomed large enough to get me to knock on the doors of every house within a 3 mile radius. and what do you know, i won the bike.it was a boy’s bike but whatever- it was a good feeling.

keep up the good work. youre amazing

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MB • May 15, 2008 at 6:28 pm

I have blocked out so many of my childhood memories so I don’t have any clear recollection of how I learned to ride a bike. I have a vague recollection of my older brother (by two years) making fun of my “baby” training wheels until I couldn’t take it anymore so I spent the whole weekend trying to pry off the training wheels with a screwdriver, hammer, lots of bike grease and sweat. When I finally got the “baby” wheels off I then spent hours and hours in our long driveway falling into the bushes until I got the balance thing down and could follow him out into the street. No more “baby” training wheels for me! I do have two distinct bike related memories:

My first big girl bike was a very cool purple Roadrunner bike with a sparkly banana seat and tassels on the handlebars. I thought I was the coolest kid on the block with my fancy Roadrunner … Beep Beep. I don’t remember how old I was when I got this extremely bad ass Roadrunner, I’m guessing I was 7 or 8 years old. Since the first day I got it I would run home from school just to get on that bike and ride around the neighborhood with the other kids.

On on beautiful spring day I rushed home to get on my Roadrunner and just as I was about the pedal away my mother rushed out the door in a panic to tell me to hurry up and hide my bike in the basement because the social worker was there for a surprise visit. I pleaded and cried but she just gave me *that look* and said “don’t argue with me just do it” through gritted teeth.

Apparently if you were on welfare you’re not supposed to be able to afford a bike for your kids so I had to sneak it down the basement and look longingly at all the other kids zooming up and down the street on their bikes while I sat in the house being grilled by a stupid social worker who didn’t want kids to ride bikes. By the time the social worker left it was too dark to go out and I’m sure I pouted and cried until it was time to go to bed. I was so mad at my mother for keeping me away from my Roadrunner and an afternoon of bike riding.

My second memory involves more physical than emotional pain. I had long since grown out of my Roadrunner and was riding a kick ass bright blue 10-speed by now (I don’t remember the brand name but think it it might have been a Schwinn). It was the sturdier boy kind that hurt when you stopped and gave every girl a case of painful camel toe but I loved it. In those days, everyone knew that the boys bikes were better than the girlie kind with the lower, less painful, bar. I was determined to learn how to ride with no hands after watching all the older kids on the street doing it so I kept practicing and practicing and finally mastered the art of keeping my balance by moving my ass and throwing my hands in the air … weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee … I can ride with no hands … look Ma … weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. I felt like I was flying. I rode my bike with no hands every time I had the opportunity to coast and absolutely loved it.

I would show off my no hands bike riding skills to anyone who would watch until the day I went to my aunt’s house and tried to do my no hands trick down her street. My aunt lived on a very steep hill and I loved flying at high speeds down that hill and now wanted to do it with no hands. I started off like a superstar bike rider with a smile plastered on my face until … my front tire hit a rock in the road and I tumbled face first and kept tumbling until I landed in a heap in the middle of the street next to my bike with a mangled tire. I had a serious case of road road rash on my face, arms and legs and I couldn’t even ride my bike back home. OUCH! Not only did I have to pick out the asphalt from my chin, elbows and knees but my pride was bruised beyond repair. I’m pretty sure that is the last time I did my no hands trick.

If I’m lucky enough win this awesome yellow Fuji bike I promise hold onto it with both hands.

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Jennifer • May 15, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Well, I so wish I could offer something a bit more original…but I too learned how to ride with my dad running beside me, down the middle of our street. I can pump it up a bit by offering this little tidbit. The bike was blue, but I wanted it red. So my dad helped me to paint it myself. With the careful focus of an eight year old, I painted the entire thing, frame, tires, spokes and seat a lovely shade of red. The paint was, I think, semi-gloss. I can still remember the texture of those handlebars!

j

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bloomie • May 15, 2008 at 7:11 pm

I lovingly say that I don’t know how to ride a bike b/c my parents don’t love me as much as my 2 older siblings. This is only partially true. I’m the youngest and while I am loved, I also got the shaft (and admittedly some good stuff) some of the times when it came to parental responsibility.

Oh, teach her how to ride a bike. But we’ve already done that twice by now. This is how I imagine the conversation went with my parents.

Now I live in Brooklyn and want to learn to ride so badly. A cute new bike would be great inspiration.

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Jennifer • May 15, 2008 at 7:12 pm

My mother was sick most of my childhood, in and out of hospitals. My father, when not at a hospital with my mother, was a workaholic. My elderly neighbors, lovely people in their 70s, helped raise my sister and I.

For my birthday, I was given a sweet pink bike with a little bell. My neighbors taught me how to ride. Can you imagine an elderly couple trying to keep up with a seven year old on a bike? I wanted to give up, since I thought it was too hard, but they encouraged me to keep at it and I finally learned, probably after a week of failure.

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america • May 15, 2008 at 8:16 pm

My parents didn’t have a lot of money when I was little, so my first bike was a silver hand-me-down that was soooo for a boy! We lived near a school with a GIANORMOUS grass hill and I learned to ride when my dad PUSHED me down the hill with no warning. The pedals were going far too fast for my little feet so I just stuck my legs out to the sides and screamed all the way down. At the bottom I wiped out and begged to be carried home. My dad told me that if I could handle a hill like that and live to tell about it, surely I could at least ride home. And I did!

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Madeleine Boyes • May 15, 2008 at 9:34 pm

When I was little, I used to live in an apartment complex. I was given a bike when I was 6 years old. I had training wheels, and fell of the bike so many times, that I had permanently scraped knees. Though eventually, I became used to them, and started to enjoy riding my bike.

However, as everyone else in the neighborhood began to ride two-wheelers, and began to have street races around the large parking lot, I still rode with my training wheels on. It must have looked odd, seeing as I was the tallest of the kids, to be the only one still using training wheels, opting to be the referee in races than competing in them. Of course, always favoring the girls, because of the boys’ ghastly cooties.

One day, when I was about 8 years old, my father decided to step in, and took off my training wheels, despite my whining protests. I tried riding on two wheels, on the grass patch by our apartment, and fell off it too many times to be counted. From then on, I refused to ride my bike again.

Until of course, my friends began to constantly ride their bikes, so I dragged out my bike and gave riding it another try. With my new 8 year old coordination, I learned to ride the bike within two days. Of course, I would only ride in the grass in endless circles.

That is until my dad made a comment similar too “well if you want to just ride in circles all day…” I had to learn to ride on concrete. Again my knees seemed to be permanently scraped, but soon I learned to lean when I turned, and to not lean to the side to look at the ground when going straight.

However, I was still the referee during street races.

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Neena • May 15, 2008 at 10:26 pm

I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until I was 26 years old and married. My husband was and still is an avid mountain biker and on a whim, I decided that not only did I too want to be a mountain biker, but that I needed a mountain bike. With zero experience and limitless optimism, I bought a mountain bike and every evening after work, my husband and I practiced basic biking around the block. I figured that if biking around the block was so easy, mountain biking had to be a piece of cake! So, we planned a weekend trip to a nearby mountain town and the very first morning, I followed my husband into the woods on our bikes and within five minutes, got my bike caught on a tree root, flipped out of the bike, and fractured my arm. Hrumph. Now, many years later, my mountain bike is gathering dust in our basement, but I’m ready to try some basic road biking once again.

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Gina D. • May 15, 2008 at 11:42 pm

I don’t remember how old I was when I learned to ride a bike. I do remember that I was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and my dad was really excited to teach me in the vacant parking lot next to our house. He started off with both of his hands on my shoulders, telling me to pedal slowly. I was trying to go faster than I knew how, and I was really wobbly. Dad didn’t want me to fall, so he kept grabbing onto the back of my hood while half chasing after my wobbly self. This hood grabbing ended up nearly strangling me. I remember choking out, “Dad…stop…DAD…I…can’t…breath…” I had red marks on the front of my neck to commemorate the educational event. The next time he tried to teach me, I wore a T-shirt.

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Beth • May 16, 2008 at 2:17 am

My dad tried to teach me how to ride a bicycle when I was 4 years old. That was the age when my older brother learned to ride, so I guess my dad thought it would be a good age for me.

Well, my dad tried for several days (we might have tried for as long as a week), and I kept running into things whenever he let go of the bicycle seat. After running into the truck canopy and skinning my knee for the umpteenth time, I refused to ride a bicycle any more.

It took two years, but finally my mom said that it was time I learned how to ride a bike. She took me outside and taught me in about 30 minutes; but she took the time to explain two very important skills my dad had failed to teach … how to turn using the handle bars and how to STOP before I ran into something. :)

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Ryan • May 16, 2008 at 5:47 am

I can’t remember learning to ride a bicycle, which is probably a good thing. Nothing too traumatic must have happened. However, I do remember my first bike. A pink and white strawberry short cake number with a long banana seat.

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Suzy • May 16, 2008 at 7:32 am

My Dad must have taught me to ride, as he did with my 4 brothers and sisters. I know it couldn’t have been my mom, as she still can’t ride a bike (and the only attempt I ever saw her make was to go go down one driveway, cross a street and go up the neighbor’s drive, before falling off the bike and walking away from 2 wheels forever) I however, still love to ride.

Suzy

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Tammi Heslinga • May 16, 2008 at 8:01 am

They say once you learn how to ride a bike you will never forget. But I seem to have forgotten how I learned to ride that bike. I have vague memories of my dad running along beside me, scraped knees, and a bump on the head. Helmets were not big then like they are now. I do remember riding my bike all over the neighborhood to friends houses, down the road to the little store. I remember the wind blowing through my hair and coasting down hills……pedaling like crazy to get back up the hills. Ah, the memories, I think I’ll get my bike out and go for a spin.

Tammi

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JaTara • May 16, 2008 at 8:25 am

I don’t remember who actually taught me how to ride a bike, but I do remember weaving and wobbling down the street the first time I was able to ride without falling off. I have fond memories of pedaling so fast that I felt the breeze on my face and of riding my bike up and down this shallow ditch near my house. Good times.

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Befreckled • May 16, 2008 at 8:28 am

Watching the envy in my eyes as my best friend zoomed by on her powder blue Lil’ Miss bike with handlebar streamers AND the wicker basket with faux flowers, my Dad seized the chance to drag me to the local bike shop. Frabjous Day! A new PINK bike, please! A sparkly orange banana seat bike was prominently displayed with an impossible-to-resist price. My father, a born hustler, assured me this was far superior to a girly bike with flowers and streamers. I reluctantly agreed, eager to be off with my friend exploring the countryside. He soon grew impatient with the fact that I couldn’t manage pedaling, keeping a death grip on the handlebars, and steering a tight circle all at the same time on our flat driveway. He decided that what we needed was momentum. Our driveway emptied out onto a half-mile long hill with a 10% grade: perfect! One giant push and I was off with PLENTY of momentum. Although my memory grows hazy, I remember screaming, sticking my legs out straight in front of me, and releasing my deathgrip on the handlebars long enough to protect my head from the inevitable suffering that was about to ensue. Had my father had a bit more forethought, and cast my nearly comatose wreck in bronze, the resulting sculpture would probably have paid for my college education. I’m sure the juxtaposition of digits, spokes, handlebars, and limbs was both artistic and breathtaking. I survived, my mother took over the bike training, and bike riding became one of my childhood joys. I was disappointed years later to see the monster hill was in reality only 100 feet long and a 1% grade. Perhaps 20 years of paving built it up some, eh?

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Pigfarmer! • May 16, 2008 at 9:24 am

I can’t really remember the day I learned…but I know there were not any sidewalks around. I learned and grew up riding on gravel. It is an Iowa farm girl thing..I guess!

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Liz • May 16, 2008 at 10:08 am

In an old photo I have, which my Mom must have taken incognito from the porch of our house, you see my dad on his old Schwinn riding down the road, followed by my two brothers on their BMX bikes, followed by my sister on her yellow banana-seater, with little me at the rear, just swinging my leg over the side of a red tricycle.

My bike riding did progress beyond tricycles. My dad taught me to ride by holding my bike seat as I went down the road. He called me “hamburger knees,” because of the battle wounds I received in my early wrecks. I still have the scars today.

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Tiffany • May 16, 2008 at 12:26 pm

I did not learn how to ride my bike until fourth grade. I felt a lot of peer pressure because all my friends could, and I could not. My dad spent many nights jogging with me to catch me up to speed. I finally got the hang of it!

:)

Tiffany

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Elizabeth • May 16, 2008 at 2:24 pm

I don’t really remember learning to ride, but I’m sure my mother taught me, and I do remember that I had a hand-me-down bike from one of the neighbors’ kids. Our neighborhood was very hilly, so it’s a little amazing I made it through my childhood with only one bicycle accident (hit a bump on a downhill coast and went over the handlebars). I’m fairly sure I remember Mom walking me down to the one flat spot at the bottom of the hill to practice riding – I don’t think I ever had training wheels, so there would have been a lot of pedaling while Mom hung on to the seat to keep me balanced.

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Lauri • May 16, 2008 at 2:28 pm

This is kind of fitting, since I learned how to ride bike on a yellow bike with a banana seat. I am going to be like your brother and just assume I will be getting an email from you saying I won. I just found your blog. Love it. I am doing low carb, trying to wrap around my brain that this is a for life thing, not just till I lose weight thing. Good luck with your book.

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Lisa Moreau • May 16, 2008 at 2:49 pm

I don’t really remember how it came to be that I learned how to ride a bike but I do remember shortly thereafter riding my bike around the corner of the block and running smack dab into a parked car. I flew over the handlebars and boy did it hurt but I think I was more embarrassed than anything. Anyways I would love to win a new bike since my current one is not really that nice anymore. Good luck all!

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Christy • May 16, 2008 at 3:05 pm

How well I remember Daisy. In true early 70s style, Daisy was my first bike … a flower-power magenta masterpiece with a huge banana seat covered with brightly colored daisies. For weeks, I proudly rode Daisy up and down the sidewalk outside of my house with the training wheels safely on, hair flying. My joy was short-lived. The older boys in the neighborhood began teasing me because I was still riding a “baby” bike with training wheels. I begged my parents to take the training wheels off. They didn’t think I was ready, but I insisted. Sure enough, two seconds into my ride on my “big girl” bike, I crashed — hard. I begged them to put the training wheels back on, but they figured it was time for a life lesson and refused. I was too scared to ride Daisy for a week or so, but then Dad insisted I try again. He ran behind me, steadying the bike. Then, he let go. I still remember that amazing feeling when my body first balanced itself, and I haven’t looked back since.

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Veena • May 16, 2008 at 3:28 pm

My Dad first taught me how to ride a bike when I was 8 years old. After a few missteps (and crashes and scrapes), I finally managed to find my balance. I remember that it felt pretty amazing to leave my Dad behind and go pedaling about the neighborhood. I don’t have a bike now and have been using Spin classes to approximate that feeling (yeah, not really the same) so I would love a new bike :) Thanks PQ!

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tess • May 16, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Sad to say I haven’t learned yet. I’d like too. I’ve been inspired by a someone who taught himself by riding in his basement. He dreaded public scrutiny as a beginner. I’ll have to clear a path in our basement. Thanks. Inspiring blog.

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Jenny • May 16, 2008 at 6:10 pm

I learned to ride my bike without training wheels when I was 4 years old. I had two older brothers, so I would see them riding all the time and my dad would work with me in the afternoons. I remember my dad running behind the bike and then letting go and I was off! I always loved riding bikes when I was younger… haven’t owned a bike in years, although I will ride my nephews bike from time to time while visiting my brother.

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Nicole • May 16, 2008 at 9:11 pm

She was a beat up and slightly rusted blue beauty. I remember watching my grandfather attach the training wheels with great anticipation. There were some obvious obstacles that came with learning to ride on a gravelly driveway with its fair share of potholes, but I was always one who was up for a challenge. I couldn’t wait to get the training wheels off. Once I did, I was pretty fearless. That could explain the scar on my right knee. ( :

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Susan Chester • May 16, 2008 at 10:18 pm

I remember coming home from school and going into my bedroom and there was a gently used bicycle! My mom had bought it at the Salvation Army. The bike had training wheels, and I learned to ride with them. I always had a bike when I was growing up and rode everywhere. I haven’t rode in years, and wonder if I have forgotten how.

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Sue from Wisconsin • May 17, 2008 at 12:50 am

I don’t remember learning to ride but I do remember teaching my younger son to ride. It was a beautiful summer evening. He and I and my other son had just moved into a new home in a new town, starting a new life without their dad. We wheeled the bike into the church yard around the corner and put him on it, doing the typical pushing-on-the-seat-while-running-alongside thing while he did the usual don’t-let-go-don’t-let-go thing. He was 5 and his brother was 8 and I was much younger too.

So we pushed and cajoled and wobbled our way around the yard but he never fell once. He seemed to have an unerring sense of balance and always caught himself. His brother turned off all the sibling rivalry for a time and was everything a big brother should be. Slowly I realized that we were going to do it…that that night he would learn to ride and it would be something he would never forget and that that night would be something I would never forget, the sweet summer stillness, our joyful voices rising and encouraging as he took off on his own for the first time, pedaling into his own breeze.

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Mindy • May 17, 2008 at 6:51 am

I remember being in third grade and we lived on a dead end street. I had been riding my “big girl” bike with training wheels for a while and my dad decided it was time to take off the training wheels. And then he ran beside me for what must have seemed like days to him as I tried to get my “bike legs”. I still remember the thrill when I realized he had let go and I was going. Of course, then I immediately stopped because I thought I was going to crash! I have always loved the thrill of going fast on my bike but am too much of a wimp to ride in traffic. Luckily we have a rail trail nearby that is a perfect place to ride. I was just asking my husband to take a look at my bike to see if we can get it in shape to ride again and he said it was going to need some work. So a new bike would be totally cool!

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Amy S • May 17, 2008 at 9:00 am

I had a very difficult time with balance at that age. I was MUCH older than the average child when I finally learned. Bad memories of all the non-overweight children poking fun at the fat girl too old for training wheels. It took me forever to learn, and it has taken too long to move past.

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Frank • May 17, 2008 at 12:47 pm

We lived in Navy housing that bordered a farm in Mountain View, CA, where I learned about my father’s love and patience and how to ride a bike. The path behind the house was paved with crumbly and jagged asphalt and bordered by rusted barbed wire. For hours my dad ran behind me, giving me words of encouragement along with a steadying hand on the bike seat. Long gone are the scrapes, cuts and bruises, along with the Navy housing and that old farm, and more recently my father. I miss those times, I think I need a bike ride.

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JJ • May 17, 2008 at 2:10 pm

I remember trying so many times to learn to ride my bike without my training wheels, begging my parents to take them off, and then chickening out. We were lucky, the neighborhood that we lived in was a typical suburban one, but our part off it was off of the main part of it, so was used as often by cars. It was also slightly sloped. We started at the top of the hill, with dad holding me up and walking beside me, I asked him to let go of me and and told me he already had. I remember the bike wobbling at the thought that I was doing it all by myself, but I got it under control and continued on down the hill by myself. I did fine until I had to stop, before hitting the cross-street. Unfortunately there was a large bump where our street joined that one and I forgot how. I ended up using my feet instead of using the pedals, something that I did often for years to come. Something mom always complained about since it wore our tennis shoes down so much quicker. I still remember how excited I was when I got to go from that red bike up to a ten speed. And now that I am grown and into a house in a rural neighborhood – I’m wanting a bike once more actually. I’ve been talking with my husband about it, hoping that I can remember how to ride and wondering if they make training wheels for adults just incase.

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Terri • May 17, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Hi-this is my first comment. I just wanted to say that I finished reading all your archives and your book. I really enjoyed them both.

I learned to ride a bike from my dad and older sister. My dad holding the seat and my sister far ahead encouraging/teasing the whole way :).

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Theo Seck • May 17, 2008 at 5:59 pm

I grew up in a village in West Africa, with all my cousins living right around me. One cousin got his hands on a bike with no chain. Couldn’t pedal, but we all took turns being pushed around on the bicycle. It must have taught me something, though, because later when I got a real bike, I already knew how.

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bliss • May 17, 2008 at 6:21 pm

I was pretty scared to try to ride a bike by myself when I started. I wanted to be pushed around endlessly at snail speed (too slow for actual balance) with my parents pushing me. My friend’s mom, however, had just the trick. On a very gently sloping driveway, she had me coast down several times while balancing with my feet on either side and using them for brakes–no pedal action at all. And then she had me put my feet on the pedals without pedaling. And then I just decided to pedal and lo and behold: I was riding a bike. No anxiety, no falls, took about half an hour. I have since taught several kids that way.

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Leigh Boyes • May 17, 2008 at 9:45 pm

I learned to ride a bike the old-fashioned way via what was known in my family as the fly-swatter method. My first bike had training wheels and I rode it until the wheels were actually bending so severely that neighbors were beginning to point and snicker as I rode by. Having steadily refused all attempts by my folks to persuade me to try and give up the training wheels, I was surprised one Saturday morning to find my bike (without training wheels) and my Mom (with fly-swatter in hand) waiting for me in the driveway. Talk about a learning curve, it only took an hour of intensive fly-swatter threats (with a couple of follow-thrus when my whining became too intense) and I was a pro, riding my two-wheeler down the street away from my house at top speed, standing on the pedals to protect my posterior from post training contact.

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ncross • May 18, 2008 at 12:22 am

My grandparents gave me a classic blue Schwinn one Christmas when I was a child. I learned how to ride by falling a lot. It was a very long process. I had more bloody knees and scraped elbows than I would ever be willing to put up with as an adult and I don’t know that I would have learned how to ride a bike if I had waited until I was an adult. The neighbors would also come outside and watch as I fell, I even ended up putting a huge dent in my neighbors parked truck when I ran into it. My parents poor insurance! Eventually, (probably months later) I got so confident in my abilities I even tried riding without my hands…the first attempt resulted in flipping over the handle bars and landing on my forehead after hitting an unexpected pot hole. Luckily, the only evidence of that fall was a big chunk of skin scraped off my forehead…embarrassing but at least my brain wasn’t smooshed in. I came to love bike riding and it was my main mode of transportation (I didn’t even bother getting a driver’s license until the age of 21). I need to get back into it…I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I wrote this post.

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ncross • May 18, 2008 at 12:29 am

Sorry, didn’t realize what time zone you were in…don’t know if I still qualify, but I had a good time thinking about my childhood anyway.

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MB • May 18, 2008 at 12:38 am

Opps …. correction: I had dinner with my brother tonight and asked if he remembered the time I flipped my bike going down the hill at my aunt’s house and he laughed and told me I didn’t hit a rock in the middle of the road, I hit the front brake instead of the back break and that is what caused me to flip it ass end up and over and over. Talk about revising history so I don’t sound like an idiot not knowing how to use the damn brake. I’m getting as bad as my mother with the revisionism. LOL :)

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Molly Kacal • May 14, 2009 at 1:28 pm

I have two older brothers… they helped me learn as I took the training wheels off my bike… it was great – like I was free flying!!!

By the way, I’m a huge fan of Lipton White Tea… and I’m really needing a bike right now to get to and from school… :)

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Kyle • May 21, 2009 at 2:51 am

I learned how to ride a bike a year an a half ago, from my uncle as a christmas present on Christmas eve. Having given up on the pursuit years ago because of several futile attempts made by my dad, I thought this was one of the greatest gifts ever! My uncle offered up his son’s new bike for me to learn on that nigh, and although it was pretty ugly at first, I picked it up very quickly, likely because I was 14 at the time. Soon, I was using my bike to get around everywhere, to swim practice, volunteering at a nursing home (completely honestly), school, and whenever else my parents weren’t available. Soon, becasue of my talent in swimming and a bit of experience running, I got into triathlon, and with my newfound biking ability, I was winning my age group (not for a while, though), and was even offered a spot to compete in Junior Nationals this summer! What a great gift I was given that Christmas.

I’m still gaining experience, and since I started using clipless pedals recently, I have fallen so many times, partly becasue I still haven’t figured out how to turn fast, and I have about 6 square inches of skin missing form my right leg right now from when I went over a guardrail while trying to catch up with teammates down a hill.

Sorry it’s late; can it still count? I finally got through finals week, so I only saw this tonight!

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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