Today I got on the bike much earlier in the day. I was on the Athens bike path at 8:30 A.M. My goal was not just to ride but to try to remember some more advanced skills.
My granddaughter watched me ride back and forth a couple of times on the greenway before she went off to school. She told me that I needed to keep pedaling. She took a course on riding a bike given by the city and it stuck. She’s seven, in case you’re wondering, but that’s the time to teach them biking skills and etiquette, beyond just balancing on a two-wheeler.
First, I practiced turning – could I turn 180 deg. without getting off the bike (yes, finally), and then smoothly in a tight turn? (not yet). Could I go down a hill without braking? I went up and down the little hills from the bike path to the campus several times.
Then finally the street. I rode on small, narrow residential streets and moved to the side when I heard a car. I definitely need a sideview mirror.
I could tell you my whole life story about my relationships with bikes but suffice to say that I used to be good and confident around traffic. The last couple of years in New Jersey, I got bumped (gently) a couple of times by slow-moving cars and I decided that I didn’t need to fight traffic anymore. When I moved to Asheville with its mountains and 24/7 hiking opportunities, I did not see a need to get another bike.
But now that I’m doing the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which still has 500 miles of “trail” on the road, I need to get my skills back. I need a bike course like my granddaughter.