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As England heads into lockdown again, I have one serious aspiration, and perhaps committing to it here will force me to follow through: I want to learn to ride a bike properly. Despite living in flat, cyclist-filled places for most of my 45 years, I am terrified of bicycles: oily, capricious bringers of danger, humiliation and mashed shins. Now, though, my lockdown bubblemate lives a 40-minute walk away, but a quick bike dash along a pretty cycle path. The streets are quiet, the erratic kids on scooters are back at school and there will never be a better time to face my fears.
I can grasp the basic mechanics of how to make the pedals go round, but my abysmal coordination and balance mean that I have the dubious distinction of being the only person I know to have failed their cycling proficiency test. The memory of an embarrassed, incredulous maths teacher pulling me out of the flowerbed into which I had fallen (I was attempting the part of the test where you have to look over your shoulder to manoeuvre) is one of those scenes that replays on a loop in my mind on sleepless nights. I feel like the only adult alive who can’t ride a bike, but I don’t think I am. In non-pandemic times, many local authorities offer courses for adult beginners.
In 2020, though, I am on my own, so my attempt to master the iron murder-horse started with a wobbly circuit of a car park, riding my husband’s bike, last weekend. A few days later, I headed off for a tentative first solo trip. I pushed until I got to the cycle path, hopped on when no one was looking and pedalled nervously to my friend’s house. It was … great? Fresh air, speed and, so far, no shin injuries: this bike business could catch on. I haven’t tried looking over my shoulder yet, but maybe today is the day? Mr Robinson would be thrilled.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Big plans are out this lockdown winter. But I would like to learn to ride a bike | Emma Beddington | Life and style