Pedaling New(s)

I don’t remember learning how to ride a bike.  I don’t remember what it feels like to balance on a bike for the first time or to pedal for the first time in a straight line.  In these last few weeks at our Learn to Ride classes I’m starting to get an idea of what that must be like.  I find myself biking around the Twin Cities and thinking about each step that goes into riding a bike.  I pay attention to when I lean to turn and how far in front of a stop sign I start to slow down.  It’s exciting to break down something that has always felt so natural to me into all of the little pieces that actually make it happen.  I have also found myself trying to imagine the sensations that come along with riding a bike as new and foreign as well.  While zipping down a hill towards the Mississippi river I imagine that I am feeling this rush for the first time.  Putting myself in the shoes of a new cyclists makes me realize how exciting it must be to learn to ride a bicycle as an adult.  It’s not everyday that adults learn a new skill that has the potential to completely transform the way that they move through and interact with the world around them.

Since the last blog post Essie and I have been very busy teaching Learn to Ride classes.  We have held classes or series of classes at five different organizations (Sarah’s Oasis for women, Minnesota Karen Organization, Minnesota Council of Churches Refugee Services, and Seward Neighborhood Group) and had a total of 28 students.  Its exciting to see groups of adults determined to learn a new skill together.  At some of our classes bike library participants who already know how to ride have attended the classes to encourage their friends who are trying it out for the first time.  At other classes neighbors who don’t have bikes have come outside and asked their friends who are learning what they are doing, some of these people have joined in on classes and later signed up to get bike library bikes.  A common theme at all of our classes is laughter.  Encouraging laughter as fellow classmates fall over, and joyful laughter as people balance for the first time.

In the coming weeks we have a few more classes at the organizations listed above and then we start two series of classes that are open to the public.  One of these series will be held in Minneapolis and the other in Saint Paul.  Another piece of our project that we have coming up is a seminar to teach people how to teach people how to ride bikes!   More about the open classes and the seminar in the next post!

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