psyching myself out of my comfort zone. learning to ride a bicycle....
FIRST TIME on a bicycle (may 2007) -- "you can't ask me to ride here! it's a steep incline!" curtis took me to a parking lot to learn. there was barely a slope... a marble wouldn't even roll if you blew on it.
curtis holds the bike as i sit and learn. he's running with me... for all of 30 seconds. i'm wobbly. then he calls out... "you know you're on your own right?" "WHAT?!" crash!
SECOND TIME (june 2007) -- the bike curtis is teaching me on is a mountain bike he won from the fair. it has hand brakes which give me a sense of control. it's too tall for me which gives me NO control. i use the curb to stop. i was bailing out every 2 seconds. i broke the bicycle on the last curb bail. before i killed the bike i was thrilled that i could make right turns! i was working on left turns when disaster struck.
...we order me a beach cruiser on line.
THIRD TIME (june 2007) -- what do you mean i don't have hand brakes?!?!?! now i have to learn how to start AND stop. i can't crash this bike. it's too pretty.
FOURTH TIME (july 2007) -- i'm doing it!!!! woohoo!!!!
... a year passes by
6th TIME -- (july 2008) -- curtis tells me we're taking the bikes out to newport for the 4th of july. i'm panicking. i've never ridden in public. we go back to the parking lot where i learned so i can do a dry run. it's been a year. this test is ride #5.
now we're in public. ride number 6! today i coasted down a hill. surrounded by curtis and 2 of my friends who stop traffic for me, surround me thereby protecting me from too many people and all the while screaming encouragement all the way. actually maybe they were protecting the people. i survive...and so did all the cars that i drove by (barely). i might have left a hand print on a couple of beautiful, new, expensive cars (they needed to be saved from me and a crash).
it's getting late, and dark and it's still only my 6th time on a bike. i'm exhausted from the strain and i can't do this driving on a sidewalk w people thing. i beg and argue and win... curtis installs training wheels. people are laughing at me. i smile. i don't care. i feel better. now we can ride home.
9th TIME (july 2008) -- i'm still shaky. the training wheels were chucked. they didn't do crap. long trips (5 blocks back and forth) leaves me exhausted from the stress. i'm still gripping the bars too tightly. my forearms hurt after i'm done and my legs feel like jelly. i didn't realize how far 5 blocks was! walking is so much easier! oh... and apparently i can't turn my head when i'm on a bike ... today i crashed and scraped my leg badly. the bikes are going into storage until i heal.
12th TIME (yesterday!!!) -- it's been a year since i was on a bike. we went to the store to pick up bloody mary mix. bloody beers! yeah! a quick test run around the compound. i can start.. check. i can stop... check. i can make turns... check. i can turn my head and have a conversation!!!! yeah!!!! still not too confident. i think that should come with time.
fourth time on a bike. shakily handling the beach cruiser. curtis was so proud of me. he took this shot.
hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.
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