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We need to learn to ride a bike. Perhaps backward.

March 30, 2017

My trusty Hiawatha

Thursday, March 30 @ 1631

I was reading about how difficult it is to learn to ride a bike.  Do you remember learning?  I remember that trees and bushes seemed to loom in front of me and force me to crash into them.  Perhaps this happened to you, too.  I was an elementary school kid in Missoula.

The reason for the propensity to crash into trees is easily explained.  The trees and bushes don’t like us.  Just kidding.  I think that as one attempts to steer away from the tree, one leans toward it.  Then one steers to “regain wheel” beneath the center of gravity and lo!  The tree looms straight ahead.  “Boom.”  Took me a few tries to learn how to avoid the trees and bushes.

In the seventh grade I watched open-mouthed as a college student rode my bicycle backward.  Impressed, I tried to do the same.  One sits on the handlebars, holds the handle grips backward, then pedals backward.  At first, when the bike starts falling left, I pull with my right hand, as I would riding frontward.  “Crash.”  Amazing how quickly one’s body slaps down to the ground.

I attempted to ride backward a whole bunch of times until it dawned me that I had to reverse my impulse to pull forward or backward with the handlebars.  Soon I was successfully riding backward, even able to ride around the block backward.

Now I throw the gauntlet for the rest of you riders.  Let’s ride backward.

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