(Firstly I have to admit I didn't make my Wednesday posting deadline this week....)
This past week I got an opportunity to take the Roosevelt Island Tramway the opposite direction of the morning commute.
I got to see the view of the 59th street bridge from Queens into Manhattan from the view of the Tramway ride. The congestion of the morning traffic barely inching forward, I sailed high above them at a graceful pace of calmness away from the ground level noise.
And why was I taking the Tramway this morning? I was headed to a Bike New York Adult Bicycle Learning Class!
I'm one of those people with a weird childhood phobia about riding a bicycle, but now in a city where bicycling can save you time and money in addition to a potentially enjoyable way to migrate from point A to B. My desire to learn how to bicycle finally grew until it was bursting from my brain. I jumped on the opportunity when I found the free Adult learning class.
Before this class, I have had friends show me their method, and I have been able to get my bum on the bicycle, but with very little confidence. The informative instructors taught us balance on the bicycle frame by removing the foot pedals and showing us how to glide-walk with the seat lowered just enough to allow our feet to touch the ground. The goal was to be able to glide on the bicycle frame without feet touching the ground for 5 seconds or more. The instructors claim that once you can develop balance, this will allow you body to learn how to orient itself on the frame.
Upon successful exhibition of gliding for 5 seconds or more, they graduate you to the next step by adding the pedals, and raising the seat until you are on your tippy-toes. The challenge is to learn how to kickstart the liftoff momentum until you can establish the balance again, this time by pedaling. Thankfully with the tiny bit of previous experience I was able to get to cycling faster than I thought, and the glide-walk exercise was tremendously helpful. Still not being an expert, I still fell off the cycle once when trying to do laps around the gymnasium with a blue bruise on my left hip to confirm it a day later. Instructors claim the falling off the bike is still and educational experience and part of the learning process.
I was elated to find myself cycling laps around the gymnasium successfully! I still have much more to learn about the gears, brakes and hand signals, but having this awesome opportunity to experience learning bicycling under structured instruction gave me much more confidence to look forward to more!