I LEARNED TO RIDE A BIKE TODAY!!!
Seriously. I never learned to ride when I was a kid. No idea why. Somehow I got by until I was 16, and then I figured, I have a car, why would I want a bike? But recently, I’ve been thinking, it would be a convenient way to get to destinations that are slightly too far to reach on foot – Mud Island, Midtown. There’s just something about exploring a neighborhood on foot (or on a bike) that just isn’t the same driving an automobile.
So last weekend I got talking to my friend Bobby, who also hangs out on Beale Street quite a bit. He’s a bike aficionado – owns about a dozen of them. He told me I could get a good bike from a local pawn shop for cheap, and that he’d keep an eye out for one for me. Well, yesterday he found one – 30 bucks for a 12-speed in excellent shape. He went ahead and bought it, and rode it from his house on Mud Island to Beale Street and back to verify that it was in working condition. Today I went over to his house to see it.
And I attempted to ride it. For the first 10 minutes I couldn’t even get on the seat without falling over. Felt like a complete idiot.
Then, after about twenty failed tries, I was able to get on the seat and keep my balance as the bike rolled – but as soon as it came time to pedal, over I went. Most of the time I was able to stop myself. One time I took a rather nasty bump but got up okay.
I went inside and drank a Gatorade – it was blazing hot outside, and the fact that I had consumed my usual bottle of champagne at Sleep Out’s earlier in the day wasn’t helping matters. Then I went back out. Push off…attempt to pedal…over I went. Push off…pedaled once while keeping my balance…over I went. Push off…pedaled three times before losing balance. Then I pushed off again, began to pedal, and it was like I had been riding a bike for years. Made it all the way down the street and felt like I could have gone another mile if I had wanted to.
I spent the rest of the afternoon pedaling around the neighborhood while Bobby and my other friends washed their cars and grilled out.
The way I see it, there were two reasons I was able to ride that bike:
1) I believed that I could, and imagined all the fun I would have once I learned how to ride it; and
2) I realized I’d probably have to make a lot of mistakes (i.e. fall over a lot) in order to learn how to ride.
I definitely think there are some lessons there that can be extrapolated to my sales career and other areas of life.