on how to ride a bike


So, after all my talk, I finally made good on my claim to buy a bike. I ended up going with the Dahon, both for its compact size and the fact that there was one for sale on kijiji for much much lower than the model I intended to buy.

my new(ish) bike

I promised Sarah that now that I own a bike that this blog wouldn't become bike-centric, but for at least a little while there will probably be quite a few posts where I delve into my return to cycling and updates as I pimp my ride through what will have to be considered self birthday presents (good thing my birthday is less than a month away).

This weekend has been too busy to warrant a long bike ride. After I picked up the bike on Friday night (thanks Elize!), I went right to bed with a migraine. On Saturday I met up with Lisa and took baby D to the pride parade to see Wade walk with Camp Fyrefly and then later in the afternoon I checked out Al Fresco, the block party on 104th street with Sarah, Don and Dave (photos and video from that event coming soon).

My darling papa was passing through town on Sunday, so after a morning of boring household chores and a little bit of office work, I met up with the sibs to hang out as we waited for him to arrive. As it was another beautiful spring day we made our way to what has become our favourite little chillout spot in the Ezio Farone park. Even though the park is just a few blocks away Alberto rode the bike there. I had promised to send some high res photos to my bike pimpin' crew and I sort of abhorred the idea of photographing the bike in the living room, so it just sort of made sense to take the dahon out for a mini-spin. Besides, it so handily transported the blanket we would be using for sitting on it's rear rack.

Following the very short session of bike glamour shots (well I'm not sure if I could consider them glamour shots since I haven't even cleaned the bike yet), Alessandra and I sat about chatting while Berto ran off to play soccer with some guy who was in the park kicking around a ball. I played around with the height of the handlebars, which despite my efforts to tighten the stem, it keeps lowering as I ride. Although it's convenient to have a bike that folds up, I doubt I will fold up the bike frequently, since I think it's a bit of a pain to readjust something to your preferred specifications every time you want to use it.

all terrain

The surprise of the afternoon came when Alessandra decided she was going to learn how to ride a bike. I don't know how she avoided learning as a child, since getting a bike was a rite of passage in our house (it meant you could wake up later to get to swim practice in the morning). Whatever the reason she's nearly 25 now and wanting to learn. And although being an adult learner is potentially much harder, today she got on the dahon (somewhat unprompted, I might have asked her to pose with it so I could take pictures) and was willing to try.

Maybe it makes me a mean sister to have documented the learning process, but I was also helping out by holding the bike as she learned to balance, giving helpful tips like not looking down at the pedals as she rode. And obviously, as you can see by the expression on her face at the end of the video, she was having a good time learning. Alberto was also very helpful. He channeled his inner coach and provided very practical dryland demonstrations (I know it's a swimming term, but I can't think of an equivalent for cycling... wheel-less?) of how to push off, pedal and steer, and brake. Together, I think our combined antics provided ample entertainment for the rest of the people in the park.

step 1. the push off step 2. steering and balance
step 3. proper braking technique the adult student

By the end of the little lesson Alessandra had figured out how to stay balanced for at least a few seconds and pedaled across the park. I likened it to watching the first sustained airplane flight. So much anticipation for success sustained for a very short duration. Nevertheless, it was still reason to celebrate. She was victorious and hoisted the bicycle over her head in a demonstration of her bicycle domination (nevermind that berto had to help her lift it up that high).

alessandra conquers attila dahon

A few more lessons and maybe we'll let her ride off the grass.

*single tear.

How fast our little ones grow up.