I didn't have a car of my own until the week I graduated from college. My parents were in town for the festivities and after graduation my Dad took me down to a car dealership and found a nice 1-year old car for me. It was in good condition (lasted 7 years for me), had good gas mileage and was priced affordably for my "first-job-out of college" salary. You would have thought I was excited about this, being my first car and all, but in reality, I was terrified. Why? Because it had a manual transmission; i.e. a stick shift. And I didn't know how to drive one.
In the days following the car purchase my Dad attempted to teach me how to drive it and each driving lesson ended in tears. So my Mom tried to teach me. No luck either. My friend that I was living with tried to teach me and made me stop on a hill - just plain cruel.
It got to the point where I hated the car and even made my Dad call the dealership to find out about returning it, which wasn't really an option. My parents eventually left to return home, and I had to figure out how to get to/from my brand new job.
My friend Wendy was staying with me and for a few days I made her drive me to/from work. Then she got tired of it and decided it was up to her to teach me how to drive a stick shift. Of course I protested, but she ignored my whimpers and tears and forced me to take the wheel. She sat in the passenger's seat and talked me through each step as if she was driving herself. And what do you know - success! I have been driving a stick ever since.
Once I got the whole stick shift thing figured out I asked my Dad why he had me get a car that I didn't know how to drive. He said, "I knew you'd eventually get determined enough to figure it out."
There is a point to this story, I promise...
It's pretty common knowledge that I hate the treadmill. I can't even last 1 mile at a 5.0 speed on that thing. While I do realize it has it's benefits; i.e., softer surface for those dealing with injuries, speed work, etc., it just kills me.
It's also common knowledge that I do a Spin workout 1-2 times a week. Lately, I've started to develop the same feelings toward the Spin bike that I have about the dreadmill.
For years I have been talking about getting a real bike but never really got around to it. A couple of months ago, I was seated at a work breakfast next to a colleague who is an avid cyclist. The conversation turned to biking and he told me that the best time to get a bike was in the Fall. Like cars, the newer models were coming out soon so the current models would go on clearance.
For added incentive, two of my cousins recently got bikes and have taken up riding. Not wanting to be left out, I started doing some research and asked my biking friends for input and advice on how to make such a purchase. Sure enough, I found some screaming clearance deals on bikes and last weekend, finally bit the bullet and ended up with this:
Now I haven't been on a bike since my days of riding my BMX through cornfields with my friends at age 12. Literally, I haven't.
I have no idea how to ride this thing. I attempted some test rides in the store, and while the bike felt comfortable, I kept falling off. I can barely balance on it. The staff even put me on a beach cruiser so I could sort of remember what riding a bike felt like.
And now for the point of the story...
So why did I buy this thing if I don't know how to ride it? Because, like driving a stick, I will get it, eventually.
And to start with, I signed up for a "How to Ride a Bike" class. Oh yes, I did and I don't even feel embarrassed admitting it. In fact, I’m super excited for it. Everyone has to start somewhere and I think this is where I need to begin.
They say it takes 3 weeks to break a habit. I am hoping it takes that long to form one. Will report back at the end of the month to see how much progress I make.
In the meantime, if you have any advice or words of wisdom, please...send them my way!