Tuesday, November 30, 2010

smiles and independence

a couple of weekends ago four people, including myself, gathered together after months of emails and changed plans for one purpose: to teach an adult how to ride a bike.

i was merely a spectator-cheerleader, yet the instigator, of the happenings that weekend. we met up in a deserted area near a great indian place in berkeley, chose an empty parking lot and let the teaching take its course.

my phone being at near capacity, i could only get two photos of the awesomeness that occurred that weekend.

n + j

n + j

but rather me tell you how it went down, i got permission from the new bike rider to use an email she sent to us after the fact. who better to describe how she felt than the person herself?

the email was edited a bit, but you'll get the idea, of that i'm quite certain.
from: JT
to: NA

cc: MM
date Mon, Nov XX, 2010 at 9:57 AM

and for real for real ginormous armfulls of gratitude for each of you. you each helped me jump a huge hurdle. i was so down and out. learning how to ride a bike really helped my spirits fly a lil higher when they were ready to sink. thank you ak for loaning your green bike to learn & now the white bike to practice on!!! and thank you mm for connecting us to na - learning how to ride a bike=best present ever!!! and thank you na for being the best bike instructor ever!!! i couldn't have asked for a warmer, supportive and patient group of people to help and witness me learn how to ride a bike. =)

my parents were in disbelief that i learned after all these years. and my brother said he was proud of me =) i can't wait to bike to work & everywhere else & go on bike rides around oakland and sfc!

with lotsa love,
now if that is not the definition of the title of this blog, i don't know what is.


  1. Now that's a way to spend the day! I admire any adult who will allow themselves the joy of learning to ride a bike.

  2. joy or opportunity. i think it takes great courage to want to start something like this when one is an adult. it was so great seeing the process happen before our eyes. walking with bike, coasting with one foot on pedal. she was determined, and learned in a couple of hours.

  3. 1. Find a single speed bike that you otherwise like for him.

    2. Build, or have built, a new rear wheel using a Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub with coaster brake.

    We did exactly this with a vintage bike for my mother-in-law.

    Good luck!

  4. Great post!

    I took it upon myself to teach my sis how to ride a bike. I enjoyed it, immensely, in spite of the fact that she preferred running into something to stop, instead of using the brakes.

    The willingness and the ability to share anything of value, is a virtue!

    Kudos to you on wisely investing your time!

    Peace :)

  5. our blog's poster child <3333 this post is what we stand for!

    cant wait to see how this joy, as a tool, learning curve, experience and view, blossoms in the near future

  6. I learned how to ride a bike as a kid but being an American and learning how to navigate the streets of Amsterdam is like learning all over again.


  7. awesome post! thx CTX for making this happen and the bloggie. tho... dang, i wish we had a pic of her pedaling and balancing on her own @ the end!

    for the record, she went from being kinda nervous-hesitant-apologetic and barely able to walk the bike > determined ganbatte-spirit wobble glides >> totally rocking it BIG smiles, in what... 1.5 hrs? believe exact words were "i diiiiiid it!" lol. raaaaad! also that time is a new world record. surprised me cuz i thought adults would learn more slowly. but actually faster than any kid i've seen. chalk it up to better fine motor skills, attention, and determination.

    GO J! WOOOT! keep rocking it! can't wait to see you doing mad BMX freestyle and stuff =D

    btw, trying to avoid cliches and yadda yadda. but srsly, i was really inspired by J going for it and overcoming and all that jazz. fer reals. and it was a GREAT way to spend a day. =D

  8. Lots if pride in that e-mail! I agree that it's really courageous to take the step to learn something new, especially when it's something that most people learn to do in childhood and take for granted. Makes me wonder if there are other things this women is now going to take the step to learn now that she's experienced the thrill of this success.

  9. @she rides a bike: oh yes, we'll be following up with J to see her progression. she has a lot to be proud of. i'm glad she found the courage to try this out.