So how did it all start? The pictures below would lead me to believe that my first experience on a bike was a little plastic red thing, but I don’t remember a single bit of that. My memory through trauma or ego doesn’t actually recall stabilisers. Maybe that’s because I actually never hurt myself when I had stabilisers, and all of my other memories involved blood, broken bones or some other sort of traumatic accident.

Ben

It all began when the stabilisers came off

The fact is, my first actual memory of riding was when I took my first pedal strokes without stabilisers. I remember it well. It was a light blue Raleigh bluebird, and I think the tyres may have been solid and the grips I seem to remember were white.

I can almost remember my dad taking the stabilisers off, in a kind of symbolic way, but as I don’t remember riding with them in the first pace, I could be making this up. We headed to the field behind my house with my brothers in tow.

He would sit me on the bike and hold me upright. “Pedal” he would say as he held the saddle and ran behind me. When he thought I had it, he would give me a little shove and watch me take a few pedal-strokes on my own, before pedaling myself into the ground.

And then the crashes began

I would crash in a funny kind of oblivious way, as I leant too far to one side or just didn’t appreciate how to hold my centre of gravity, hitting the deck and getting a face full of grass.

I remember getting winded at one point, but again I went until I finally got there. Now this is where the memory ends.

The Next Accident.

Now obviously, I fell off my bluebird, but I think I must have been used to it from all the spills I had whilst learning. Also, that thing wasn’t very fast so the potential to hurt myself must have been limited. That is until I got my brothers Raleigh MTB passed down to me.

Now as a middle child, you kind of get a good deal, but at the same time a really rubbish one. You finally get your hands on that bike you’d been eying up for years. Your Brother, however, gets a shiny new one, and so those years of his riding had obviously taken their toll. The bike was a shadow of its former glory.

Well, my Dad appreciated this, not that he personally experienced it being the older brother himself, but maybe he could see it in my eyes.

Anyway, he took me to a hardware store and told me to choose a new colour for the bike I had inherited. I went black for the frame and fluorescent yellow for the forks.

A work of art

Now, this thing looked amazing. I mean, I would choose this colour scheme again tomorrow! It didn’t stop there, though; grips, chain, tyres, you name it, I had them all new. For all intensive purposes, this was basically a new bike.

This bike was much faster than my old Bluebird, and it took me a little a while to fully grow into it, but when I got there, I was flying up and down our cul-de-sac. Flying, until I managed to throw myself over the handlebars….again.

I had set off, stamping on the pedals whilst raised out of the saddle, and the next thing I know, I’m picking myself up off the floor, floods of tears, winded and thinking I would never ride again.

A neighbour brought the bike around as my Mum patched me up, and that’s the last memory I have of that bike. What would come next was the BMX years…….and the accidents quickly multiplied with it.


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