I remember very clearly learning to ride my first bike, a green Raleigh Strika. This was in the times when there weren’t balance bikes, helmets or, it appears, a general awareness of potential hazards.
Knowing when you’re “Good to go”
Basically, if you were able to get any amount of the tip of one shoe anywhere near the pavement to steady yourself……you were good to go!
“Good to go” for me meant by Dad briefly holding the back of my bike whilst he pushed me down the pavement, towards the flow of oncoming traffic of a busy main road. Once momentum was gained, he let me go, shouting encouraging words such as “don’t forget to steer”, “keep pedalling” and “you’re doing great”.
It’s funny now, looking back, I don’t remember hearing anything along the lines of “make sure you’re able to reach your brake levers, and know how to use them so that you can stop in time if anything unexpected happens” being shouted. Whether it was a natural ability or just plain luck that I didn’t crash, I enjoyed every minute of it.
My Dad was later responsible for taking me on my first ‘proper’ ride, a twenty-mile adventure to ‘The Mills’. More formally known as the Eureka Cyclist’s Cafe, it is the meeting point for cyclists from all over the North West, and a superb atmosphere.
It was this day that triggered my passion for all things cycling and has brought me many fond and exciting times, with hopefully many more to come.
…what Keith probably didn’t realise at this age was just how much the cycling bug would kick in, as he went on to enjoy success in the road cycling scene, being crowned TLI National Champion in 2013.