The way I’m always referring to bicycles as my two wheels… well, there is another way to travel on two wheels. Read Sarah’s story to hear what inspired her…Elle, keep it simpElle
I’ve never been a quick learner. It took me forever to get the hang of riding a bike. My dad would take me and my sister out to practice in the park behind our house. Bearing in mind my sister is 6 years younger than me, I think he managed to teach us both simultaneously as I was so scared.
To this day with all my clumsiness, the biggest scar on my body is a scar I have from falling off my bike. But surely this is just a right of passage…doesn’t everyone have a scar from falling off a bike?
After I had got over my fear of two wheels (and stopped falling off), it seemed like the world opened up a bit more. I spent summer weekends with my dad and sister riding around different parts of north west london, and as I got older it was used as well as roller skates and scooters when me and my cousins fancied going on a bit of an adventure. The bike was more than just a form of transport, it was an enjoyable way to spend time with my family.
When I turned 13 my bike became an even more important part of my life. For four years, I rode it every day bar Christmas Day to deliver papers to people who lived locally. The bike helped provide me with an income and allowed me to buy market clothes and magazines…the biggest passions of my life at that time.
Riding a bike also changed my body. While many teenagers were wishing for thin thighs, I was proud of my thick legs as they allowed me to power up hills and speed around corners. People would comment on the size of my legs and I would happily tell them that it was due to me riding a bike every day. As I grew more confident on the bike, so did my abilities. While I’ve never been able to wheelie, riding with no hands became second nature to me, something that I’ve since lost now I no longer ride with as much frequency.
When I moved to Uni, there was no space to store a bike for the first few years. I remember the joy I felt when I was able to ride my bike over to Sandbanks in the summer and spend time walking along the beach. Two wheels have always meant freedom to me.
Which is why a few years ago I decided to go for my full motorbike licence. I’d had a moped when I was 16 and had always wanted to get back on two (motorised) wheels but just hadn’t had the time or money.
When learning how to ride a motorbike, you get taught a lot about countersteering as a way to steer the bike. This is the same way you learn to steer a push bike, but when it comes to motorbikes, it can seem a little odd. So in order to get the hang of this I got back on my push bike again to put this method into practice on a slower, more forgiving vehicle. I spent a lot of time riding around my area playing around with the steering so that I could get used to it. A lot of money and a few tests later, I finally had my motorbike licence.
All that riding on my push bike helped me fall back in love with cycling again. As I work quite close to where I live, I can’t justify riding my motorbike to and from work, so I’ve decided that in order to keep that sense of freedom, I’ll be riding my push bike to work where I can. It takes more preparation in the mornings but I get to work with a smile on my face rather than a frown. And hopefully my skills will come back to me and I’ll be cruising hands free soon…who knows I may even learn to wheelie this time round!
You can connect with Sarah and follow her adventures on Twitter