Thoughts (思)

East Coast – Cycling at East Coast Parkway

We have journeyed December 2010 with joy and personal satisfaction.  It was a month of play and rest.

During one sunny morning, we strolled towards the direction of the car park after breakfast at MacDonald’s East Coast.  Along the way, we had to pass a bicycle rental shop, Cycland.  So many times when we passed this place, my wife’s steadfast plea kept echoing in the abyss of my brain; so when would the boys learn to ride?  It just goes on and on and on relentlessly.  Today, the echo probably activated the last neuron in the vast network and I was prompted to take action.

As I turned to my boys, “do you want to ride?”

“Yes!”

“Do you have riding lessons,” I asked with enthusiasm to a stocky man in his late 40s, who was handling the bikes and in shorts, and his muscular calves were probably evident of an avid cyclist.

He gave me a puzzling look and answered no.

“Oh” I never taught anyone cycling before.

“But they can learn to cycle between half-hour to one hour,” stocky man replied casually, “it is quite easy and most of them learn it in a jiffy.”

And so we began the affordable, partly clueless and self-taught cycling lesson with the following lesson plan, as directed and supervised by the confident stocky man.

Perhaps my 10 year old boy’s motor skills are better developed than his younger brother, he soon pedaled around the perimeter of the park in joy in barely half an hour.  His younger brother learnt it in one hour with a mean grit accompanied by a head of perspiration; a flushed face warmed by the rays of the morning sun; a sore bum; bruises from the fall; and finally victorious tears of tiredness.

The rest was history as for the next twwo weeks as we basked in the warmth of the sun and whisked through the sun rays, racing sea breezes.

Although we had sore bums, aching calves, and stiff arms but it was all worthwhile for the two boys who mastered a lifelong skill, from the dad of course, and a dad who might consider doing a part-time express cycling instructor – just a maybe.

My eldest son exclaimed that was simply one of the best days in his life so far, and this captivating simple statement just made my day.

December 2010 was simply outrageously extraordinary and I would remember the precious moments  in fond memories.

Lesson Plan

  1. Get a suitable bike where you can sit comfortably with both legs on solid ground, and hands on the handle.
  2. Using both legs, push off hard simultaneously and glide.
  3. Look forward and look far, push-glide, push-glide, push-glide, push-glide, and minute turning the handle using the hands with the elbows lightly pushing or pulling the handle, left or right, to maintain the balance.
  4. Aim to glide.
  5. Once you can glide using two legs, and then go to using one leg only.
  6. The weaker leg steps down on one pedal while the stronger leg will stand firm on the ground.
  7. The same push-glide principle applies.
  8. Finally just lift the leg pushing the bike to the pedal instead and start pedaling.

Pointers

  • To stop, go slow and apply rear brake, then front brake.
  • Beginners tend to speed and if the cyclist brakes too hard on the front, the cyclist will be thrown forward by the force
  • Learn to turn left or right using the hands and elbows only.
  • The bike will not turn if you do not turn the handle.  Leaning the body to the left or right is probably a common mistake.
  • Do a figure of 8 on either side to improve the turning.
  • Learning to go slow and apply the brake.
  • Wear safety gears.

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