It’s Like Riding A Bike
"It’s like riding a bike." The saying commonly infers once something is learned, it stays in your muscle memory and you never lose the skill. It’s the truth! Once you teach someone to ride a bike, it’s a skill never to be taken away. Now more than ever, I’ve seen a rise of girls in our programs that have never ridden a bike. Teaching this skill has become one of my favorite things to be a part of.
All the mentors in Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley, where we had our most recent never-evers (girls who have never ridden a bike), will tell you about the palpable glow of happiness and confidence that follows the first few successful pedal strokes. It was easy to forget this feeling since it’s been so long since I actually learned how to ride a bike. My first “bike,” even before training wheels, was a big wheel. My sister and I would roam the neighborhood on those plastic seated recumbent toys with a sense of freedom and adventure that never left us. Today, big wheels have been replaced by balance bikes, but that sense of freedom remains. In teaching girls to ride with the Pennsylvania mentors, that same sense of adventure was planted.
A bike is a great equalizer. Everyone can be an athlete regardless of her athletic ability. If nurtured properly, she can find confidence and joy in going faster than humanly possibly on her own. It’s a process though!
Teaching Awo to Ride a Bike
After day 1 with Awo, my right fore arm was sore from holding her up and pushing her for four hours. It takes time to figure out what each kid needs to find success as quickly as possible. Once they start on a positive learning curve, it’s one of the most impactful places a girl can be. She is progressing from walking on the ground sitting on a bike to pedaling with a few giant pushes and some balance. That step is such a huge win!
I absolutely love celebrating the even the smallest progression. It's important for girls see the improvement they are making. The simple things end up being the most fun and impactful.
Sabra Davison is Executive Director and Co-Founder (aka Adventurer in Charge) of Little Bellas.