Is Riding a Bicycle Magic?

by James A. Feld

Is Riding a Bicycle Magic?

I'm scared of bicycles. Dad says I shouldn't be, but I am. I like my tricycle. Heck, you can't fall over on a tricycle. Sometimes I watch older kids ride their bicycles and I wonder how they do it. They make it look easy. I don't think it is.

I love birthdays. I love to get birthday presents and blow out the candles and have a party. This year I blew out six candles and got a bicycle. Now I have to learn to ride it.

Dad keeps telling me it's easy; so does Mom. Mom said she learned how to ride a bicycle when she was a little girl, but she also told me she fell off of it sometimes. My big brother said he fell off his first bicycle many times when he was learning how to ride. Now he says it's easy. If it's so easy, why did they fall?

Dad said I have to wear a helmet when I ride my bicycle. Why do I have to wear a helmet if it's so easy? I heard that training wheels can be put on the back of a bicycle until I learn to ride without them. How will I know if I can ride without them until I take them off and I don't want to take them off? I feel awful.

I want mom and dad to be proud of me, but I'm scared. Is riding a bicycle magic? Why doesn't the bicycle fall over when someone is riding it? It has only two wheels? Is it like the magic that makes a bird fly and rainbows pretty? I can't figure it out.

I sat on my new bicycle this morning when it wasn't moving and I fell over. Why will I be able to ride it when I'm moving and if I'm moving, it'll hurt more when I fall? But, I know my dad. He'll tell me I've got to learn. Here he comes now.

"Hi Dad."

"Hi Mariska. Are you ready for your first lesson on your new bicycle?"

"Yeah, sure, Dad," I said, trying to sound like I'm anxious to do it. "Are you going to help me?"

"Yes, of course I am, Mariska."

Well, I guess I've got to do this. I don't think I'm going to be able to tell Dad that I don't want to try. I wonder if I'll live through this day. I hope dad will catch me when I fall. Here we go.

"Dad, not so fast. I don't want to go this fast."

"You're okay, Mariska. Just pedal the bicycle and trust yourself. You'll be okay."

Oh my gosh. I can't believe I'm trying this. I'm going so fast. I want to tell Dad that I don't want to do this, but if I do, he'd be disappointed; Mom too. I know Mom's watching. She's probably scared for me, but not as scared as I am. I hope dad keeps holding onto the back of the bicycle.

"Dad, are you still there?"

"Yes, Mariska."

I'm so glad that Dad is still there, but why did he sound so far away? "Dad are you sure you're still there?"

"I'm still here, Mariska, but you're on your own now."

Oh my gosh, I'm all alone. I'm riding my bicycle all by myself. Dad's not holding onto me anymore. Look, there's Mom. She looks so happy.

Way to go, Mariska, Mom is yelling. It makes me feel so good. I think I've just grown up to be a big girl. I'm riding my bicycle all by myself and it's not magic.

"Hey Dad."

"Yes, Mariska."

"Can I try it with no hands?"

The end.

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