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  • Learning to fly, part 2

    Alright, riding a bicycle is not the same as flying, but to someone who’s never ridden a bike before – it sure must feel like it.

    Both bicycling and flying defy gravity so powerfully they open a whole new world to us and, in the process, change our understanding of what we’re capable of doing.

    So, let me bring you up-to-date on progress with teaching Claude how to ride a bicycle (see last week’s post if you missed Part I).

    I thought for sure that on Claude’s second time out on the bicycle he would make the transition from coasting to putting his feet on the pedals and before long would learn how to navigate a two wheeler. Unfortunately, by the end of our second session (about an hour), the magic still hadn’t happened.

    Claude was able to pedal a few strokes and remain upright on his machine but he had the darndest time sustaining it for more than a few seconds. Progress for sure, yet still not flying.

    He would start off with a foot on one of the pedals in a 6 o’clock position, push three or four times with his other foot, get a promising roll going, then pick his ground foot up and put it on the other pedal.

    In what seemed like a hundred times, Claude would get both feet on the pedals, turn the crank a few times, wobble back and forth, then put one of his feet down before he was able to pick up enough speed to sustain momentum.

    The fear of falling (who can blame him) was preventing him from taking that quantum leap into a world most of us (maybe all of us) first experienced as a kid.

    Even if Claude and I were able to communicate in a common language, I think it would have been futile trying to explain to him that the faster you go (up to a point, anyway) the more stable you become.

    Heck, I haven’t been able to explain this bit of counterintuitive logic to my granddaughter Chloe (also learning how to ride a bike these days) and she and I speak the same language.

    Sometimes, no verbal explanation is going to accomplish what we ultimately need to experience kinesthetically, as our body and brain coordinate their efforts and figure out what needs to happen.

    And that’s precisely what Claude did.

    It didn’t happen until our third time out, but when it did it was pretty special.

    Here’s how it happened.

    As was the case for most of each session, since words were not an option, I would ride in front of Claude, demonstrating the movements I was hoping he would imitate. Each time, Claude would catch up to me, and when he did I would move ahead again, trying to model the form he should use.

    Toward the end of the third session, just as I was saying to myself: “Come on Claude, I know you can do this.” I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye and realized he was passing me on the right.

    He wasn’t looking at me because he was so intent on maintaining his balance but I did notice he was whistling, something I hadn’t heard him do before, and a sure sign he had relaxed enough to let the force be with him.

    I’m not sure who was more elated at that point, me or him.

    When he finally figured out how to stop his bike (we hadn’t covered that important function yet), I gave him a big high five and witnessed the biggest smile I’ve seen in a long time. No words were needed. Our expressions conveyed it all.

    Claude’s world will never be the same, now that he’s learned how to propel himself on a bicycle.

    When the time was right he trusted himself enough to take the leap and opened himself to new possibilities.

    If you’re ready to take a leap with your health – give me a call. I’d love to help you create a new strategy which will open up a new world for you.

    Imagine the possibilities!


    1. Cathy Ryan

      Cathy Ryan

      July 28, 2017 at 1:41 am -

      You are awesome! And congrats to Claude!!!!!!!!!

    2. James
      July 28, 2017 at 4:34 am -

      What a great story. So important to keep that learning mindset, throughout life.

    3. PaulMan


      July 28, 2017 at 3:40 pm -

      Staying focused and positive go hand and hand! Never giving up or into negativity from others and especially yourself!🙏🏿🌈

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