Learning to bike was a rather difficult experience

Liz Curtin

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Photo by Marisa Valdez

Riding around on a bike seems to be a way more popular activity in Eau Claire than expected. I didn’t bring my bike to Eau Claire because I didn’t think I’d have a lot of opportunities to use it. 

When I went home this weekend, my dad invited me to go on another bike ride with him, like we used to when I was a kid. I can pedal a lot faster than my dad can but I was pretty bad at biking when I was younger. 

I know biking doesn’t seem like something you can be bad at, but I really think I had that achievement. I used training wheels until I was eight when my parents took them off the bike but I still couldn’t get the hang of it. 

Someone told my parents that if they took the pedals off of my bike, it would force me to balance on the bike by pushing along with my feet. After doing that for a couple of weeks, my parents put the pedals back on and I got some friends together to watch me bike for the first time. 

I pushed off and confidently rode down the driveway in front of me before falling off the curb after realizing I didn’t know how to stop. The next time I rode, after my parents taught me how to brake, things went smoother. Now I’m pretty good at biking and rarely crash. 

I still remember my worst crash, which is good because otherwise the first responders would have been worried. My dad woke me up at 10 a.m. and asked me if I wanted to go for a bike ride. I said yes, got dressed and hopped on my bike. 

We rode along the bike path near our house until we got to the part of the path where the train tracks cross it. You’re technically not supposed to bike across the track, according to a warning sign, but this never stopped me and my dad. 

This one time, my wheel got caught on the track. This never happened before and it never happened after. But my wheel got caught and I was sent through the air. Fortunately, I have reflexes like a cat so I caught myself with my arms so I didn’t hit my head. 

My dad asked me if I was okay and I said “yeah for sure.” When I got up, however, I started to feel really nauseous. The nausea got worse and eventually, my vision started to fade. At this point, I was blind and my dad didn’t notice because he was preoccupied with trying to fix my bike. 

I thought I was going to puke any second so I panicked and told my dad to come over. My dad then came over, grabbed me and we sat down. When my vision returned, I told my dad that I was ready to go but he insisted we call an ambulance. 

I asked, “why?” He said — though I didn’t remember it — I fainted for about 30 seconds. He called an ambulance, which got there really fast. People should use ambulances to deliver pizza, the pizza would always be on time. 

I stepped inside the ambulance to get looked over and they asked me basic questions. I kept trying to tell the nurses that my arm had been hurting since I woke up but they didn’t really pay attention to it. My arm throbbed for about a month after. 

Even though I got hurt during this endeavor, it makes for an awesome story so I definitely feel nostalgic for it. Despite the difficulties I’ve had with biking, it still has to be one of my favorite outdoor activities.


Liz Curtin can be reached at [email protected].