Without Stabilizers by Laura Booth

As a six year old I was very reluctant for my stabilizers to be taken off of my bike, removing that sense of security was quite a substantial moment. I imagine most six year olds would feel that way. How do you get ready for something you have never experienced before? How do you prepare for the unknown?

Once I got on that bike and began pedalling, I was off. I remember my Dad shouting down the street at me: “Just keep pedaling…Forwards! Laura, you need to turn the handlebars to turn”. I generally ended up pedalling backwards or landing in the middle of my neighbour’s hedge because I’d never quite turn the corner in time. Unsurprisingly I had a lot of cuts and bruises for the next wee while. I had to learn how to find and retain my balance, but I was okay and in time my sense of balance strengthened.

If you offer a child two options, a bike to go and cycle on or the chance to sit, look at a bike and fill their brain with all of the worst possible outcomes of being on that bike – nine times out of ten they will chose the first option.

When we first started none of us knew exactly how to cycle without stabilizers. We practiced with them until our confidence grew and then one day we took a chance. We kept pedalling forwards, we fell down (a lot), we would stand up, wipe the mud off our knees and get back on our bike. But one thing was for sure once we had tried cycling without stabilisers, not matter how challenging it was, we were never going to back.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we are never going to feel ready and maybe its okay not to feel totally ready because that means what we are striving for will take us to somewhere we’ve never previously ventured. The unknown of that can be terrifying but we all have a choice: do you take the bike, start cycling and find your way while you are on your way or do you sit, look at the bike and not even let yourself try.

You wouldn’t expect a six year old to cycle for the first time without stabilizers and not have a little wobble or fall off their bike, so don’t expect that of yourself.

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