More from Jane Compton
My bike trip in Europe was the highlight of my cycling adventures, but the confidence to go on that adventure was earned the hard way! Riding into a bush the day my bike’s training wheels were removed, ruining a brand new pair of glittery knit pants on my sixth birthday due to pedaling too fast and crashing, and being bitten by a dog as I rode with my feet on the handlebars didn’t keep me off my bicycle.
Looking back, one memory that stands out is the day I rode my bike to the pet store to buy a goldfish. As a ten year-old, I felt grown-up and confident that I could do this on my own. After purchasing the cutest goldfish in the tank, I held the carton’s flimsy handle in one hand and steered my bike with the other. I rode through the mostly empty parking lot, responsibly keeping my eyes on the carton to be sure the water wasn’t splashing out. No need to stress my new fish-friend! I had handled the purchase well, and was on my way home.
However, within minutes, I ended up on the ground, having crashed into the one pole in the entire parking lot. Lying there, the only thing I cared about was the fish out of water! The carton was opened and the tiny fish flopped around on the cement. I scrambled to the rescue and quickly returned him to the bit of water remaining in the carton. Jumping on my bike and ignoring my bloody knee and elbow, I raced home to get my new pet in water. We both survived!
Growing out of the crashing phase of my life, I learned to ride a unicycle and loved time spent on a tandem bike with a friend, singing at the top of our lungs. Whether it was a ‘bicycle built for two’ or riding on my own, I’m grateful the mishaps didn’t stop me. Bicycling adventures have been a fun part of my life.