Hummm...That sounds great. In theory. But what if the end seems impossible to reach or even imagine? If you would have told me a little over a year ago that I would have ridden my bike 40 miles. In the rain. Over the Verrazanno Bridge. I would have given you the side-eye and probably said sarcastically, "Ohh-Kay".
Let me give you a little background. First, according to Wikipedia, "The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge that connects the New York City boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn." Let me say that again, double-decked suspension bridge! I don't even like to drive a CAR over a bridge, let alone ride a bike over one.
Second, when I started riding my bike I literally could not ride 1 mile. I couldn't even ride a half of a mile. The first time I rode I fell. Twice! I vividly remember riding my bike as a kid. All. Day. Long. Not anymore. I will admit it, I was scared!
|"We Fall Down, But We Get Up"|
So, what changed? I had a great coach; who was also a friend. She showed me how to turn so I wouldn't fall. She rode beside me, encouraging me along the way. I remember her saying, "Do you see that bench? Can you make it to that next bench?" Then it was "Can you make it to the sign? There is a bench after that sign where we can stop and rest". "There are some horses around the turn. Let's make it to the horses." I never saw any horses!
We took pictures along the way celebrating my accomplishments. In the beginning, she was very encouraging. The more I rode, the better my endurance got. I also noticed that she became a little more demanding: "Sheila, you can do this. We are only going to rest for 3 minutes. Let's go!"
Why am I writing about riding a bike? Because there are so many parallels between my learning to ride again and teaching.
|Everything is Better with Friends|
If I had tried to do it on my own I think, no, I KNOW I would never have done it! I needed someone to show me how. I needed someone to encourage me. I need someone to push me. More importantly, I needed someone to BELIEVE that I could do it in the first place.
|Me and Kahliah|
I also needed someone who I had a relationship with, a connection, someone who knew me. She was patient. She showed me how. She did it with me, right beside me. Kind of like guided practice.
In the end, I was able to do it. Independently. She gave me something that can never be taken away from me. The knowledge that I can be successful at what I work hard at.
|I Did It!|
And yes, I really rode 40 miles in New York with thousands of other bikers in the Five Boros Tour, In the rain. When I crossed that finish line, I wanted to cry; I actually think I did?
Later that summer I rode 50 miles in Florida. I still haven't ridden a century . . . YET!