Just like riding a bike… I hate that expression. Why? I’m the exception that proves the rule. Yes, I had forgotten how to ride a bike! It is possible.
But I rode my bike into work today after some ‘fun’ re-learning. Fun is in quotes because it kind of sucks to learn how to do something that you used to do well and is actually used as an example of something that you don’t forget.
About 10 years ago, I got a really bad headache. I won’t go into details but some of the headaches continued and I got some fun side effects, including the loss of bike riding. For years, I wanted to do it again but it was too scary.
I knew the theory of bike riding and I could even remember the feelings of racing down a hill or peddling up a mountain – so why couldn’t I ride? Every time I got on a bike, my mind would go blank. The nearest thing I can compare it to was the idea of me doing surgery = I know the theory but I would be lost if someone handed me a scalpel and asked me to do an appendectomy. I never knew what to do first!
A few years ago, I started to try different ways to re-learn. First, I tried a stationary bike but it was too different from the real thing. Then, I tried a tandem bike with my patient husband. It was better and I had stiff arms from gripping the handlebars so tightly but I still had trouble trusting myself. Finally, I just tried a child’s bike that felt safe and off I went! I’d love to say that it was a great feeling but again, my arms were the most stiff from gripping in fear. Over time, I’m starting to trust myself and it is getting easier. I’m also lucky because I remember the feeling of riding fast so I didn’t have to be convinced that riding faster is easier than wobbling slowly.
So I got my own bike and am riding more. Today, I rode all the way to work! I still have to work on some things, like changing gears. I rode with all one gear today because changing gears seemed like too much to handle. Luckily, it is entirely flat.
I was so excited that I had to write something – thanks for reading!
Ties to learning science?
I can’t help myself… Does this recent process help me approach teaching? I teach genetics to anxious and non-initiated people. I try to start slow and give people time to adjust but I wonder if I give them enough time to practice and get some confidence.
I’m about to start a new initiative where high school students will be doing their own research. We’ll teach them some technical skills but we also want them to explore on their own. How will we find the balance between giving them independence and giving enough support so they don’t feel overwhelmed?