It’s like riding a bicycle, as the saying goes. Once you’ve learned to ride a bike you can pretty much pick one up for the rest of your life and make a decent ride of it… Which is true, I suppose… like… in a park or a quiet cul-de-sac…
But a friend recently asked if he could borrow or buy a bike from me. He’s a runner and a swimmer and is thinking about getting into Triathlon. We’re the same height and I’ve been wanting to get rid of a bike. All good so far. Glad to help.
But despite that old saying it’s really not quite so simple as just riding a bike. I’ve been riding for, like, forever now and I know so much—probably too much. And as a wizened old cyclist I’d happily help this fellow get into biking and share all my knowledge and equipment and recommendations, etc.
But it’s also the pandemic. And how much of that can one really accomplish through text messages without going frustratingly crazy?
There are questions I need to know the answers to. And I can ask them all. But I don’t want to overwhelm or turn him off to riding.
It reminds me of a Northern Exposure episode. I believe it was Marilyn Whirlwind that comes to Chris Stevens to ask for help learning to drive a car. Chris gets really into it and guides her through a full education about the automobile and how it functions and its history, etc. I don’t think they ever even get her behind the wheel. His efforts were all too much. She decides she likes walking. Something like that. At the end of the episode, on Chris’s radio show he sums up his experience by comparing it to someone asking him what time it is and him telling them how to build a clock.
And I worry that I’m overthinking it and doing the same thing with this friend of mine.
I guess at a certain point we just have to point someone in the right direction and let them find their own path.