I Relearned How to Ride a Bike at 30, and It Helped Me Face My Fear of Failure

I didn’t try to bike again for nine years. I was a senior in college, and I’d moved far off campus and farther away from my job at a boutique in my college town. My manager, who was wonderful, offered to give me her daughter’s old bike to cut my commute time. I graciously accepted because the thought of sleeping 10 extra minutes before every shift was incredible. I never worried that it had been nearly a decade since my last attempt. It’s just like riding a bike. The first day I had it, I decided to ride to the gym before work, feeling cocky about all the extra time I was going to have. From the second I hopped on, it was clear I had completely forgotten what to do. I flailed around the side streets in my town making loopy, weird shapes, unable to gain control and complete more than a few consecutive pedal revolutions. I ended up walking most of the time, my legs straddled over the seat in case my body suddenly remembered what to do and I could spring into action. It normally took me 20 minutes to walk to the gym, but it took 25 minutes to “bike” there that day. I was running late instead of early, so I decided to lock the bike at the gym, walk home, and come back and get it later. When I returned, the bike had been stolen—turns out I had one of those Kryptonite locks that could be jimmied open with a ballpoint pen.

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