Bike brakes

When I got a bike as an adult I didn’t know how to use the brakes. The problem was that I didn’t know that I didn’t know.

Within three minutes after getting on the bike I was in trouble. I was headed down the hill and I suddenly realized things were not going well. I was going way too fast and the backpedaling-as-a-brake that I had learned when I was a child didn’t work on this bike.

This bike had handbrakes and my husband the bicyclist had not taught me about them. Suddenly I realized I couldn’t ask for help because he was too far away. Suddenly I realized I had to figure it out on my own right there, right then. Thankfully I did otherwise I would’ve ended up in my neighbor’s front yard. And possibly after that in the hospital.

Isn’t that like life? All the time people don’t tell us what is going on and how to get out of trouble. We’re in the middle of the problem and suddenly we have to figure it out. He could’ve told me “Here is the handbrake and here’s how to slow down”. He didn’t. He thought I knew. He was wrong.

I’ll never forget that terror, that sudden realization that I was in a whole lot of trouble really fast, and I had nobody to help me but myself. But I’ll also never forget the calm that came over me along with the terror. I figured it out. I didn’t get hurt. I was fine.

Sometimes you have to sink a little to learn how to swim.