My cousin asked me to teach her how to ride a motorcycle. I was delighted by her request. For me, it meant that there could be one more woman rider on the road. All I had to do was teach her well.
It turned out that teaching someone else to drive is not an easy task. Yes, seeing her ride around 5 meters at 20 kph already felt like a big achievement. Explaining how to turn the throttle moderately, how to shift gears, where to find the breaks, and other things about riding which I have already learned to do intuitively was very difficult. That experience led me to remember how I myself learned to ride.
And, remembering has evoked in me so much gratitude. I am specifically thankful for three men who have all been part of my sloooooow learning process. They are: my father, my boyfriend, and a friend.
Let me tell you about each one.
- My Father
My father doesn’t know how to ride motorcycles. He doesn’t really like them either.
However, it is he who taught me the most fundamental skill I needed in order to ride–balance. He did this by teaching me how to ride a bicycle. I can still remember how he decided to take of the training wheels of my bike even when I felt I wasn’t ready yet. He pushed my bike and let go even when I was afraid. His hands on method forced me to take courage and learn.
- My Boyfriend
I never thought I would be using my biking skills to ride motorbikes, but my boyfriend had a broader imagination. He learned how to ride a motorcycle and then he taught me. Balancing was not a problem because I already knew how to bike. The challenge was controlling the gas and shifting gears. Because my boyfriend’s motorcycle did not have a clutch, learning to ride it should have been simple enough, but I found it very complicated. I made many mistakes. I fell a couple of times. And I stepped on something wrong more than a couple of times. Nevertheless, I survived and I learned.
My boyfriend even lent me his motorcycle for the practical test I had to take in order to get a licence. That favour and the fact that I passed are two things I am truly grateful for now.
- A Friend
Time came when I wanted my own motorbike. I eventually found one that I liked and I started saving up for it. However, the bike I was eyeing was bigger than my boyfriend’s bike. It also had a clutch. In short, I was aiming for a bike I didn’t know how to ride yet. People around me were trying to convince me to buy a small scooter instead.
Fortunately, I found a friend who enjoyed challenges. At first, his eyes almost popped out and he did snicker when I asked him to teach me how to ride his bike. No one was really willing to believe that I could do it. Nonetheless, I managed to convince him that he might be able to add being able to teach me to ride among his list of impossible achievements.
It took him a few weeks, but he was finally able to add to that list of impossible achievements. It also took me around the same amount of time to finally prove to myself that other people’s expectations are not the limit of what I could and could not do. Courage had a greater role in determining capacities.
A few months later, I was finally able to buy and ride the bike I was saving up and training hard for.
I’m thankful for the guys who have helped me. I’m also grateful that I took the chance to pedal on even when I was afraid, the opportunity to learn even when I made mistakes, and the courage to believe in myself when no one else would.