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If I stop I might fall over

As a small child I had an old red tricyle. It was the best thing in my little world and I’d pretend it was my car as I rode around the garden and up the drive. I’d lean down hard on one side for dramatic turns then panic and centre myself quickly. My sisters had 2-wheelers, the ‘blue bike’, inventively named since it was in fact blue, and a Peugeot that was super cool because it had gears. I always used to wonder how on earth my sisters managed to ride bicycles with just the two wheels. How could they possibly stay upright? When I graduated to two wheels my first experience was with stabilisers, but they were a bit rickety and I’m sure they weren’t even level with the ground.  Then one sunny day my father told me that I was going to learn to ride a bike. A real bike. With two wheels. The excitement! The joy!

I think I learnt on the blue bike, which I thought made me very grown up indeed. I set off being pushed and then looked back and realised that I was all on my own. Cycling by myself. I was so proud. I realised that somehow you just stay upright, I wasn’t sure how then but of course now I know it’s down to a mix of balance and momentum and possibly luck.

I cycle every day now. To the station and then to the office when I get into London. I love it. All those years of being taken on bike rides with my father and sisters and a collection of other members of our extended family who happened to be staying with us had an affect on me. It’s written into my DNA, give me a choice to walk or cycle or get the god awful tube and I’ll choose two wheels every time.

The only times I ever wobble on my bike are when I slow down and almost stop. One has to keep the bike moving, albeit slowly, to keep the upright momentum and balance. If you stop it all goes south. It happens occasionally when I’m not concentrating, when my mind is not focussing on the job in hand.

It feels like an appropriate metaphor for my life right now. If I stop I think I might fall over. If I fall over I think I might never get back up. 


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