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Published on August 03, 2015

mom helping daughter ride bike

Bicycling Brings Back Memories and Commitment to Safety

Summer is in full swing! If you are anything like my family and me, bicycling may be a common activity. I have a long history with cycling — including some of the greatest and worst moments of my life.

My family will cross a milestone this July, which will mark the 10-year anniversary of my mom’s death in a bicycling accident. She was on a cross-country tour and didn’t make it home. For a large amount of that 10-year time span, I didn’t ride my bike. It stayed suspended from the ceiling in the garage. A couple of times, we got it down, brushed off the dust and cobwebs, and headed out. I rode, but with fear in my heart and tears on my face. I won’t lie. It was rough.

Teaching my oldest to ride her bike was especially fearful. Her father really had to take over that job. I didn’t even watch. This spring, I changed gears. I bought a new bike. It’s not as flashy as my old mountain bike. But it’s more suited to me at 40-something than the old bike I rode at 20-something because it sits more upright with larger tires for better stability.

Getting Back on the Bike

This past spring, I got on my bike and rode it. And more importantly, enjoyed it. I enjoyed the breeze in my face, the burn in my legs and the freedom that only a bicycle can provide. It was wonderful.

My second child was ready to get his training wheels off this summer, too. This time – his mom taught him. I ran beside the back of his bicycle and let go when he wasn’t looking. I shouted words of encouragement and gave the hugs when the inevitable tip over happened. And you know what? He got those training wheels off in one afternoon. It brought me back to my flowered Huffy with its banana seat and streamers coming out of the grips. I still remember my mom teaching me to ride — running behind me and letting go when I wasn’t looking. I remember the hugs that came after the wipeouts. And now, I will always remember teaching my son.

Bicycling actually fits well with occupational therapy. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, occupations are “activities of everyday life, named, organized and given value and meaning by individuals and a culture. Occupation is everything that people do to occupy themselves, including looking after themselves … enjoying life, and contributing to the social and economic fabric of their communities…” Bicycling is one of my occupations.

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