He kept pushing me, literally and figuratively.
On that afternoon, I believe we have reached The Zen of the Bicycle.
Reality vs Expectations
'I won't give you cliches like: 'Great job' or 'if I can do it, you can too' or 'it's okay'. We want results at the end of the day, you'll be riding that bike on your own.'
If I told her she did a good job despite her numerous attempts and not learning how to ride a bike at the end of the day, then I just lied.
I asked, 'Are you sure? Are you ready?'
She said, 'As long as you are patient with me.'
'No, I can have all the patience. I will tell and teach you the same things over and over again. You have to be patient with yourself' I replied. And she was.
Her hands on the handlebars were not steady. I was standing on her left side as she always tend to lose her balance on that side. I was holding the bike seat with my right hand, and the handlebar with my left hand.
'You are not adjusting your balance. Your bike will go as where you will take it. If you're going left, shift to right.' It confused her at first, and told her to feel it herself.
I emphasised on how to properly press on the brakes with both hands and to land and stop with one foot on the ground. She was initially stopping with both feet and jumping on to one side of the bike. She was able to bump into metal rails and posts before pressing on the brake.
'The metal post can't move' I told her with a dash of sarcasm. I wanted her to understand what would happen if she didn't practice safety at first.
'I'm not expecting you to ride a bike in a real road today, but you must be able to avoid a running kid on the path for example.'
I told her even the best bikers in the world can crash, it's best to be safer than not.
'Get on position, let's do it again' as we were gearing up for another run to practice her balance.
'Wait, there's a little boy on the way' she feared.
'Do you trust me not to let you run over that boy?'
'Okay then, let's go' as she placed her feet on the pedals and I got ready for another push.
It was not about if she trusted me, it was about building her trust in herself and her ability to keep pedalling despite the risk of running over a toddler.
We were going faster, I was now half-running with her by her left side.
Then I raised my arms forward to show her: 'Look, no hands!'
'Are you still holding me?!' knowing she could not believe she's riding it by herself.
I ran faster than her and answered: 'Nope!'
Her being a student and I being the teacher. But even more so, I was glad we managed to get through as we felt happier that we did it together. We survived the day without frustration or disappointments. Her joy brought the inner child in me as I felt I also just achieved something for the first time. We are great as a team. It was when we gave me a huge hug that I realised it was all worth it.