B balances himself on my podunk 10 speed I lovingly named “Nightmare” years before I met him; his big boxy frame lurched over the handle bars like he’s operating turrets in a war. He’s giggling, trying to pedal the contraption he never quite mastered as a kid. While I don’t believe he will ever love cycling like I do, his willingness to learn inspires me. It’s cold and I want to go in the house, but instead I watch-half to make sure he doesn’t get hurt, and the other half to revel in his boyishness.
When people say something is “like riding a bike” they mean once you know how, you never forget. Not “until you figure it out, you will be at square one every time you try.” They don’t tell you how taxing the whole process is. Since most of us learn as kids, we hardly remember it.
Because of this, watching my 30 year old boyfriend maneuver his way about the whole process is intimate. Though it’s not quite an insecurity of his, it’s something you wouldn’t expect from someone who holds 3 leadership positions, is a tenured teacher, a home owner, can deadlift well over my body weight, and is highly respected in everything he does. B can do anything, and will do anything that he wants. He wants to conquer this not because he’s particularly enamored with cycling, but just so he can say that he can or that he can at least see whatever I see whenever I take my wheels for a spin.
When the streets are quiet and it’s just me and the open road, despite the tread below her wheels, Nightmare makes me feel like I’m soaring. As I watch B in all his goofy glory in the back alley behind our garage, I am mesmerized by how patient he is with himself. I can’t wait to see him fly.