Sometimes people, children and adults alike, need the right encouragement to overcome their fears to achieve their goal. It’s just a matter of finding the right encouragement or in the case of Lucy in this story, the right incentive for the person to achieve their goal.
The Bike Lesson.
“Frank, I don’t have the car this week because your Dad’s on day shift. You’ll have to double your sister to school all week and bring her home,” said Mum.
“Why me? It’s always me,” Frank complained.
“Because your bike has a carrier,” Mum replied.
“It’s not fair. I hate giving her a ride. She wiggles around too much and worst of all, all my friends tease me,” Frank wailed.
“Until your sister learns to ride the little bike, you will have to double her to school now get going or you’ll be late,” said Mum.
We lived on a small farm near the town and had a two-mile ride to school.
All week, Frank doubled Lucy to school and all week, his friends teased him.
By the end of the week, Frank made a decision; his six-year-old sister would learn to ride that little yellow bike and he was the one who would teach her.
We had all tried to teach her. Mum tried to teach her to pedal. Holding the bike, she instructed Lucy to pedal. Her little legs, barely able to reach the pedals flailed around in every direction until Mum fell about laughing. That was the end of that lesson.
Dad hammered blocks of wood to the pedals to make it easier for her legs to reach them. “Don’t look at your feet; look straight ahead,” he said as he pushed her along. But when Dad let go, Lucy did look at her feet. The bike wobbled and she crashed into the apple tree. That was the end of that lesson.
My brother and I tried together. He steadied the handlebars and I clutched the back of the seat. Then we ran along beside, yelling ‘Pedal, pedal you just have to pedal.’ Letting go, the bike wobbled, Lucy whimpered, the bike wobbled some more and Lucy ended up in a howling heap on the concrete path. That was the end of that lesson.
Saturday morning, Dad was at work and Mum was busy collecting eggs in one of the hen-houses. Now was Franks chance to carry out his plan.
“I’ll give you five of my best marbles, Lucy,” Frank showed her a fist-full of his best marbles.
Lucy considered the deal. “Will you give me your king marble?” Frank hesitated. His king marble had been won in a hard-fought battle with Lewey Strachen the week before.
“O.K. But only if you are riding the bike by the time you get to the paddock.”
Lucy was still unsure.
“Come on, just have a go and if you fall it won’t hurt because you’ll just land on the grass.” Finally, she agreed.
“You coming, Sis?” Frank asked me.
“Nah, I’ll watch from here,” I replied, not willing to be part of yet another disastrous bike lesson.
Frank and Lucy trundled across the home paddock and up the grassy hill.
Returning to the house, Mum asked, “Where are the other two?”
“Up there,” I pointed to the top of the hill.
Looking up, we saw Lucy on the bike with Frank holding the handle bars, giving instructions.
“How did Frank convince Lucy to go with him?” Mum asked.
“He has his ways,” I smiled.
Frank gave the little bike a hefty push and Lucy and the bike began to barrel down the hill. Mum let out a cry of anguish. Lucy screamed. Her legs splayed out to the side, the bike wobbled. Lucy screamed some more, Mum stood frozen, her mouth open in a large ‘O’. Frank was running after Lucy, shouting, “Pedal, just pedal and steer.” Lucy began to pedal furiously. She straightened the handlebars and sailed down the hill. By the time she reached the flat ground, she was riding that bike like a pro. Mum and I ran to the paddock. Lucy rode a victory lap around the paddock, a large grin plastered on her face. As she came to a stop, Frank again held out his fistful of marbles. With glistening eyes, Lucy chose her reward.
“I’ll have these four and this beauty,” she said holding up the shiny king marble.
Mum smiled and hugged Frank.
After that, there was no stopping Lucy. She was on that bike every chance she got.
The following Christmas, she was given a pair of roller skates, but that’s another story.