Okay, maybe not two months. Maybe more like two weeks, or hopefully two hours, if I’m lucky, but still! This morning I decided to start working on linking up my pathetic little tricks, in the hopes that by October I’d have some kind of n00b mini-combo to do at the Texas jam. I was thinking something along the lines of riding into a track stand, then maybe squeak that around a little bit, then into a backwards steamroller, then back into a track stand, then ride out. Ta Da!

Linking the track stand to the backwards steamroller seemed like a good starting place, so I started out by trying to swing the frame around in front of me, because I thought that might look flashier and thus less lame. As I was toiling away on the link up, I expressed my concern that maybe my goals were overly ambitious considering the limited time frame and considering that I still can’t do ride-ins for anything, nor can I really squeak at all, unless you consider one tiny little roll followed by 3 minutes of precarious balancing, followed by one more tiny little roll into a face plant to be squeaking. I consider it more to be painful and embarrassing.

So Dan suggested that perhaps it would be easier to just link the tricks by grabbing the seat with my right hand and just twisting around to face the bike, and then I’m all set to just lift straight up into a backwards steamroller. Great idea, right? Well, as it would happen, I’ve been using my LEFT hand to grab the seat the whole time I was learning fork glides and working on backwards steamrollers. So I start to say, “Oh, well, I use my other hand, I’ll just learn the link-up I was planning to learn, because it’ll take just as long to learn to use my left hand,” when Dan says, “Oh, I see you use the wrong hand to grab the seat. Yeah, I do that, too.”

Wrong hand? What’s this “wrong hand” business of which you speak? “You mean because I can’t grab the brakes?” I ask. “Well,” says Dan, “if you don’t grab the seat with the hand opposite your peg foot, then you can’t do stuff like swing your leg over the bars to get into a funky chicken, for example. You’re really supposed to grab the seat with the opposite hand, not the hand on the same side as your peg foot. But whatever. You’ll just figure out another way to do stuff.” As he’s saying this, he demos the leg swinging into the funky chicken move. And of course, he can’t figure out any reasonable alternative. And he says, “yeah, it might be kind of a problem. Hm.” And then he went back to what he was working on.

So instead of working on the link-ups, I spent 45 minutes today trying to re-learn how to grab the seat in a fork glide with my opposite hand. Ugh. It’s still pretty spastic, but it seems like I’m picking it up a lot faster than when I first started learning it the WRONG way, so hopefully after another day or so I’ll have it figured out. Sigh. I guess the lesson here is to make sure I’m learning stuff right the first time, and think about how the foundational tricks parlay into the more difficult ones BEFORE I learn the foundational ones.

July 9, 2008


old and n00b

July 5, 2008

I’m an ancient 35 year old, and I’m just starting to learn to ride flatland bmx. Unlike most people my age, I’m really starting from scratch, not returning to riding after a long break.

It’s a little discouraging starting out so old, because most riders I see are 10 years younger than I am and have been riding for 15 years already. By the time I get 15 years of riding under my belt, I’ll be 50. Oof. But I figure I’ll be 50 in 15 years one way or another (knock on wood). I can be 50 and riding, or be 50 and always wish I’d learned to ride. So I’m learning. 🙂

We’ve been riding at a basketball court about 3 blocks from our house that nobody uses. It’s not the greatest spot; it has some pretty big grassy seams, some rough spots where goals used to be, and a huge semi-permanent puddle in the middle, but on the plus side, it’s close to the house, has a Mighty Oak Tree for shade at one end, and it’s on a busy enough street that hopefully armed robberies will be kept to a minimum. I’m slightly paranoid that my brand new bike will be stolen before I get the chance to wear it out. :s

We did some reconnaissance today, and found some promising parking lots at UNO and some abandoned tennis courts out by the lake, so an expedition may be in order for next weekend. But for everyday riding, I’ll be sticking with the trusty neighborhood basketball court.