Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How to ride through the bicycle of life

I went for a course on learning how to ride a bicycle recently. The course last for 2 days and I just completed the course on Monday. It was great! The experience is well worth the money ($190 per person, including rental of bikes) and is further enhanced by the fact that I'm doing it together with my wife. Coincidentally, both of us didn't manage to learn how to ride a bicycle when we're younger. Kind of rare actually, considering that most people will learn how to ride one during their childhood, so what's the chances of finding a couple who both can't ride a bicycle? Practically zero, I bet.

Anyway, it's good to put yourself in the shoes of a humble newbie again. When we're good at something and we've been doing it again and again for a lot of times, we lost touch with something magical - the joy of doing something for the first time.

I learnt a few things that might be applicable to life in general.

Bullythebear learned how to cycle, and miraculously found how to
ride through the bicycle of life 

1. Learn how to move slower before you move faster

The coach removed all the paddles of the bicycle when we first started. The idea is to paddle by pushing your feet on the ground, so that you can control the bike and learn how to balance before you start paddling. It was such a simple strategy but I wondered why nobody told me that before. All the well meaning advice from people trying to teach me how to cycle is that I should paddle and move as fast as I can. But I never managed to put both feet on the paddles before the bicycle leaned way out of my control and I've to start again.

Trying to save a substantial amount? Try a smaller amount first. Trying to get a huge passive income? Try getting a smaller one first. A journey of a thousand miles begin with just one humble step.

2. Lean towards the side you're going to fall on

Again, another simple instruction that nobody had told me before. I had a preconceived idea that I must steer the bicycle away from the direction that my bicycle is leaning towards i.e. if the bicycle leans left, I must steer right. How wrong am I! I need to steer towards the direction that I'm falling so that my bicycle remains upright! Quite counter-intuitive, I must say.

Are you running away from your fears? Maybe you should face it head on instead.

3. To keep your balance, keep paddling

Once the basics of balancing without paddling is mastered, balancing and paddling at the same time becomes that bit easier. If you keep paddling, it'll be easier to maintain balance. How interesting! Another counter-intuitive action. You would have expected that by keeping still, you'll maintain stability, but who would know instinctively that by moving continuously, you'll also be able to keep your stability?

Next big project, learning how to ride a motorbike :)


Derek said...

Hi LP,

Very inspiring post. The same can be said of me, how many at my age still don't have a driving license? LoL

My resolution is to get my class 3 this year. Cya in the driving circuit. ;)

financialray said...

I would caution against riding a motorbik. You wouldn't want to pay for others' mistakes.

My 15HWW said...

Hi LP,

Do you find the course worth it (i.e. you can cycle now?)

Would be glad to find out since my wife doesn't know how to cycle (despite my constant encouragement) and I guess an official course for beginners could be a good catalyst =)

Unknown said...

Hi LP,

Mind sharing the contact for the course? Thank you in advance. :)

la papillion said...

Hi Derek,

Haha, indeed, not many people at your age still can't drive :) I learnt it quite late too, when I was 31 yrs old :)

I find that older drivers are more steady and also less stressful because though expensive, the cost of the driving course is still manageable since we're earning an income. Not so when we're getting pocket money and also spending a lot of money on driving. To cost of failure is rather high and that adds to the stress level. Good luck!

la papillion said...

Hi financialray,

I'll still learn it though, and whether eventually I'll get a motorbike and ride on a road is yet another decision. I'll take the chance during the learning phase to decide if motorbike is for me. Thanks for your advise though :)

la papillion said...

Hi 15HWW,

Yes! The course is well worth it. I've tried learning from friends who had bicycle but they are not really good at teaching me how to do it. The usual instruction is to just paddle and somehow you'll be able to do it. Maybe my motivation isn't there but after 2 separate tries of learning, I was willing to give up on learning how to cycle altogether. Glad I found out about this course and signed up for it. I'm learning together with my wife, so it's a good date with her while learning something new. In the future, we can do more sports activity together too...very well worth the money.

la papillion said...

Hi Antony,

Sure! Here's the site: http://bikeschool.sg/frequently-asked-questions/

If you sign up for 1, it'll be a little more costly. 2 will be cheaper. If you bring your own bike, will also be cheaper too. If not, you'll have to rent it from the coach :)

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


This is a post for those who find life boring and meaningless!

We don't have to learn para-sailing or scuba diving to feel invigorated.

Just doing something new like jogging, playing a musical instrument, or learning a new language keeps us young ;)

Have fun with your next challenge in motorcycle!

You Harley hell-angel you!

I got by class 2B during NS. Never ridden a single day on the road; but I had fun!

I smoked only; didn't inhale. LOL!

la papillion said...


Haha, you had it when you're so young! Btw, I'm not harley davidson hell angel type, that's more for my wife, lol! I'm more of the Vespa kind - low key, small, quiet :)

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


You into Vespa too?

I guess my fetish for Vespa is due to the round bottoms and curves.

One day I'll get a red Vespa. It's not Ferrari; but hey! It's red and it's Italian! Good enough for me :)

Don't mind I advertise an old post between me and my scooter hor:


It's mature in content. So those under 18 don't visit ;)

la papillion said...


Haha, I'm into vespa because of the off-beat colours and the curves as well :) Surprising I'm not into cars, more into bikes. But as all well meaning family and friends would say that it's dangerous and all, so I didn't get to try it at all. Until now, that is. I decided I should try it for myself and learn it first. If it doesn't suit me, at least I tried :)

Get it now lah, wait for what? Can make your life more enjoyable!

Anonymous said...

Ha! Ha!
" If you keep paddling, it'll be easier to maintain balance. "
It's analogous to what you are doing to your assets and cash. Stop paddling for too long (keep your money in the bank for too long), you will fall into the "poor house". Just like you will fall from your bicycle.

la papillion said...

Hi Temperament,

Yes! It can also be applied to a lot of things in life regarding changes. Paradoxically, changes are important for continuity. The moment we stop changing, the world will move on without us.