I must have been about six or seven when the training wheels came off my bike. I remember with absolute clarity the feeling of absolute control as my small frame first teetered, wobbled, then zoomed around the neighborhood. What is less clear to me is how many times I fell after the “L” shaped brackets with the little wheels came off. But it was time for them to come off. I had places to go as a kid and training wheels were holding me back. The pain of falling was dwarfed by the amazing feeling of the wind in my hair (I guess bike helmets were not invented yet in 1969) and the freedom that comes along with being a big boy on two wheels. I was off and rolling, feeling in charge, confident, and moving in the right direction. Had I not let go of the training wheels I would have never experienced so many of the amazing opportunities and freedoms that being a two-wheeler offers.
What are some training wheel moments in your life? There is nothing wrong with having training wheels, but at some point, it’s time to let go so you can go beyond making small circles in your cul-de-sac. Not much can compare to going full spin on the open road atop a shiny red Schwinn with a white striped banana seat. Plus, it’s hard to look cool with your mom standing behind you, holding onto the sissy bar screaming, “Pedal faster Dougie, faster!”
Additionally, think about who is behind you, helping you make your way, cheering, encouraging and applauding as you roll forward in your journey towards success. Little can compare to the enthusiasm and jubilation you experience when you celebrate victory with the very person that helped you achieve it. It may appear as though there is only one success, but you actually have two. First, your success, riding off into the great beyond. Second, your supporters success, without which you would not have been able to achieve your goal. There is a deep feeling a satisfaction knowing you are helping someone achieve a milestone as they reach a level of independence.
I look back to when my kids first started peddling on their own, and I am sure I was just as excited (if not more) as they were, when they finally got the hang of it and I could let go. As a matter of fact, it was absolutely a Kleenex moment for me.
Look for opportunities to be supporter, a sissy bar holder, and a mentor to someone in need of your help. No matter where you are in life, if you turn around, there is someone behind you that wants to get where you are, and do what you do. There are many others that could use your help to get up and rolling. Your support may be all they need before their training wheels come off. It’s a great opportunity for you to give back to the future.
Whether you are on the bike with training wheels about to take your first jittery, unbalanced, independent ride, or supporting someone in that position, know that without one, we could not have the other. Little wins and 3 second successes turn into huge victories and miles and miles of road covered. As you look down the road, I will be the guy holding the box of tissues, ready to celebrate your win, regardless of you being on the bike or running behind it, yelling, “You can do it!”