One Reason Why It’s O.K. to Stop Riding a Bike – or to Stop Anything Else

Sometimes when we start to learn something new or try to get better at something, it isn’t always easy. But, if we feel a desire to become better at that something, we persevere.

Last month, an adult student* booked a Learn to Ride session so he could ride a bike with his girlfriend during an upcoming trip in a bicycle-friendly town. (This is actually a very common reason why some adult students decide to learn how to ride.)

And, so, the days leading up to the our session were filled with “I’m so excited” texts in anticipation. On the day of, we got right to it, and he was progressing quite well. He had learned how to start on his own, how to pedal, how to use the brakes properly, and he was able to make a wide turn.

We were working on how to properly shift and I was about to transition into making tighter turns when all of a sudden, my student asked, “Is it O.K. if I quit now?”

We were halfway through the session, and as his coach it’s my responsibility to confirm that the reason(s) for quitting was not out of fear or fatigue.

So I asked a few questions.

“Are you sure you want to quit?” I asked. “May I ask why?”

“I realize I’m doing this for the wrong reason,” he said. “And, the amount of time it will take me to get to the level I need to be at by next week isn’t realistic.”

Regardless of whether I agreed with him, I really wanted to support him and again, to make sure that he wouldn’t regret walking away mid-lesson.

And, after a bit more talking, he said he just didn’t want to do it and didn’t enjoy it. He even asked me if I knew where he could donate his helmet.

Has this feeling ever come over you?

When you just aren’t having fun doing something that your friend or significant other is wild about doing? And at the beginning of the learning adventure you got excited about doing it to build connection, but then slowly realized you didn’t enjoy it?

We have all been there! For me, it’s bailing early on a terrible book assigned during any given month for my book group. LOL. Time is too precious to be miserable doing anything that isn’t vital.

So, after congratulating him for progressing as far as he did, I suggested that he hold onto to his helmet. I told him he never had to ride another bike again if that’s what he wanted. But, I did share the idea of trying out riding on the back of a tandem bicycle while his girlfriend takes the lead. Just once. You know, for fun.

*Details changed to protect the student’s privacy.

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