Here’s a question I occasionally get: is it easy to balance? Answer: yes, once it’s in motion. It’s the getting started and the stopping that’s tricky. When I started riding this bike, I was really worried about tipping it over, and then it happened. And we are all okay. Learn from me, but you’ll do it too.
1. The gutter is a bad place to stop (also a bad place to ride). Roads are “crowned,” meaning they slope down from the middle to the edge. They are not flat. I don’t know this, but it really seems like the edge is the steepest. The first time I dumped the bike, I had pulled over to the side of the road so I could help a sleeping baby whose head was lolling. I got off the bike just fine, but while I was putting the center stand down, the bike tipped away from me (the direction of the crown) and then it was gone, the kids were on the ground, and the baby was awake.
2. A heavy load gets squirrelly on under-inflated tires. We were leaving the park, where the first thing I had to do was make a 90-degree corner onto a narrow sidewalk. The bike was swerving all over, so I missed the turn, overcorrected, and spilled the kids in front of a bunch of people who had been asking me about my bike. I made the kids walk until we got to where I’d have more room to maneuver, and two miles later, a half mile from home, I had a flat and we walked the rest of the way.
3. It’s more damaging to the ego than anything else. We stopped for a 1000-mile selfie on a little hill. I rocked the bike off of the center stand, and lost control of it, and there were kids on the ground again.
Which brings me to our most recent incident, last Saturday. First I got a wobble I couldn’t control, for our first fall while moving (slowly, we were going around a corner). Then, about a half mile later, I pulled over in front of the parish rectory, which happens to be at the top of the hill, to disconnect the bike I was towing so our now-7yo could bike the rest of the way home. I stopped right there next to the gutter, and, well, see #1.
And then our parish priest worked me into the homily. Humility. It’s good for you.