Sarah Lysne: The joy of riding a bike, with a helmet

Published 6:30 am Saturday, June 26, 2021

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When I was about five years old, my parents bought me a blue Schwinn bike.

My dad put training wheels on it for a while, but then we kept practicing.

One day my dad was holding onto the back fender of the bike and running behind me as I tried to balance without my training wheels.          

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I didn’t realize it, but he let go. When I looked back and saw that I was balancing on my own, I  panicked, but  the initial fear turned to joy.

As an adult, I’ve never been a bike enthusiast, but when my daughter moved back to Austin a couple of years ago, we decided to start biking together.

I took my old bike down to the bike shop to get new brakes on it.

I had recently been diagnosed with ALS, and it was apparent that even though I had new hand brakes, they were going to be hard for me to use because the ALS was making my fingers weaker.

I decided not to give up on biking with my daughter, instead, I treated myself to a new bike.  I bought a townie.  It is a retro style bike with pedal brakes.  The best part about the townie is that it was a pretty pink color with a white seat.

I took it home and started riding around the neighborhood.

One day I saw a five year old girl with her family, and we almost looked like twins.  We both had pink bikes, pink helmets, and I was wearing a pink t- shirt.

I felt a little bit silly, but I still liked my bike, and I decided it is okay for adults to have pink bikes too.

My daughter and I had lots of fun biking together.  We checked out some of the trails in Austin, and spent one afternoon enjoying the trails in Lanesboro, Minnesota.

One day I decided to ride my bike to visit a friend. It was a beautiful fall day, and as I rode down the street, I decided my pink bike was one of the best investments I have ever made.

After visiting my friend, I got on my bike and coasted down her driveway, but unfortunately I was going a little too fast. I tried to use my brakes, but when I put my feet down, my bike rocked back and forth.  I suddenly fell to the ground.  My helmet stayed on my head, but it bounced as it hit the pavement..

I hate to think what would have happened if he hadn’t been wearing my helmet.

My friend wanted me to call the clinic.  After talking with a nurse and reviewing all the symptoms  of a concussion, it was clear that I was fine. My helmet had saved the day.

My daughter and I decided that our bike riding trips would be over.  The ALS was affecting my balance.  I was a little bit sad, but we still exercise by walking her dog together.

I know that sometimes in life we have to give up things that we thought were important, but I realized that the only important thing is enjoying time with my daughter.