As I was going for a long via the canal, I saw two cyclists, a man and a woman, ahead. The woman told me to walk ahead. She said she's quite new to cycling and didn't want to slow me down. Her comment made me stop. I told her that I never had a bicycle as a child so I never learned to cycle. The woman, who looked in her forties, said she only learned to cycle two years ago, but she's been too scared to practise. She said she was very nervous.
"Well, you're my inspiration," I patted her shoulder. "Keep going!"
The woman pointed to another guy on a cycle ahead who was waiting for them.
"See, this woman can't cycle either," she told her friend.
The frightened look on her face as she cycled away had me in stitches.
As I continued my walk, I noticed how the cyclists were so confident. One cyclist had one hand on the bar and another texting on his mobile. I wonder how long it's going to take my friend to get to that level?
After I had been walking for about 10 minutes, I came across the woman and her two friends patiently beside her.
"I didn't expect to see you again!" I teased her.
"I told you, I'm a bit nervous," she chuckled.
"At least you can cycle," I said. "It's a matter of gaining confidence."
"I bet when you learn to cycle you'll learn quickly," she said. "It takes me ages to learn anything."
"I believe in you!" I said. "Remember, you are my inspiration. If you can do it, I can do it."
We chatted for a few minutes about canal boats. She said she and her partner were interested in buying one some day.
As they cycled off, I shouted to her, "I don't expect to see you again!"
I went into a park and relaxed on a bench for about half an hour. When I left the park and continued my walk I thought of my friend and wondered how she was doing. A guy cycling by smiled and said hello. I returned his smile. It was then I realised he was a friend of the lady cyclist who was a few yards behind. She told me they'd cycled a fair distance.
"Well done!" I said.
"Take care," she said, as she and her friends cycled away.
You never know when you're being an inspiration to someone.
One day I'll learn to cycle but not today.
Related articles: My Reluctant Hero; Inspiration - Revisited; The Ordinary is Extraordinary; Cherished Memories