Adam, Age 12, Easton, CT

I breathed in the afternoon air; this was it, the moment of truth. I, a six year old, brown haired boy, was sitting on a dark blue bicycle. I was extremely nervous, with my over sized helmet falling over my forehead, and my tiny shoes barely touching the sidewalk. “Do you want a push?” my dad asked. I looked up. There was my dad, towering over me. “Do you, or do you not want a push to start off?” he repeated.

“Sure” I replied. I readied myself; this was it. A week ago I had managed to ride up the street and back with training wheels. This time, I was without training wheels. The circuit would start at my driveway. I would then turn left and travel down the sidewalk for two houses before turning into one of the houses, do a U-turn, and travel back to the house safely. Could I do it? I wasn’t so sure.

The plan was simple. My dad would push me forward, giving me the speed I needed to gain control. “Ready?” my dad asked. I nodded solemnly. “Ok, 5, 4, 3,” Already doubt was creeping into my mind, but I pushed it out. 𔄚, 1” A surge of speed coursed through my dad’s hands, into my bike, and I was off like a rocket. The speed was so great that I had to swerve to not go sailing off the sidewalk! When I regained control, a wave of triumph surged through my body. I had done it. I would do it! However, with my joy, the squeak of my feet turning the pedals ceased, and my speed rapidly decreased, and with it, my control over the bike. I swerve once, twice! I took one last swerve; and the bike came out from under me. For a millisecond, I hung in the air before plummeting onto my own bike. Soon, I was on the ground, tears running down my cheeks, and slashed knee to my chest.

Two days later, I was attempting the same thing. This time I had devised what at my age would have been described as a clever scheme. Instead of having my dad push me, I would simply pedal down the driveway, turn, and continue on my course. My dad was there, in case I injured myself again. I would soon be happy that he was there. My scar on my left knee had mostly healed, but still was stiff with the bandage on it. I then took a deep breath, let it out, and started pedaling. From the start, I knew something was wrong. Then I realized that the driveway was sloped downward! I was going too fast! I tried to turn at the sidewalk, but I went right past it into the street! I attempted to twist the handlebars, succeeding to turn the bike back toward the sidewalk, but at an angle. My dad saw what was going to happen and shouted, “Stop!” But I just kept going. When the bike hit the bump that separated sidewalk and street, it jolted upwards before falling on its side. I, on t he other hand, soared over the handlebars, did a full flip, and landed on my back in the lawn. My dad was running towards me, and saltwater was released in torrents from my eyes.

Later that day, I was at it again. I had learned from my mistakes. This time, I would let the driveway allow my bike to pick up speed. Once again I inhaled a deep breath, and pushed off. As I picked up speed I banked sharply to the left, and on my way. As I began pedaling down the beige, concrete sidewalk, I realized, “I’m doing it! I’m actually doing it!” I smelled pine, twisted, and saw pine trees whipping past in green blur. My hands began gripping the rubber handlebars extremely tight, so I wouldn’t lose control and crash. I began breathing heavily to keep up with the rhythmic pedaling of my feet. I turned into the neighbor’s driveway, braking slightly as I completed the U-turn. And then I was on the home stretch. I pedaled faster, feeling the wind whip past my face. My dad was waiting for me, arms outstretched; a huge grin plastered crossed his face. When I reached him, I braked to a stop, then jumped off the bike and hugged him tight. Then he looked into my eyes and said, “Great job son, great job”..

My mom was so proud of me; she cooked up a dinner of spaghetti, meatballs, and sausage. I sat there at the oak dining table, sauce dripping form my mouth, thinking. “Want some more meatballs?” my mom asked.. I nodded. It was then I realized it, and I still remember it today, that if I put my mind to something, and keep on trying even after I failed, I could do wonders.

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