Yes its true 40 years old and unable to ride a bike.
Today’s Sunday bike ride took us just a short 4kms out of town to the old unused Battambang airport.
The airport used to be busy back when Battambang, as the second biggest city, wasn’t connected to Siem Reap by road. It was also in heavy use by the Khmer Rouge. Now it is still an open airport but I imagine it has been a long time since a plane landed here.
Today there were a few people using the runway like us, with bikes, cars, and motos. There was small drink stall and a few army representatives who are permanently stationed here. You can read more about the airport here in an article in the Phnom Penh Post.
But today it was to be my classroom.
Its quite weird to be on a runway, its not a usual experience, unless you are in a small procession walking your way to a waiting plane. So it was kind of eerie and odd.
We were with our friends Roley and Kim who graciously let me borrow their bikes to learn on, as we had of course traveled to the airport on the tandem. I had watched a few videos about teaching adults to learn to ride a bicycle. So I had the seat super-low and was ready to scoot. But with all the ‘practice’ on the tandem I felt ready to pedal straight away.
I’ve tried in the past to ride a bike and always struggled with the basics, things like going straight, turning and stopping. The wide open space on the runway was very forgiving, allowing me the space to wobble and muddle my way along.
The whole experience got my heart racing, it was fun and scary and exciting all at once. But surprisingly I was getting the hang of it. I’m not quite in the yellow jersey yet and I still have a lot of practice to do, things to learn, like taking my hand off the handle bars to signal a turn (without wobbling); judging the distance for stopping etc. But I reckon I was getting the hang of it!
So I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks! Time for practice, practice and more practice. The idea of being on the open road, with traffic and other things to worry about is still a horrifying prospect, but hopefully (for Lee’s sake) I’ll get there!