Monday, August 23, 2010

JJ & Ride of Her Life

Two Sundays ago, after Mia and I finished our respective long runs on a Sunday morning, I received a text message from Andrew informing me that there were several newly-arrived road bikes at the Tanjung Aru shop. So after breakfast, we decided to check out the bike shop. Unfortunately, we were too excited about the bikes, we forgot that JJ was in the car with us.

When we arrived at the bike shop, we saw the Meridas and began asking the shop keeper about some technical stuff. But while we were busy checking out the bikes, JJ was also busy surveying the wide range of bikes there. It wasn't long for her to fall in love with a green-coloured bike. Now to be quite honest, I was somewhat outdated on bike prices. I was thinking like perhaps RM100 to RM200 for a kid's bike. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw the price tag of RM450 on the bike.

I turned to Mia and sort of told her to do her thing. She negotiated with the shopkeeper, and then later I joined in the negotiation. In the end, we managed to bring down the price to RM370. I thought it was still expensive for a kid's bike, but looking at JJ's pleading eyes and the smile on the face, I melted and I knew that I was gonna be RM370 poorer that day. As soon as the price was agreed, Mia turned to me and nodded her head, indicating that that's where I come in!

But JJ had to wait for the whole of the following week to actually try out her new bike. We promised to bring her on Saturday or Sunday. So every night throughout the week, when she arrived home, she would check out her bike, just to make sure that it's still intact.

In the mean time, remembering how it was when I first learned to ride a bike as a boy many years ago, I thought it's a good idea to buy some safety stuff. I can't even remember if they had such things as knee guards and elbow guards when I was a boy. Anyway, I became another RM120 poorer after that.

Saturday evening, we were unable to keep our promise because it was raining. JJ was in danger of missing her first bike lesson the next day because of the rain. At about 2:30pm in the afternoon, it was still drizzling, but of course JJ was blind to the rain. She stepped out into the open on our compound and yelled, "Look, dad, there's no rain!"

I said, "Yeah, right—even if it's pouring now, you would say it's not raining!"

And then shortly later, the rain really stopped completely. So mom, dad and JJ quickly got into the car and drove to the sports complex. On the way there, JJ was already busy putting on her helmet, and all those silly paddings on her knees and elbows, complete with a pair of gloves too.

The road surface at the complex was still wet, of course, but at least it wasn't raining. So dad installed JJ onto the bike and had to hold on to the seat from behind while JJ started pedalling and balancing. She was unsteady at first, but at least she did not fall off the bike. In hindsight, I think all those protective gears were kinda silly! I must say that JJ was a fast learner—I was quite surprised because she's not known to be naturally talented when it comes to her motor skill.

That's JJ in full concentration on the bike's handle. As in the case of her mom, I had to keep reminding her that there's a purpose for the brakes on the bike. As a boy learning to ride a bike many years ago, I can still remember all the cuts and bruises on my knees and elbows. But of course the playboy was not around to chase after me, holding on to the bike, for a good few hundred metres to prevent me from falling off the bike. Thankfully though JJ very quickly became comfortable on the bike. So we just let her go totally on her own!

After a few minutes, JJ was more relaxed on the bike and was actually able to lift her head to look in front of her. The car park area at the sports complex was quite spacious, and JJ spent a while riding round and round while dad and mom became the fools running after her, but keeping our distance shouting instructions and taking pictures.

Then came the horrifying part where JJ did not want to stop playing with her bike. A little bit longer, a little bit longer, a little bit longer!

It's been raining mostly over Saturday and Sunday. So I was unable to run that morning. But earlier on, I made plans to go running with Dr Peter from the Likas track up the Signal Hill to Jalan Istana and then back to Likas again. That was not a very long run, but I dreaded the thought of the hills. So running after JJ like that did not accord well with my plan for the evening.

And then God showed some mercy on me by bringing back the rain. So JJ had to stop her biking lesson. Oh you should have seen that smile on her face! And as you would probably have guessed, she has not stopped talking about her very first bike ride up to now!

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