Lisa and Adura Lansiquot are some of Cycles for Change’s most recent Learn-to-Ride graduates. Having taken the classes in June and July 2016, they are still just learning how to handle a bicycle. But these Minnesota sisters, who are originally from the Caribbean, are learning more than just how to balance, pedal, and turn—they are learning about freedom, safety, and fun.
Like a lot of other Learn-to-Ride (LTR) students, Lisa found the classes offered by Cycles for Change simply by Googling for them. “I had a boyfriend that taught me how to ride about seven years ago and it was just for a summer,” she said. “Then my sister wanted to learn how to ride so I signed both of us up. In between that time I never rode so it was good for me to try again.”
Adura, having never even touched a bike prior to just a few months ago, marvels at both the struggles she had and the progress she made during the class. “I just couldn’t place my feet [on the pedals] after I learned my balance,” she recalled. “I could put my left foot on, but it was hard to put my right foot on the pedal. It was hard to move it forward. I just kept doing it and practiced at home.”
And practicing at home in between the four sessions of their LTR class proved to be very beneficial for these sisters. “After I learned how to pedal, it still didn’t feel great, so we got bikes for ourselves before our last class so we could practice on our own,” Adura said.
Not only that, but they weren’t afraid to admit they needed more than the four class sessions with the LTR instructors. “I think a lot of people give up on balancing after the first class because they don’t get it right away and feel stupid,” Adura said. “But they need to realize the method [the instructors use] really works. You need to be able to do the balancing on your own. It takes longer for some people. For me, I needed more than four classes to be able to turn on the bike,” she continued. “But still, if you add it up, it only took us about seven hours to learn to ride!” added Lisa.
This year, C4C was able to offer extra time to those needing a few more sessions. “I think seeing us there for more sessions helped the other people at the class who might’ve been struggling because we needed more time and it made it okay for them to need more time, too,” said Adura. “We talked to a couple of the new students. Told them Just do it! By the fourth class you might need longer, but stick with it, because it works,” Lisa recalled.
Now that the official LTR classes are over for them, Lisa and Adura continue their practicing. “We have bikes and we ride them a few times a week,” Adura said. “When you’re learning to ride, you don’t realize all the muscles you use to go up hills. We are doing a bit at home to get used to it and are going further every time. I started going just to the corner [of my block], and then halfway around the block, and then all the way around the block.”
It’s a process of progressing. Every block further they ride and every next turn of the wheel brings these sisters to new adventures and experiences. “You notice stuff more [on a bicycle]; we are outside more,” Adura marveled. “It’s a different way of getting to where you want to go,” Lisa smiled.
It’s a kind of freedom you only get on a bicycle.