In a triumph of old-fashioned new journalism, Sewell Chan details his agonizing struggle to master bike-riding
. His parents were not bikers, Father having been traumatized by a bike accident back in the old country, so Chan went without -- putting him in a "tiny minority" of Americans, a painful stigma -- until he was 18, at which point a friend helped him learn to ride. Okay, so that's not the triumph of the human spirit we were hoping for. At least Chan never resorted to professional bicycle-riding instructors such as those described in his article. One supplements his income as a photographer and Times article subject
by teaching cycling with a be-the-bicycle Zen pitch ("The movement of the bike is determined by the body language of the person"); the other "equips her students with elbow pads, knee pads, gloves and helmets," and if they can bear the shame of going out in public like that, teacher trains them on bikes without pedals until they earn
those pedals. Then, if they're good, they get a gel seat. Next week: the small but facinating community of New Yorkers who will teach you how to throw and catch a softball.