I am grateful to have had a lovely summer, including lots of time to read (preferably outside, which is a summertime must for me), but I am most excited to tell you how a lifelong summer pastime ventured into new territory with my “pedal assist” bicycle, an e-bike.
Bike riding is the best. When you are young, and master the skill of riding a bike, it is the universal emblem of independence. You have wheels. You can move. You have freedom! That feeling never goes away. It’s just plain fun!
So now technology has made one of my favourite things to do even more enjoyable. I could never have imagined that invisible electronics, building on my own pedalling strength, would so greatly enhance the biking experience. I discovered that when I want to pedal my bike like normal, I can continue just riding along on my own steam. When I come to an incline, or I am tired, I can get the boost I need by pressing a button. Most often, I take myself to a pleasant level of cruising, and then I get a little help to go even farther.
So, here we are ready and eager to start a new school year. I can feel the energy in this room hinting that this year just might be the ride of our lives. We all start together, but individually we will set our speed and direction. Our enthusiasm and excitement will swerve to balance even the tiniest wobbles. Soon, we will find that common goals and interests have us riding along with company.
There are times when we will seem to race along as each successful experience builds up speed and establishes a satisfying cruise mode. The steady growth of our confidence and resilience will take us faster and farther. Eventually, we will choose to park our bikes and take time to rest and reflect.
Of course, we all have a basket on our bikes for this little break. It may be the right moment to take some things out of our baskets that are no longer needed. We constantly change the variety of skills and ideas we carry along so that they are ready and waiting for just the right moment.
Sooner or later, we will get to an unexpectedly challenging stretch, a steep hill, or perhaps an obstacle in our path. That’s when we access our “pedal assist” mode, which is our Balmoral Hall School community. No matter what, we can find a willing rider amongst students and teachers to provide that needed boost of inspiration and support.
Most of the time, we will just keep pedalling, as that’s what continues to bring us both joyful independence and welcome company on our amazing ride.
We each create our own version of moving forward powered by determination and refined by confidence — yes, it’s just plain fun!
Are we ready to get started?! There’s a lot of work to be done. Expectations have been set, but that's no problem. We have not forgotten that belief in ourselves, patience, teamwork, and learning from our mistakes can only propel us forward. We know how to learn. We remember achievement. After all, it’s just like riding a bike!