The Backwards Brain Bicycle

The other day my friend Pete shared with me the video, The Backwards Brain Bicycle.

I watched it, at times stunned, saying to myself, “Yes! This is how my brain works.”

The video shows what happens when an experienced bicycle rider tries to ride a backwards bicycle. Meaning, when you turn the handle bar to the left, the wheel goes right and when you turn the handle bar to the right, the wheel goes left.

It sounds like a simple experiment but if you watch the video you will see how difficult and frustrating it is to ride a backwards bicycle.

It takes the host, Destin, 8 months of practicing everyday to learn how to ride. However, Destin’s 6 year old son learns how to ride the backwards bicycle in only two weeks. Proving that a child’s brain is more plastic than an adults.

The effects of my brain damage began at 33 and things I once did so easily, like running, I suddenly struggled with and had to relearn.

I know what running is. What it looks like. What it feels like. Sometimes I can do it. And other times I can’t. Every step is different for me. But like Destin proves in the video, “knowledge does not equal understanding.”

Explaining how my brain works (or doesn’t work) is often frustrating.

I mean– I can still do some complicated things.

I can track a baseball, hit a baseball, catch a baseball, and throw a baseball. Yet I struggle to walk in a straight line or stand still for a few seconds.

But if you think about it– you and I are just science experiments. Lab rats with thumbs. Great mysteries attempting to explain and solve ourselves, often with nervous laughter or a deep sigh, as we feel the deep human dread of being misunderstood.

Be well,


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