Enter my Andover Cottage house counselor, Mr. Gorham, who happened to be the school’s wrestling coach. He also taught English at a public high school in a disadvantaged community one town over. During my senior year, my first in his house, I developed great respect for him. He cared about me and my fellow housemates — a diverse group from Orlando, Fla., Spearfish, S.D., upstate New York and everywhere in between — profusely.

I don’t remember exactly how, but one beautiful spring afternoon, as we chowed down on his delicious barbecue steak tips, he discovered my dark secret.

“We’re not letting you graduate until you figure this out,” he declared.

Mr. Gorham took out his retro bike. And that’s all he had to do. With the encouragement of my best buddies in the house, I took to the wheels. Behind me was one of Mr. Gorham’s former teaching assistants, visiting for the day, who generously wanted me to realize this new mission. She, too, had learned to ride untraditionally late in life and wished for a repeat performer in me.

As goes the tale for any aspiring rider, I fell — hard at first (once right in front of the school physician, who smirked as I ?explained the task at hand) — and soon I was bleeding from both elbows. But about two hours later, just as the sky was turning dusky, something miraculous happened: I stayed upright. It was a nearly two-decade-long delay, but the victory couldn’t have been sweeter.