I’M having flashbacks.

Cut to 2008 and I’m at the top of a fairground slide at the Coney Island in Luna Park in Sydney.

I am no good with heights but here I am at the top of what is, with hindsight, a really very small wooden slide, holding my mat and too scared to go over the edge.

The fairground attendant is starting to get frustrated – I’ve been frozen at the top for quite some time now – and asks me to go down the slide or, for crying out loud, move out of the way.

I can’t do it.

As I turn round to climb back down the stairs, clutching the straw mat to my chest, three children of about eight years old shoot past and fire themselves over the edge of the slide.

My humiliation is complete.

So here I am, back in 2019, at the top of what looks like an absolutely terrifyingly high ramp.

I am on a BMX bike and one of the country’s top cyclists is standing next to me, patiently ensuring me that I’ll be fine.

I love cycling and, as someone who commutes by bike, I feel like I can’t turn down the opportunity to try out one of the city’s other cycling options.

We’re spoiled in Glasgow, being as we are the only place in the UK that can host all four Olympic cycling disciplines.

And I’ve been asked to try out the Glasgow BMX Centre, which is touted by Glasgow Life as being world class.

Glasgow Life and Scottish Cycling have been giving pupils from schools in and around Knightswood, where the BMX Centre is housed, lessons with two specialist Glasgow Go-Ride coaches.

One of those coaches is Rab Wardell, who aimed, with his colleague Jim Goldie, to have more youngsters taking part in cycling activity, something that is not commonly happening in Glasgow schools.

Of 60 young people who took part, more than half are now accredited to ride the BMX track.

Rab could not be a better coach to start with.

Not only has he been a professional cycling coach since 2007, he’s also one of Scottish cycling’s best known names.

“We really want to grow the BMX scene in Scotland,” Rab said. “It’s a really fun sport and a really friendly scene, very welcoming.

“We also want to develop new talent, in the way that having the Velodrome has helped spot and grow new talent.”

I can’t claim to be new talent but I’m certainly willing to give BMX a try.

As Rab points me towards the bike I will be using for the session I suddenly realise I have absolutely no idea what BMX biking involves.

Why is the bike so small? What do you mean I don’t sit on the saddle?

Rab explains how to start off on the bike and how to turn corners. Off we go!

Or... off we don’t. I can’t do it. My muscles want to carry on the way I would on my normal hybrid bike.

My body is determined to sit down, no matter what my brain is telling it.

It takes a few tries but I finally get the hang of it.

Then it’s on to having a go at some moves – squatting down so my chin is nearly on the handlebars, standing up as tall as possible, leaning over as far to the right as I can and then leaning as far to the left.

I might look like an overbalanced elephant but my confidence is growing.

This is exactly what people learn when they take part in come and try sessions, which are running from now until at least next March.

There are also Rock Up & Ride sessions where people can come in on their own bikes to try out the track as well as female only sessions.

And next up for me is a go on the track.

I take a wobbly before I’ve even set off but a few words of encouragement from Rab – as well as a demonstration from him that I know I’ll not come close to matching – and it’s my turn.

There’s a lot to remember and, even as someone used to Glasgow’s potholes, the jumps and rollers along the track are a lot to take in.

The idea is not to peddle but to use momentum and bodyweight to keep the bike going smoothly.

It is hard. Really hard. I feel slightly sick and very sweaty but it’s exhilarating too, so different from my usual cycling experience.

“Glasgow is one of the best places to be a bike rider – the facilities on our doorstep are amazing,” Rab says when I mention that I cycle almost daily.

“There are great routes out of the city if you want to go somewhere quieter for a longer cycle; we have the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome; and we have the BMX track here.

“Glasgow is the only city that can host all the Olympic cycling disciplines and is one of only two cities in Britain with an eight metre starting track.

“We are spoiled for facilities, it is dream time to be honest.”

Now I have all the basics it’s time to really test myself.

We head to the top of the 3.5-metre start hill.

Rab shows me how to ride down it and, of course, makes it look really easy.

I’m seriously convinced this is going to be Luna Park take two and that I’ll be carrying my bike back down the stairs.

Rab says: “A lot of people are really tempted to try the tracks but once you’re at the top of the start hill it’s really big and people aren’t quite expecting it.

“So it’s normal to be nervous.”

I pluck up my courage. At the last second my courage fails. I go down the start hill sitting down with my feet on the ground.

I’m pretty happy with that effort but Rab urges me to push myself.

It takes maybe 15 minutes of false starts but I do it – down the hill, standing up.

I’m so proud of myself and amazed I’ve learned so much in such a short space of time.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be on my bike.

To find out how to get involved see: www.glasgowlife.org.uk/sport/venues/glasgow-bmx-centre/programme-and-timetable