Last summer, my then five-year-old son refused to get on his big-boy bike. He was scared to death of the off-kilter training wheels. These little devices are supposed to instill confidence, not freak your kid out. But, because they were so far unbalanced, he was terrified he might fall those death-defying 18 inches to the ground. So, instead of the big-boy bike, he spent the summer careening down our driveway on his sister’s old pink and purple big wheel. It did the job. He loved it.
The other night, we were headed out for some ice cream at the neighborhood ice cream stand, that had just reopened for the season, As we were headed out of the garage, he spotted his big-boy bike. He got on it. This one doesn’t have training wheels, so he struggled to keep his balance. I held the bike as he got on. He panicked. He started whimpering and begging me to take him off of it. I tried to convince him to let me push him around for a bit so he could get used to it. Fat chance. He was done. He moved on to the scooter.
A few moments later, as I was helping my two-year old get onto his tricycle and show him where his feet are supposed to go on the pedals, I saw something. I looked up at the street. There, in the street, was my fiance running behind my son, with his hand on the seat, before letting go and watching him proudly pedal, unassisted, for the first time. I kid you not, it took that man about two minutes to teach my six-year old son to ride his bike.
I ran up there, camera in hand, getting video of him on his inaugural ride. It was going great, by the way, until his sister called his name and said “Look at this!” He turned. He crashed. He cried. I explained the nature of bike riding and how we all fall, and get back up again.
Later, when I’d convinced him it was safe to get back on the bike, I placed my hand on the seat to help him get started. He, in his most tactful way he could, informed me he’d be waiting for my fiance to help him. “He knows how to do it just right,” my son told me.
How old were your kids when they started riding? What tricks did you use to get them to learn?