Like Riding a Bike…

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?


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gretchen
    May 08, 2012 @ 12:45:52

    What a great moment for all of you to share together. My son bent his training wheels up so they didn’t come close to touching and eventually he snapped them off. It was on his terms and he did it! My daughter was a bit harder, but she finally got it.
    Helmets are so important too. Last summer my daughter was at the bottom of the driveway on her bike while her brother was playing basketball and she did not have her helmet on. She was just riding in small circles watching him. She hit a small rock, her bike went one way, she went the other and her head split open on a car’s wheel well. Parents, I cannot stress to you enough how important it is to have kids wear helmets, even in your own driveway! Thankfully everything turned out ok, but we shake our heads everytime we talk about it. Should have been wearing a helmet!


    • Mom Land
      May 09, 2012 @ 16:04:35

      Gretchen, I was just biking the coastal trail on my lunch break and wanted to holler at the bicyclists to put helmets on. And they were adults! Not that they don’t need helmets… they just don’t need me to give them a speech!


  2. bonniegm
    May 09, 2012 @ 07:49:18

    This is one of your best pieces to date. I cried and then I laughed. Your fiance is one special guy!! Your kids are very lucky!!!


  3. Roger
    May 09, 2012 @ 08:18:35

    They make a gyroscopically-stabilized bike wheel which keeps bikes upright. It revolutionizes learning – or so they say.


  4. Kallas Family
    May 13, 2012 @ 23:37:21

    When i taught my daughter last summer, I took one on the training wheels off. Leaving the one on on her non-dominating side. Meaning, I took the training wheel off on the side she braced herself on to get on her bike.

    She, at first, was apprehensible, but halfway down the block she was balancing. So we took off the training wheel and voila .. She did it!! πŸ™‚ such an awesome experience. She was 5.


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