Time Out for Bike Riding…

It’s one of those vivid ingrained memories in my head… learning how to ride the bicycle.  I remember it being a big deal the day the training wheels finally came off!   I don’t know how accurate my memory is, but I remember I was five and my cousin, Karmin (thanks, Karmin!) held on to my bicycle as he helped to teach me how to ride.  First, he held on to the handlebar on the side, as I went up and down the block in front of our apartment building in Brooklyn.  Eventually, he started holding on to the back seat of my bicycle, where he was out of my peripheral view.  I remember that really well, because at one point I thought he was holding on to my bicycle, and when I looked back, he was halfway up the block!  I was so shocked that I did it on my own that I went crashing onto the ground.  The thrill, and then the agony…

I learned to look forward and to trust myself.  I learned that fear and dwelling on the past (looking back) prevented me from enjoying the ride and looking forward.  I learned that life is sometimes about learning how to fall.  I remember using this story of learning how to ride the bicycle in my college essay to Columbia almost 25 years ago!

35 years after learning how to ride the bicycle, here I am trying to teach Malachy how to ride!  Amazing!  Wondering how (or if) he’ll remember these days.  I know my back will never forget these past 3 days! 🙂  It’s such a rush for him, though.  I thought by day 3, he wouldn’t want to go back outside and try again (at least not 3 days in a row), and I know I wouldn’t have minded if he had said, “Nah, I’m not in the mood, today.   Let’s take a break, Dad.”  But instead he said, “Dad, I really like it!  I want to try to ride by myself again!”  Love his attitude!

So, there we were again today.  Me yelling at him and telling him to focus and to concentrate, to balance, to stop leaning and turning and singing and cracking up.  I know we both cracked up when he was able to ride for a few split seconds on his own.  The thrill of getting it.  It really IS cool.  You don’t remember when you learn how to walk, but you can remember learning how to ride a bicycle.  It’s a bit different nowadays.  I didn’t have a helmet.  And I remember falling over a lot harder and getting scraped and bruised.  I get so tempted to just let Malachy go, but I don’t want him to fall down so hard that he’ll get too scared to try again.  So, I hold on…

Eventually, I know he’ll get it, and I’ll feel proud that he learned and happy in being there with him! 🙂

2 thoughts on “Time Out for Bike Riding…”

  1. You could try removing the pedals and/or cranks. That was he can use his feet to push himself along and learn to balance. I never used training wheels with my son and he was riding a pedal bike by age 3 and became a very confident rider by age 4. He rode a bike without pedals for a long time before making the switch. He would Fred Flintstone it up to the top of a hill and give a couple big pushes with his feet before lifting them up and coasting all the way down. When it came time to use a pedal bike he just had to learn to “pedal” and not balance.

    Here is the bike my son used: http://www.stridersports.com/ We’ve passed it on to my youngest (just turning 2) and he’s already out pushing it around.

    Either way I’m sure your son will be rippin it up in no time!

  2. Thanks so much for your advice, Ben! A friend also recommended what you suggested on Facebook. They posted this video from YouTube… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4Y_9cZLoyQ

    Unfortunately, Malachy’s bicycle is a tad too tall for him, even with the seat lowered all the way. We tried removing the pedals, and the bike was a bit heavy for him, so it kept tipping over. I am wishing we started him with a pedal bike! 🙂 I didn’t understand them when I first saw them (and thought they were kind of expensive), but now I do see how they help them with balancing!

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