Now and then I get super motivated because I suddenly feel like my kid is “way behind”. Ok, I mean stupid. Well, a psychiatrist would probably say that it is a reflection on me. So when I get the itch, we go nuts!
This week I realized that my daughter needed to be riding without training wheels. I had been perfectly fine with her on the training wheels but something clicked when I saw some other smaller kids riding big bikes. Sydney needed to master this NOW!
So we went outside one night after dinner and struggled to learn. How the hell do you teach a kid to do this? Apparently, the training wheels instill every anti-pattern to riding a bike. I pulled them off and she leaned once and cowered in fear. Put the training wheels back on, she screamed! Man, this isn’t going to be easy. I talked her into getting back on and we spent a lot of time running up and down the street with me never letting go. What a workout. This is going to take forever!
Next night I poked fun at Sydney a bit and she said she would try it again. So I took off just one training wheel and we tried that. Easy stuff. She just leaned into that side with the wheel and took it easy on the turns. I was outsmarted! So we switched to the other training wheel. She immediately went over! Apparently, that was her bad side. She had no clue how to lean that way. We ran up and down the street for an hour and called it a night.
On day 3, I tried googling the topic a bit and found a few random strategies. Most involved hills and speed. So we went with the speed. I got behind her on an easy downhill in front of the house and I pushed her to full speed. A couple of tries later, I was letting go of the seat and running my fastest to keep up with her. She was driving like a drunk but staying up! We got this now.
On day 4, it was the weekend. Friends were all out in the street. Nothing like peer pressure. Lined up the bike at the top of the street and off she went. I couldn’t catch her. She was gone and riding. Her head was in the game and she was all business. She got to the end of the street and did a semi-crash when she tried to stop. She popped up and was all “I rode that thing”. She was a two wheel rider! Our neighbor girls proceeded to help Sydney do loops around our block. Helping her back up if she fell or needed a start. I just stood out front talking with neighbors and waving as she passed by. I was having my “proud Dad’ moment. We went from scared and no clue to superstar in a few days!
That afternoon, we had some errands to run and I purposely detoured us to a bike store in Boulder where they carry Specialized bikes — my brand of choice. We went in and I showed her a 20″ Specialized with hand and coaster brakes. Much cooler than the 16” Dora bike that was mastered just hours before. She was scared but I egged her into getting it. While I paid, Sydney took it outside. Just walking it. And proceeded to fall over on it just outside the door. Crash and scratch #1 and we haven’t even got it out of the store!
The best part is the Kim hadn’t seen any of this training yet. She was always inside with Kayla. We would report progress but she hadn’t seen the big result yet. So when we got home, the cameras started rolling, the fans lined the streets, and the purple machine took its inaugural ride!
Then we rode and rode. She probably went 5 or 6 miles that night. All over the neighborhood. I just rode along side. What a joy! Nothing like cruising the neighborhood with your big girl — on two wheels!