Thursday, April 18, 2013

Riding Bikes

Learning to ride a bike.  One of those milestones that means so much to a kid.  And because it means overcoming fear and being willing to take chances, it's interesting to watch, as a parent, and see when your kid takes the big step.  I think you learn a lot about your children by watching how they develop this skill...

Take my girls, for instance.  Ivie, her mommy's mini-me, is the most tentative of my children.  Macie, however, is more of a daredevil who acts first and thinks later.  So the stories of how they each learned to ride a bike won't surprise you...

Ivie FLIES around on her Razor scooter, and has for over the past year.  So it's been obvious that she has the balance necessary to successfully ride her bike.  But, until an unusually warm day this past winter (at age 6 1/2), she refused to let us take off her training wheels.  It was too "scary" of a thought for her, and, because she wasn't very fast on the bike, she preferred the scooter anyway.  The bike rarely left the garage.  So when we took the training wheels off and promised her an absurd number of marbles to give it a shot, no one was surprised when she got it on her first try.  But then winter weather came back, and the bike was parked until just a few weeks ago.  Once we pulled it back out this spring, there was again trepidation, particularly over the idea of going DOWNHILL, and the how-in-the-world-will-I-manage-to-stop-the-bike-from-careening-out-of-control fears took over her brain.  But, once conquered (again with the promise of marbles for trying!), Ivie has taken off and now enjoys going for multiple loops around our neighborhood, flying as fast as I will allow her down the hill at the end.

Watching Ivie's progression, I wondered if maybe there was a different technique to try with Macie.  Having seen the idea of "balance bikes" (two-wheeled bikes without pedals) and watching plenty of videos explaining how they worked, I decided to give it a go.  Having one show up at 1/2 price on a social shopping site sealed the deal, and the bike arrived a couple of weeks ago.

Macie, now 4 1/2, rode the balance bike for about 3 days before she started begging us to take the training wheels off of her Dora bike (Ivie's hand-me-down first bike).  Macie wanted to ride a big-girl bike just like Ivie and our neighbor, Emerson, who had also just recently removed her training wheels.  I wasn't too confident that she would be successful this quickly (because, let's be honest, I was pretty sure that 3 days of use was NOT enough for me to get my money's worth on the balance bike!).  But she proved me wrong, taking off after only a couple of tries with me running behind her and giving her a push.

So we now have 2 two-wheeled girls in our house, both of whom are crazy about riding!  I love watching them light up when we talk about how proud we are of them for being brave enough to give it a shot.

Of course, now I have a balance bike that we don't need anymore.  And since I ordered it on a bit of a whim, I also didn't think ahead and get a gender-neutral color that Bryce could someday use...  So does anyone need a PINK balance bike that is certain to teach your sweet little girl to ride without training wheels?!?   I'll cut you a pretty good deal on it...

Here is a quick video of the girls riding with me around the neighborhood.  Try not to listen too closely, or you might hear me breathing hard while doing the narrative.  Which is a bit embarrassing.  My only excuse is that there IS a little hill as we start the circle around the neighborhood, and we had just finished it when I started the camera!

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