Learning to ride a bike

 

I’d been feeling sort of uncomfortable, all winter long, over the fact that our son hadn’t even attempted to learn how to ride a two-wheeler. Not guilty, exactly, but definitely feeling that it was a bit of a parenting fail.

Here he was, approaching his seventh birthday, and he was not even close to riding without training wheels. In fact, he barely even rode the too-small bike with training wheels that he’d had for years. Biking, for whatever reason, just wasn’t something we did.

Maybe it was because we live on a very steep hill? Or because although we finally paved our driveway, last summer, it was still a fairly steep hill? Maybe it was because we live on a busy street close to a REALLY busy street? Or maybe it was just because none of us cared enough to do anything about those obstacles?

I was so proud of our boy this morning. We’d bought him a new 20″ yellow bike but it’s still a little tall for him, so instead of being disappointed he decided to mess around “practicing to balance” in the driveway on a rusty pink hand-me-down. 🚲 He was getting good, so we walked to the junior high parking lot to give him more room. On the way, suddenly he was balancing *and* pedalling and there was no stopping him. 🚲 I thought I’d be running along behind him, hanging onto the seat, like I remember my mom doing for me. But he didn’t need that. He just needed to see me beaming and recording videos and giving him a thumbs-up whenever he’d stagger to a stop. The boy who amazed me when he took his first toddling steps at eight freaking months old is still amazing me. ❤️ #milestones #ridingabike #myheart #sixyearsold
A post shared by Heather Laura Clarke (@hfxheather) on May 13, 2017 at 8:46am PDT

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I felt a little better when I learned that he wasn’t alone. Hardly any of his friends — all six years old — knew how to ride a two-wheeler. My friends and I compared our own stories of tearing around on our two-wheelers as little five-year-olds, and we decided there must be a reason that our own kids were “behind” on this particular milestone.

Was it that we’re all more protective now, in 2017, than our parents had been in the ’80s and ’90s? And none of us felt we lived on streets that were safe enough to let them loose? Did our kids spend less time on their bikes because we drive them everywhere — and no one’s allowed to go to a friend’s house alone? Or was it that today’s children are busier with sports and activities and have less time to mess around at home? …

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