Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Look Ma, No Training Wheels

My little one made quite a leap forward last night. Since her 7th birthday, she has been wanting to have the training wheels taken off her bike so she could learn to ride without them. So this weekend I took them off, and we spent some time Saturday and Sunday with her riding on the grass, with me holding one handle and the back of her seat. With no training wheels, there are a lot of different things going on for a kid to worry about; balance, pedaling, and steering. When first starting out, something always seems to be out of control. If you worry about the steering, you lose balance. If you worry about balance and steering, you forget to pedal, lose speed and wobble to a stop. Getting all three in synch is the hard part.

I always suspected that when things would come together they would do so suddenly, and that is exactly what happened. We worked on riding a little Saturday without much success. And a little Sunday without much more success. Yesterday, after a day in north Jersey on business, we went back out and tried again. This time she seemed steadier, and on one of the passes across the flat part of the lawn, I carefully let go of everything, and Grace rode by herself for thirty or forty feet without realizing that I wasn't helping her any more. Very excited by what she had accomplished, we spent another twenty minutes or so making pass after pass across the lawn, with me doing nothing more than helping her get going. This evening when I got home from work, Grace was riding in circles around the driveway, turning this way and that, getting herself stopped and started with no problems. I suppose that in a way it is a small thing to learn to ride a bike, but it seems like a pretty big step to me at the moment.

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