Confession: I don’t own a bike.
I used to. Remember the days of old, when you and your tween friends would hop on your bikes and ride for hours, without your parents having a blessed clue where you were??
It’s been years since I’ve owned one, but that doesn’t really bother me. I don’t even want one. Because even when the weather is ideal for biking -as it’s been lately- any attempt at getting myself out to bike would look something like this:
Today’s punishment- you get the back seat.
Here’s why I’m not a bike fan.
Because kids aren’t born capable of riding; they must be taught.
And that job BLOWS.
It’s just gotten so… complicated. I get it; I want to keep them alive. But the GEAR. And it starts early.
The important thing is, she’s safe. And clearly, having FUN.
You need the helmets. The knee pads. Maybe elbow pads. A bell, so that your child can warn pedestrians… over and over and OVER again… that they’re crawling along.
And how about that special handlebar that attaches to the back of the kid’s bike seat so that the parent can “guide” (steer) the child as they “ride”??
Disclaimer: WORST.IDEA.EVER. Hence the reason that I am not in the picture; I was taking it as future evidence of why, SIX kids later, children should steer themselves.
The steering bar. Sure, it keeps them upright. But not only does it delay the child in learning to steer themselves, it also becomes less of a skill-building exercise for the kid, and more of an exercise for the PARENT. Sort of like this:
Multiply the challenges of teaching a child to ride a bike by, say, three, and you don’t go very far. Everyone learns at a different pace, and what you end up with is a slow, cautious, and loud parade around the block. Complete with the “cling cling!” chime of three separate bike bells every 10 seconds.
Looks cute, right? How much cuter would it look if the bikes actually MOVED?
But yes, some of them have eventually learned to ride. Some have mastered all of the techniques. Others are more hesitant with certain aspects, like STOPPING the bike when in motion. And others prefer not to have to pedal and steer at the SAME TIME. Because then there’s no hand free to ring your bike bell. Continuously.
I’m currently in the throes of teaching two of them to ride, since The Captain’s current work hours limit his time to do so. And the ex-coach in me adopts more of a …tough love… approach….
.Just kidding. Kind of.
No, I’m really pretty patient. But here’s the thing. Do I want my kids to be safe? Of course? Do I want to protect their tender little heads, and knees, and elbows, and wrists, etc. Yep. But,
I don’t want them to be TOO afraid.
I remember learning how to ride my bike. It was the famed “80’s method”. Ready?
My dad gave me a start by running alongside me, and then…
JUST LET GO.
Did I fall? I’m sure of it. Probably multiple times. But I survived. And I learned. Well, except how to actually, you know, STOP. The whole braking concept was overlooked. But no worries. I’d plan my ride strategically- making sure when I was done that I began slowing down in front of my next door neighbor’s house.
They had front bushes. Nice, thick front bushes. And when I was done riding, I’d fling myself off the bike and into the bushes.
(No helmet, of course. Or knee pads. At least there weren’t thorns.)
I’ve been trying, through trial and error, to teach the bike riding. It’s not easy.
So please, dear readers, HELP ME. Feel free to share your thoughts on technique: what worked, & how you went about it. Because the sooner these guys learn to ride, the more outdoor fun we’ll have.
Oh, and suggestions on teaching them how to brake are crucial. Our neighbors don’t have enough bushes to handle our crew….© Copyright 2014 Six Pack Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: Six Pack Mom