As of this weekend we have not one but two independent bicycle riding kids. No more training wheels!
The kids have been enjoying zooming around our street all summer long – Ellie and Zoey on bikes with training wheels, and Alden on a balance bike. I’d been watching their confidence and balance grow for weeks. On Friday evening, I asked Ellie if she would like to try without the training wheels and she happily agreed to give it a go. I had her first get on the balance bike (even though she’s much too tall for it) and get up enough speed to cruise on it with her feet on the pegs. I knew she could do that successfully, and when she did I told her, “That’s exactly what you’re going to do on this bike. Same balance.” She hopped right on her 16″ Cinderella bike and I jogged along behind her, holding the back of the seat. Then I let go. Just like that, she was off and going. By bedtime, she could ride back and forth down our street. She wasn’t yet able to turn, get herself started or stop without falling over, but she was holding her balance and peddling along down the street. The look of pride on her face is something I will never forget.
On Saturday morning, the girls couldn’t wait to run outside and get on their bikes again. Zoey was begging me to teach her to ride without training wheels as well. I watched her ride around with them on for a few minutes and then told her, “Zoey, I’m sorry but I can’t teach you to ride without training wheels today.”
“Why not?” she asked me, sadness and disappointment in her voice. “Because you already know how!” I answered. “I’ve been watching you ride and your training wheels are never touching the ground!” The look on her face was priceless. Stunned, happy, excited. We immediately removed her training wheels and I started her off just like I had with Ellie, holding on to the seat. And then I let go again. Off she went, not just going straight but even making the turns.
There was a lot of cheering, clapping and excitement on our street this weekend as we celebrated their accomplishments. The neighbors all came out to cheer them on and offer bits of advice, tips and assistance when needed. It makes my heart all warm and fuzzy to see what a positive, supportive place we’re raising them in.
By the end of the day Saturday Ellie could do the turns as well, and she’s very close to being able to get herself started without any assistance. Zoey is completely independent and even showing off, doing tricks like lifting her feet off the peddles and one arm in the air. They are both so incredibly proud of themselves and thrilled with this new-found independence. Honestly, I’m a wee bit proud of myself too, for being the one who taught them. I certainly can’t take all the credit: Zach has been helping them build their confidence on the bikes all summer, patiently helping them for hours. I just happened to be the one who was there with them when the wheels came off and skill stuck.
Still, I’m feeling pretty smug.