Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Well, we’re off. Up and rolling on two wheels.

My little boy is riding a bike. And it’s somewhat of a shock, because I thought it would be summer before we were ready to take the training wheels off. But we have bigger kids in the neighborhood, and so our little man is inspired.
Good Luck! 

A few weeks back, we took him to a nice, soft rubber track at the nearby middle school. The idea here was to let him get the feel of being up on two wheels, see what it was all about. He made it maybe two times around, before my hand cramped up from being vice-gripped the backseat for support. At one point I managed to let go for roughly a nanosecond until he began to wobble in the turbulence.

It wasn’t long before he was done with it and wanted those training wheels back on. But it was about what I expected. 

Fast-forward to Friday, when I picked him up early from daycare. We had nothing but time. The sun was out and so we took the old trainers off again. It was completely a spur of the moment thing, because he’d been chasing the bigger kids up and down the street, watching them on their big mountain bikes, asking me about gears and kickstands and reflectors and handbrakes. The kid is thorough, is what I’m saying.

Anyway, he was up for giving it another try, so this time we headed down to the end of the street, to a small access road that was once gravel is now overgrown with grass. Or padding, as I saw it.

Actually, it was our neighbor's idea, he was out and saw us coming (my wife insisted on buying our son a bright yellow "bee" helmet complete with wings and eyes so we're sort of hard to miss) and suggested giving it a go down the hill. Again, I wasn’t expecting much, maybe a few feet of wobbling before crashing. But the little guy blew my mind. 

He got his legs going and peddling and made it ten, then twenty feet before veering into the higher grass where the bike teetered over like a feather on a pillow. 

This...was genius.

We did it again, then again and again and again, until the whole neighborhood was cheering him on. He was chugging along, ten, then twenty, then fifty yards as got the hang of it, even to the point where I was comfortable enough to let him go and stand back, basking in parental pride as he peddled along and stopped (sometimes more gracefully than others) to dismount without falling at all. 

It was pretty amazing. Really. Maybe one of the biggest moments as a parent. I can’t explain it, and no, I'm not going to be that dad, pushing him and all. But he was ready to ride, and it was infectious watching him get the hang of it. Yeah, I got into it.  

Now we've been back a few times, and yesterday he even rode the whole way home on the street. Sure, we've had a few spills and crashes. He gets frustrated at times. But he’s only four, and it’s a great start. 

Part of me feels useful too, because hey, I'm a product of the eighties, and this stuff is right up my alley. I've dusted off my bike and we cruise down the street. Me and the neighborhood kids have formed a biker gang. We do wheelies and call out to each other when a car's coming. I give my kid pointers, teach him to keep his eyes on what’s ahead, both hands on the wheel, his feet on the pedals. You know, do as I say, not as I do.

Let the good times roll. 

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