Monday, August 24, 2009

Born to Be Wild

OK, so my kids are 7 years old and don’t ride bikes. Yes, most kids do learn by the time they’re 5. So, mine haven’t. So what. Between 5 and 6 we were able to blow this off; not every 6 year old had it down. But now, at 7, and going into 2nd grade, well, as far as I can tell, every one of their peers can now ride a bike.

It’s not like we didn’t want them to learn, we did! Just. Not. Enough. See, we live on a busy, hilly street; so riding in front of the house is out. And until recently, the only close park with a proper bike path was also pretty hilly. Plus, the girls just weren’t all that interested in taking the training wheels off. Add to that the speed with which Zoe gets frustrated with herself when she can’t do something, and well, we had a perfect recipe for procrastination. Until now.

I decided it was time. I buckled down and determined to stay patient through the crying, the whining, the wanting to give up (not to mention how Zoe would handle it). And you know what? It WORKED. Two days at the park, two different *techniques, the promise of an ice cream sundae (with extra hot fudge of course), and voila! BEHOLD! Not so much as a skinned knee or grass stain in the process either. I’m really, really, proud of Zoe! She stuck in there and worked through her frustrations to see it through. With each little bit of progress she got more excited, and stuck it out. And even when she fell, she got right back up again with no hesitation. She really got it faster than I thought she would, and now I wish I’d tried this last summer!

Zoe Learns to Ride from Stacey Bursch on Vimeo.

One down, one to go. Stay tuned.

*Day 1 was the old-fashioned running-behind-the-kid-pushing technique on flat ground. We made progress, but I could tell she wasn’t really trying to balance much. Plus, I was completely exhausted. I have no video of day one, because you can’t run, and push, and keep the kid from falling, and video-tape at the same time. Day 2 we went to a grassy hill, and I took the pedals off her bike. We pushed the bike up the hill and let her practice riding it down, just steering and balancing. Once she could go from the top of the hill to the bottom without stopping, I put the pedals back on. And the first run down the hill with the pedals is what’s on the video, her first, real solo ride!

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