Teaching your children to ride a bike; child’s play right?



We’ve taken the plunge and removed the stabilisers from Daniel’s bike.
I fondly remember learning to ride my purple Chopper bike back in the 70s.
That bike was my pride and joy. And the minute I could ride I was off, multicoloured braids flowing in the wind from the handlebars and my favourite teddy wedged under the seat.

But teaching your own child to ride is another matter. Just take the stabilisers off, run alongside for a while shouting encouragement and coaching tips, right?
It turns out it’s not quite as easy as my rose-tinted memories suggest.

For starters, Dan hated the idea.
“What do I need to ride a bike for?”
“Well it’s great fun. You will love it when you can ride off on your own.”
“I can run to where I want to go. I love running.”

He’s not big on new things. He looks at me horrified like I’ve put a new ingredient in his favourite bolognese sauce as if to say ‘what the hell would you do something like that for?’ (obviously he doesn’t say hell. Well not yet anyway).

But we persevered. Hubby found new depths of patience as he trotted around the park clutching on to the back of Dan’s seat.
As he squelched through mud, crouched over until his back was crippling him, he desperately tried to get Dan to understand that steering didn’t require leaning at the same time and taking his hands off the handlebars for a scratch was not really a good idea.
He told him how falling off your bike is part of the learning process, but we would be on the grass so it wouldn’t hurt so much. All he had to do is brush himself off and get back on.
I could almost feel his burning desire for his five-year-old to just shoot off on his own and make daddy proud.

It didn’t happen.

Dan threw the bike on the floor, blamed us for making him do something he didn’t want to, blamed the bike for being rubbish then slumped on the floor crosslegged and cross.

Of course, his 2½-year-old sister didn’t make it any better.
As he’s sat there all angry and brooding, she crouches down next to him and asks in her sweetest, most sincere voice: “Shall I show you how to do it Dan?”

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