31 October 2014

Learning to Ride


At the end of last summer we got rid of Isa's little bike.  She'd outgrown it for sure, plus the brakes were a mess.  Sylvia, in the spring, found a good bike the next size up for super cheap and so we were all set to make that big jump to really riding, no training wheels. All of us except Isa.  She was not in any hurry to conquer this challenge.  She did agree to give it a try so we went to the neighborhood school parking lot a couple evenings in the summer and got our first taste of it.  There were a couple very brief glimpses that she might be getting it, but they were very very brief.  And she just wasn't feeling it...and I'm not talking about balance.  I'm talking about the desire to ride.  She was perfectly fine with never learning to ride a bike, a fact that she told me more than once.  A couple months go by and finally I get her outside on the bike trail in front of our house and we work on it some more.  Still nothing.  And more frustration than ever.  Frustration at not getting it, mainly.  And some frustration with being pushed to do it, I suppose.  A couple episodes of that and, thinking back to something I'd read on the internet, I decide to take the pedals off the bike.  The thinking is that, by taking the pedals off, the rider can push them self along and work on coasting, finding their balance, and start to feel like they are powering and guiding the bike instead of just going for a ride while I provide the momentum and control.
This proved to be the secret.  It didn't happen immediately, but very quickly I could start to see that she was beginning to feel where the balance point is and was fighting to stay there.  And the coasts started to go from inches to feet to yards and once that happened it all started progressing very quickly.  Suddenly she had it and could coast all the way down the decline at the trail head, maybe 50 yards, without putting her feet down.  And once she got that feeling, she LOVED it. At the end of that day she was already asking to put the pedals back on.  So, we did and she started riding a bike.  For real.  From a stop, on a flat surface.  It was super fun to see.  It actually gave me some goosebumps (and Sylvia a few tears). And the great part is now she LOVES that she can ride a bike.  She posted this little achievement statement on her whiteboard in her room. She's always asking if she can go ride it around and when we'll be able to go on rides together.  I'm eager to see how she does as at partnering me when I go for my runs.
That night, when I went to go to bed, there was this sweet little thank you note on my pillow.  No one prompted her to write it, she did it totally on her own.
Click here to see her in action.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the story. Great ending. Hard work on everyone's part. :)

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