Many, many years ago, I could be seen running madly down the street hanging on to the seat of one of our children’s bicycles until they achieved the balance and confidence to ride away on their own. I am clearly not that young any more. Eldest grandson, living in an apartment on a hilly parking lot in a busy city has been reluctant to learn to ride. He rides with his Dad on the tandem bike, in fact they go many miles to Kung Fu each Saturday, rain or shine and often a couple of miles to guitar lessons on Friday evening with the guitar strapped to his Dad’s back.
Since he is with us for a good portion of this summer and since we are taking him with us to visit his 7 year old cousin in Florida, we brought his bike to the mountains for some lessons on riding before the Florida trip. He has been here a week now and today, since hubby is off on his motorcycle, I decided it was a good day for a bicycle lesson. L was quite reluctant. The school counselor in me acknowledged that he was afraid, but insisted that together we could overcome that fear. Off to the local elementary school we went, as they have a nice flat road and parking area and several gently sloping grassy hills down to water retention depressions. When we got there, he was very oppositional about even trying, but I was as stubborn that he was going to give it a go, a bit of bribery thrown in for good measure. I ran behind him, helping to keep him balanced until I couldn’t catch my breath and decided that the gentle grassy slopes might provide a good place to practice balance.
This gave me a chance to breath as well. He would coast down the hill and walk the bike back up. Once his balance was better, we resumed the running behind a few more times, but by then I didn’t have to hold the seat and handlebars, just the seat. He is definitely getting it. A couple more times of this and he will ride away from me on his own, a new skill learned. I could see the confidence in his face after today’s session and I doubt that we will have anymore reluctance to try.