On Friday night Maly and I took our normal stroll to the mailbox (our neighborhood has community mailboxes a few blocks from our house); Maly rode her scooter as I walked. We decided to take the long way home by way of around the block. After we got the mail, I told Maly to ride her scooter all the way down the hill without putting her foot down. “Just ride it the whole way to the end of the street” I told her.
As I watched her, the thought came to my head that she was ready to try riding her bike without training wheels. We’d talked about this new endeavor for a couple months, and I told her that it would take a lot of practice with lots of falling down and frustration. I was psyching her and myself up for for this challenge. When I saw how easily she balanced all the way down the street on her scooter, I just knew she was ready at that point, and I told her as much. And she excitedly accepted the challenge and the date to begin practice was set for this afternoon.
I came home from a meeting around lunchtime today and, as the garage door opened, Maly came barreling out of the house and ran excitedly to me saying, “Daddy! Remember, today we’re going to practice riding my big girl bike with NO training wheels!”
“I know, Sugar. I remembered!”
And with that, I gave her a bag with her new bicycle helmet and pads.
She ran inside and had Elise put her hair up in a pony tail and put her shoes on. She came back out to the garage where I helped her tie her shoes, put on her new elbow and knee pads and adjust her helmet. Then we took the wrench and removed her training wheels.
We made a few practice runs on our street’s sidewalk and that’s about the time I realized that 1) I’m really out of shape and 2) I’m going to get in great shape if I have to run alongside this child without naturally extending my legs while holding the back of her bicycle seat so she doesn’t crash into the pavement. It was after those few runs that I decided it was time to just go ahead and start letting her go.
She’d go five feet balancing on her own. Ten feet. Twenty feet. After a few minutes, I was measuring her distance from driveway to driveway. And soon, I just let her go and jogged alongside her so as to catch her if she start veering toward the street. And before I knew it, she was riding by herself all the way from our starting corner to our ending corner.
What I’d thought (and psyched us both up to think) was going to take weeks only took approximately 45 minutes. Our baby girl proved to be a natural on two wheels. My original plan was to have her comfortably riding her bike on two wheels by the time she turned 5-years-old in 5 more months. Looks like I’m going to be teaching her bicycle tricks before Thanksgiving!
I can’t put into words how proud I am over our little girl. Today was one of the proudest days of my life! Watch the video below: