About 10 months ago I wrote a post about buying Dani’s first bicycle. A huge landmark in any child’s life and equally emotional for the child’s dad I might add.
It really didn’t take long for him to get the hang of his “training bike” and much to my surprise he was zipping along fairly rapidly after only a few attempts. After only a few visits to the park he was confidently pushing himself up to a suitable speed and lifting his feet while maintaining balance. Even managing to steer around some slower kids on stabiliser supported bikes.
Fast forward to last weekend…
He has decided it was time for a proper bicycle. Pedals and all… And he has spotted the one that he wants.
To prove that he was ready he decided to showcase his cycling skills. Using his cousin Susana’s pink-ish bike he promptly demonstrated that he now has all the necessary skill and balance to ride a normal bicycle – see video.
Now as regular readers will be aware, as an old dad, I reserve the right to be sceptical of any new fangled ideas when it comes to raising kids. “It wasn’t like that when I was a lad” – well actually you are very unlikely to hear me say that phrase but you can surely put yourself in my shoes for a moment. This scepticism extends to children’s toys and even their bicycles.
Hardly a new idea I know. I believe the scoot-along, pedal-free training bikes have been around for some 20 years now. Still it was new to me because of course I had learnt to ride a bicycle the old fashioned way. Tricycle followed by bicycle with stabilisers. Then finally my dad removing the stabilisers and being on hand while I wobbled into some form of free cycling.
Dani managed to skip the stabilisers stage with the help of his training bike. Am I proud? Absolutely. Amazed? Yes. And not only by his rapid, and more or less self learning. It is also because my sceptical view of these pedal-less bikes has now been destroyed. And I am glad it has. Once I have bought him a new all bells, whistles and pedals bicycle I will be passing his balance-mastering, training bike to his little cousin Stan. So hopefully he too can learn to ride without needing stabilisers.
There is a bit of a down-side to this however. I feel as though Dani’s rapidly rising cycling career has deprived me of something every parent surely looks forward to. Holding on to the bicycle seat then releasing it while your son or daughter still thinks you are there holding them upright. Then; Hey Presto! They are riding!
The World Awaits…
There will be no stopping him now.
I can vividly remember how learning to ride a bike opened up a whole new world. First it was riding around the neighbourhood in an out of alleys and over man-made (or should that be child-made) ramps. Venturing further and faster as the size of bicycle increased with age.
Later when I had my first adult sized bicycle it meant freedom. Freedom to roam miles during those long summer holidays looking for fishing spots. Stretches of river or any farmland that had a pond that might contain fish. Mobility. Not forgetting a quick getaway if you didn’t have the farmer’s permission.
Oh, those halcyon days of mid-adolescence. Still a long way off for young Daniel. But for a child, being able to ride a bicycle is most definitely the gateway to some of life’s great adventures.
Now to spend some cash.
I have managed to find a great second hand bicycle in the UK for only £40. Forty quid! Bargain. I may need to spend a little more than that in Spain. He has seen one costing €100 and that seems reasonable… Watch this space.