Let me tell you about something magical. Almost magical.
It is called a balance bike. Cake’s Auntie Nethermeade bought him this magical item, I think maybe for Christmas or his third birthday. It is basically a bike without pedals.
Here’s the magic part — no training wheels!!! Ever.
After Cakie mastered the art of balance on his balance bike, I borrowed a 12 inch Strawberry Shortcake bike without training wheels from a neighbor. In one morning, he figured out how to ride the little bike without training wheels. He had no idea how amazing this was, because he didn’t spend what felt like a year on training wheels, then have a huge amount of fear about taking them off.
He has ridden bikes four times since then. The next time, he was on a play date. This play date was a drop-off with my amazing blogger friend, Kris, who took both boys in addition to her two boys for a whole morning so I could go set up my classroom. Go read her blog. He rode a 16 inch bike, so we knew he could handle the 16 inch wheels. Kris said he didn’t fall down. But he did crash into a fence once or twice. The next time, he rode with a friend in the park. This time he learned how to use the breaks, not just his feet, to stop. He wasn’t really interested in using the breaks until his friend showed him how to peel out. Go figure. The next time, we went as a family to Governor’s Island for a picnic. The picnic area was very far away from the ferry. We decided to risk it and take his bike. I rented one and we rode to the tip of the island. This is when I realized that he did not know how to pedal in a straight line. He was zigging and zagging back and forth for the first five minutes of the ride. With lots of practice, that day he learned how to more finely control his bike and to share the road. He also learned that he is not actually a man of steel when he wiped out, thankfully, right at the end of the day. He has a nice big scrape on his elbow and a healthy dose of fear. He just needed enough to stop him from being foolhardy on the bike. I think he got it. And a race car Band-Aid, so all is well.
Today — yes it is Labor Day, the official end of the school-year summer, yes — we bought him his own bike. The guy at the store said we should get him a 20″ (like Pearl!) since he’s so tall, which makes me happy. I know we’ll get our money’s worth. And we spent more than I was planning, but saved a lot on the repairs we got for our other bikes, so it all evens out. Plus he’ll use this one for at least one more year than he’d use a 16 inch bike.
Now I won’t shut up about the miracle of the balance bike.
Also, the miracle that is my baby boy riding a bike by himself without training wheels.
My baby boy peeling out. RRRRrrrrrrtt!