For the last couple of years we have gotten a lot of raised eyebrows and remarks about Matthew not being able to ride his bike without training wheels. This was nothing we had ever pushed because we didn't think it was a big deal and because he didn't ride his bike that much and also because he simply didn't want to learn. Believe me, we asked him several times. Matthew is a calculated thinker. He processes information and makes decisions based on what he thinks is the best and safest way to handle a situation. And riding on two wheels was not something he could wrap his little brain around as being safe and easy for him to pick up, so he kept declining our offer to help.
A couple of months ago some friends of his came to the door and asked if he could go for a bike ride. Thank God we had to be somewhere because I glanced out at the curb and his friends were all out on their bikes waiting to see if he could go...on two wheels and everything, and he would have been the only one with training wheels. I knew it was something we had to press on about. After they left I had asked him if he had been able to go, would he have liked to? And he gave a simple shrug and said "maybe". I then asked if he was hesitant to go because he was the only one who would have training wheels and his answer was a quiet "yes".
So, I offered to take him that weekend and we wouldn't come back until he was a pro at riding his bike on two wheels. He thought about about, asked if we could start out on the grass because if he fell he wouldn't get hurt as bad, but I told him no because grass is tricky to ride on and might cause him to fall easier. He thought about it a while and passed on us trying that weekend.
So a few months went by, Christmas was getting closer, and he started mentioning that he wanted a skateboard for Christmas. I told him that I didn't have a problem with him asking for a skateboard, but if he wanted to ride it, he had to learn to ride his bike on two wheels first. And that did it!!
With Christmas two weeks away, we headed down to the park one afternoon, training wheels off and ready to do this! Because I know how his brain works, I explained everything first. Where to start the pedals for a quick take off, when and how to brake, and that balance was everything. It took ten minutes. Ten minutes. The first couple of minutes was me running behind him and just working on balance. Once he got the balance and pedaling down, I told him the next thing was starting from a stopped position. I knew this was the most difficult part to learn, but it was also the most important. Five minutes later he was starting and stopping on his own. Piece...of...cake.
He later told me that he wished he had tried earlier because it wasn't as hard as he thought. I told him that I thought it was the perfect time to do it because he was finally ready to learn.
Now, he rides his bike EVERYWHERE. For the past nine years that we have lived at our house, we have only "played" out front a handful of times. Because we live on such a busy street, I was never comfortable letting the boys ride around and play outside. Now that they are older, they love it and we have spent most of our afternoons during this break out front.
Because he has gotten so good and comfortable riding his bike, he wants to ride it everywhere. Here is videotape of me following him home from my moms. We have done this several times now...he rides to some one's house in our neighborhood and I drive slowly next to him to and from. I'm going to be known as that creepy lady driving slow through Parkwest following children. ;)
And now, let's talk about Ryan. Let's talk about "No Fear Ryan" who we will have to pay to keep his training wheels on. He wants to take his off now, but that won't happen until he stops taking turns like he's an Indy car racer. No, unfortunately we will let him wait a little while longer. Maybe this summer will be a good time, but for now...those training wheels have saved a couple of knees from needing stitches.