Born to Ride

27 Dec

(Much to my parents’ chagrin) we have been remiss in teaching Michaela to ride a bike. I bought her one a couple (few?) years ago, but wasn’t ever good about making time to work with her on learning to ride. We lived on a very busy street on one side, and on a hill on the other, and between that and our busy schedules and the fact that Michaela’s bike is really big because she’s so tall and therefore too big to fit in my car for transport to a better place to learn to ride, well, it just never happened.

The other day, though, I decided we should pick it up again. Our new house is on a flat street, kids ride and play in the street all the time, I’m on vacation, and there’s no time like the present. So we got our her bike, Michaela hopped on, and I walked alongside her while she tried to pedal and steer and balance herself.

Fortunately for both of us, our neighbor Justin was out in his yard while we were practicing. Justin is like six and a half feet tall and built like an oak tree. He’s also the sweetest man I know. He saw us and came out into the street, asking if it was okay if he helped. I told him yes and before I knew it, he was going along with Michaela, one hand on her back, urging her on. “Pedal faster,” he said, “It’ll be easier!” So she pedaled faster and started to get the hang of it. I took over from there and a few short minutes later, Michaela was able to ride down the street, as long as I helped her get started and she didn’t have to turn.

I was so proud of her! I ran inside and got Mike and his mom, who came out to watch and cheer her on. At the end of our riding session, Michaela was thrilled to eat an Otter Pop and I was thrilled to have a kid who can ride a bike!

Today she asked to go out again, so she strapped on her helmet and we did some more riding. She’s getting better at getting going and at turning. I think by the end of vacation, she’ll be able to do it all. We’ll just have to keep up our riding so she doesn’t get rusty!

I’ve long wanted to go on an international vacation and do a biking tour of a city, but there were two main obstacles: 1) Michaela couldn’t ride, and 2) For most bike rental/tours, riders have to be at least 10 years old. I’m so excited we can now cross one of those two things off the list!

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