Now We Ride a Bike
Learning to ride a bike is one of those skills in parenting that you envision to be so simple. For some kids it seems to take little effort for them to get up on the bike and just start riding it. Others seem to need a lot of encouragement! I remember hearing all kinds of ideas like have the ride a balance bike first, have them learn how to balance on a scooter before attempting a bike, put them on one and hold onto the seat until they get the hang of balancing. After 3 kids of my own and watching many others learn to ride bikes I definitely don’t think it is a one size fits all lesson to be taught! My husband loved riding bikes during childhood so this was a skill I he would love to teach our children!
A couple weeks after school began for second grade, Miss Z came home from school and insisted on getting her bike down from the rack in the garage so she could ride it. I was a bit taken aback since one of my summer goals I had made with her was to learn to ride her bike independently. Each time we went outside to practice she would lose interest within a few minutes. So we decided she will learn to ride the bike when it is important to her; not when I believed she should know how to ride her bike. Each day after school she would come home and have her snack. Those after school hunger games are the REAL deal, I tell you! Then out to the garage to do circles on her bike. I would peak around the corner in awe of the self motivation to finally conquer the bike riding skill. She was clearly determined to accomplish this skill on her own agenda. I was only alongside her supporting those goals with as much space as possible to ensure empowerment within herself was taking place!
Every year her elementary school has a fundraiser for the Teachers’ wish lists in the classrooms. Such a perfect way to enrich the environment our children are learning in. By giving the teachers more of the resources they have for their own visions in education. The kids that attend the school ride their bikes around the radius of the school separated by grade. The event lasts a few hours with each grade riding for about 20 minutes. The neighborhood streets around the school have a few decent hills for riding up and down.
When the day came closer to the event I was elated that this year she would be riding her bike on her own! I was lined up with her at the starting line, while daddy and brother were on the side line cheering her on! She was eager to get the race on. Once we started I was very impressed that she was pedaling up those hills with intense desire! Using her breaks was still not a 100% skill she had mastered. We learned the term “squeeze”for the hand breaks worked better than shouting STOP. I was running alongside her up and down the hills to insure the pace was manageable for her. She just kept pedaling. The staff were all cheering her on with amazment along the course! When we finished the first lap I felt triumphant. As if I had just rode around the radius of that school on my own for the first time ever. She was very nonchalant about it at this point. The excitement continued when she asked to go again for a second lap. Again surpassing any vision we had for her. She saw her peers and desired to keep up. To stay with the flow of the crowd riding the radius! The encouragement seemed to make her beam. The struggles with the breaks were few and far between. We made it to the finish line again and the lady with the megaphone said, “one last lap or come into the field.” Miss Z declared “one last lap” I looked at K with astonishment! Where had the strength, the stamina, the desire come from? A fire had been lit inside her and she was riding it out. When the last lap was over and we put her bike away. She went in said “bye daddy”, got her snack and sat with the other children. Like it was just another day. Except it wasn’t, she is fighting a big fight every day to do the small things we all take for granted. She does it every single day with such grace. I will never forget this day. Just like all the rest that she conquers. She is a miracle and we are the lucky ones to enjoy the ride with her.