12.07.11 | Comment?

Back at the beginning of October we got Sean his first bike. We’d seen a Strider running bike at the park a few months earlier (which Sean wanted desperately to try out), and so I looked up running bikes(aka “balance bikes” aka “push bikes”) on the Internet. I’d never heard of them before, as they weren’t around when I was a kid. Running bikes are basically bikes without pedals. Instead of focusing on how to pedal, the kid first learns to balance. Then later you get a pedal bike and the kid already understands balance and just has to figure out how to work the pedals. In Sean’s case, they’ve got trikes at school, so he’ll just learn to pedal independent of balance. The idea is that you skip training wheels all together. Having watched some older kids with training wheels trying to learn to bike at the local park, I can say that it makes a lot of sense to me. He starts younger, closer to the ground, and with an easy foot down if he tips to the side. Also, he’s desperate to ride a bike like Mommy’s and Daddy’s.

Fast forward to October, and REI had a clearance sale. And they were selling these beautiful Raleigh running bikes that were better constructed than the Striders for less than the cost of a Strider. And the weather was finally starting to cool off enough that we actually wanted to spend time outside. So I got him one. The seat was too high still, but he delighted in straddling the down tube and walking the bike. He still does. In fact, he can now perch on the seat and have the balls of his feet both touch the ground. In another couple months I think he’ll be tall enough to actually try balancing on the seat while feeling comfortably able to put his feet down when necessary.

I’d taken Sean with me to REI to get the bike. He was very surprised when I let him ride the bike out of the store. Once we were outside he adamantly refused to get off of it so I could put it in the car. I had to show him several times that we were putting SEAN’S bike in the back of the car and that we were taking it home and that, yes, he could ride it when we got home.

After a little foray around the living room, we went up to the track to let Sean try it out outdoors. He was all grins.

This picture is from our second bike outing. I wished I’d been lucky enough to be taking video at the time. Sean was straddling his bike, walking along. He deliberately headed for the long jump pit, wanting to test his bike out in the sand. As he got to the end of the pit, he saw a mound of construction dirt that had been newly dumped at the side of the field. His eyes grew round (I imagine; he was facing away from me at the time). And he said, “Sean up mountain! Sean up mountain!” while pointing. And he started heading for the dirt pile. (Yes, that dirt mound is about three feet high and filled with sharp rocks and jagged construction debris.)

After some gentle dissuasion, he returned to biking through the long jump pit…

have your say

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. Subscribe to these comments.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>