After kindly old Santa gave Miss M her bike for Christmas, I realised retrospectively the huge challenge I’d taken on. Although I’d been shown by Dave (I still love you for this Dave!) how to best assist with the riding, after the initial success, progress stalled and we were back to square...
Two wheel trauma
After kindly old Santa gave Miss M her bike for Christmas, I realised retrospectively the huge challenge I’d taken on. Although I’d been shown by Dave (I still love you for this Dave!) how to best assist with the riding, after the initial success, progress stalled and we were back to square one. The physical and mental toll it started to take was tough, and seemingly fruitless, as after each riding lesson we’d wheel the bike home, both of us close to tears with frustration and effort.
I’ll just add this bike is much, much bigger than her old one, and can’t be fitted with training wheels, so it’s a matter of learn to ride, or forget it. The old bike was so unsuitable for her, she had to splay her legs out to the sides to ride it. Great if she wanted a career in clowning, but since I’m freaked out by clowns, I decided to discourage that line of employment.
So I’ve discovered it’s one thing to know how to ride a bike yourself, but totally another to teach someone else how to do it. Considering I spend my day teaching strangers how to exercise, it would appear to the uneducated eye an easy matter to teach my daughter. Now I understand why all my friends said never get your parents to show you how to drive. I ended up taking this quite literally and didn’t learn at all.
Miss M would get on her bike tentatively, and try her hardest to follow the detailled instructions I’d give her. The poor kid would always end up tilting the bike to the side, and I’d say something like “use your core”, forgetting we weren’t in a Pilates class, and that she’s only eight. Because running beside the bike was hard work for me, lessons could only last for about five minutes before I’d be exhausted, Miss M felt like she’d never make it, and thus, the sorry walk home.
Our lowest ebb was Mother’s Day, when she actually apologised to me for not learning faster, which made me feel so hideous I cried and considered selling the bike on eBay to avoid any further horror. The next week, Miss M requested another lesson, so I decided it would be the last one I’d teach, and after that I’d find a non-parental proxy.
During the week some sort of amazing shift in body consciousness must have happened, because within two minutes, I was running beside the bike, but Miss M was riding on her own. When she realised, she almost fell off with shock, before yelling “wheeee”. Then managed to cycle around the basketball court a dozen times, taking a detour to ride over a stick which had fallen on the court, shouting “take that stick” and laughing madly. Stopping is still a bit dodgy, since it’s followed by semi-falling, but I’m confident she’ll get there in the end.
And so the moral of my story is to never, ever forget how hard it is to do something once you find it easy. Every morning when I get on my bike to ride into work, I take a moment to think “this used to be really hard”. And then I hammer down the road, mentally yelling “wheeeee”!