cycling utah August 2000

Do you remember your first ride?

By Laura Howat

      At the beginning of April, I decided that my son, Nathan, (5 1/2 years) was probably ready to start riding his two wheeler without training wheels. I took the training wheels off and we drove to a school playground with plenty of open asphalt and no obstacles.
      I knew there might be some spills so he had on gloves, long pants, helmet, etc. I held the back of his seat as he pedaled. As he pedaled harder, I ran faster, still holding the back of the bike seat.
      When it seemed like he was balancing on his own, I let go of the seat. He was about 50 yards away before he realized I was no longer helping him stay upright.
       He coasted to a stop and screeched his excitement.  He had ridden a two wheeler without training wheels!
       We repeated the process a few more times and then there was a big spill. Nathan tried to steer the bike as if he had training wheels on, by wrenching the steering wheel into too tight of a turn. There were tears and a sore knee. And he would not get back on the bike. He was done.
      A day went by, I asked Nathan if he wanted to try bike riding again.
      "NO!" he answered.
       A week went by.
      "NO!" he repeated.
       Then a month went by with the bike just laid on its side in the garage, untouched.
      During May, Nathan's friend Tommy, two houses up and only one month older, got the hang of riding his two wheeler. Tommy would ride up and down the sidewalk and Nathan would run along behind watching intently.
      Then it happened. Nathan announced he was ready to start riding his bike. He put his helmet on, got pm his bike, pushed himself off and rode away.
      The next day, he wanted me to watch how far he could tilt his bike going around a corner without crashing.
      A few days later he wanted me to watch how he could go over a big bump and try to pull his front wheel off the ground.
      Now, Nathan is riding up and down the sidewalk. Little brother Riley is running along behind watching intently.

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