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October 31st, 2009 · 3 Comments

(post by Matt)

On Sunday, C&D asked to ride their bikes to the local Fiesta grocery store with me.* I thought through all of the reasons that this was not the best idea – the total lack of knowledge of traffic laws, the fact that they have trouble keeping a tricycle on a straight path, the SUV’s, the potholes, etc – and settled on what I thought would be an irrefutable excuse: “Before you can ride to Fiesta, you need to know how to ride you bike with no training wheels and with pedals.” Yeah, that would do it. Carmen could push a bike with no training wheels (and no pedals), but with feet pretty firmly on the ground most of the time.* David could pedal a tricycle, and had a bike that came with training wheels but that I was wanting to configure (over his protests) like Carmen’s. We were easily a year away from riding a bike the right way. With my excuse in hand, I figured I could talk them into a nice walk to the store, and we would have a happy morning.

Carmen looked down and then looked up and said “I can do that.” I looked back at her and asked, “With pedals?” I’ve tried to get her to let me attach the pedals back on her bike, but she refused. She looked up and said “With pedals.”

So with my morning already down the tubes (plans for a jog with the jogging stroller were thwarted by a flat tire), I figured why not. I loaded the bikes in the car and took them to the local university, and figured that we would try to ride, end up back with the pedals off and having fun pushing the thing around the bike paths, and then go home.

The first half of the video below is from Sunday. After David saw Carmen make it most of the way down a path, he looked up from the pile of dirt he was playing in and asked me to take his training wheels off, too. The second half is from yesterday.

* Footnote #1 from Joyce: Fiesta is in easy walking distance, and I can think of maybe only one or two instances when Matt has ridden his bike there. But our part of the city is full of people on foot and bicycle, and what better destination than the nearby grocery, where the mangoes are always on sale and the avocados are cheap?

* Footnote #2 from Joyce: We had given lots of thought to how we would teach C&D to ride a bike, starting from an old article in Bicycling magazine one year. We thought the first thing we would teach C&D was how to balance on two wheels. When we got Carmen’s bike (a Specialized Hot Rock, a totally sweet first bike!) we removed the pedals, and encouraged C&D to skooch around. They’ve done this, on and off, for nearly a year. I think all the scooting and skooching around paid big dividends, because they seem very comfortable on two wheels. Next, on Sunday, Matt sprinted all around the university giving C&D a light shove or letting them roll down a small hill (just a bump in the landscaping, really, as there are no real hills here) so they could get the hang of pedaling. Sunday evening, we practiced again, and showed C&D how they could shove off on their own. It rained Monday, but Tuesday we were riding circles on the sidewalk around the Menil Collection, practicing starting, stopping, and more or less steering straight. Wednesday and Thursday it rained again, and on Friday C&D rode around UST while Matt and I stood and watched, amazed.

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Grandma and Grandpa Reisdorf // Oct 31, 2009 at 10:12 am

    This is so great!!! I loved the music – I had goose bumps watching it. Tell Carmen & David that Grandma & Grandpa are super proud of them. It won’t be long before they’re riding Lance Armstrong’s 100 mile ride.

  • 2 Sarah Hazel // Nov 7, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    AWESOME!!! Great music.

  • 3 sabrina // Nov 14, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Wonderful! So clever of all of you. L wouldn’t ride w/o tng wheels until 2nd grade – this is so much a better way. Amazing too how much they have grown. (I wish you could hear S humming your theme music behind me.)

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