For almost a year Daniela has driven the kids and I into the daycare where I’ve gone in to drop them off and then walked the mile to my work and Daniela has taken off for her long drive to her work. At the end of the day I would walk to the kids and then load them into the stroller and/or carrier and walk the mile and a half home from there. I hurt my shoulder in March and since then the carrier hasn’t been an option and I’ve needed to use the double stroller which, while magical, is a pain in the but on narrow city sidewalks.
In April after some trial runs to the dog park and then to Karate I felt like Carter had reached the point of being able to ride his balance bike home from school. A mile and a half seemed reasonable but I was also prepared for it to be a flop. I had Dylan in the stroller and Carter, with no hesitation balance biked all the way home. From there he would go longer distances. A few times he’d bike in to school in the morning so Daniela could get an earlier departure. It blew my mind.
At the beginning of April Carter asked me for a pedal bike “with NO training wheels.” I’m not sure where he learned of such a thing or why the sudden need. I thought it was absurd but I started researching bikes and in that process found a bike that retails for $250USD on sale at a Canadian store down the street for $100CAD. This felt like an absurd amount of money for a bike for a three year old that I was sure wouldn’t be ridden but it was such an incredible deal I felt confident I would be able to resell it if it didn’t work out and if it did work out that it would last through Carter and Dylan and then some. We brought it home, he climbed on, I held on tight to the seat, he pedalled while I held him steady. It was a wreck. Clearly he wasn’t ready and I wasn’t either. After about 5 mins he asked for his balance bike back and that was that.
On April 28th as we were leaving Karate with Carter on his balance bike we saw Carter’s buddy climbing on to his tow-a-bike with his mom. I talked to Carter about it as his pal showed it off. Carter had no reaction. He rode in silence for a few blocks and then stopped and said “MOMMY! I have a great idea!” while holding up his pointer finger (adorable).
I asked what it was and he replied “we could take the front tire off my pedal bike and attach it to your bike and then I’d have a bike like Atticus.”
I was impressed that he had spent all that time trying to figure out a way that he could have what his friend has. I explained that his bike wasn’t made for that but it was a good idea. I told him that once he was better at pedalling we could look at getting a similar bike.
As we got closer to home he turned to me and said “I think I want to try my pedal bike when I get home.”
It was late in the evening but I felt confident that it would be another 5min trial so as we got home I ran in to grab his bike. I brought it out, helped him climb on and then before I knew it he pedalled away. I was terrified and stayed super close to him making sure I’d be able to catch him, but he didn’t need it. Just like that he knew how to pedal a pedal bike.
The following day I simply told him how to use the hand brakes and he picked it up immediately. He was still a little wobbly with steering and lacked the ability to actually climb up on seat by himself so I didn’t really let him ride anywhere. He stayed on the balance bike as a form of transportation.
About a week ago he watched a kid in the park biking around and when we got home that day he asked for his pedal bike. He tried to get himself up onto the seat by himself but really struggled. I tried to explain leverage and help him work it out but it just wasn’t happening. I told him it was okay to go back to his balance bike but he just sat there for a few minutes and then said “Oh! I got it!” He climbed on and put one foot on a pedal and used the other foot to push along and pick up speed. Once he’d picked up speed he pushed up onto the seat and got his other foot on the pedal.
He has biked every day since that day. Four days after figuring out this skill he biked a total of 5 miles with no assistance. He biked through the city to my work, then the hospital, then to his daycare, then the park, then Karate and finally home. He has so much physical capability now. It’s mind blowing.
I love watching him work through things in his head before executing them. It’s so different form how his sister learns.