Ditching the Training Wheels

July 18, 2016, by Christy

Today I dropped off my kids at day one of summer camp, Pedalheads bike camp.   You see teaching my kids to ride on 2 wheels was never something I looked forward to.  While some people may accept the challenge,  I was more about paying someone to do it for me while being a cheerleader from the side lines.

You see, this camp is spectacular because it teaches our child to ride on 2 wheels.  You drop your child off on day 1 with the training wheels firmly attached and when you pick your child up that same day, said training wheels are in the child's back pack.  As a parent, you just need to resist temptation when your son asks you repeatedly to please put them back on.  By day 5 both my kids were riding on 2 wheels like champs.  Obviously there are some exceptions, but if they are ready, this camp will get them there in 5 days or less.

While I had my oldest son Grady almost on 2 wheels when we arrived on day 1 of his first camp, my younger son was very attached to his balance bike and not really willing to give 2 wheels a try.  If you have young children, or even if you don't, you will recognize the balance bike as the normal looking bike with no pedals.  It looks odd as kids as young as 2 years old can be seen coasting along the bike path on what looks like a 2 wheeled bike.  With no pedals.  We chose the strider bike because at the time there were very few options.  Now I see all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes on the paths.

We bought the strider bike for my older son and he wanted nothing to do with it.  Nothing.  He would barely even humor us by sitting on it.  It collected dust in our garage until our younger son Cooper decided he wanted to bike like his big brother, who by this time had completed his first summer of bike camp.   Cooper liked his bike too much.  He loved his balance bike and he got very VERY good at it.  See for yourself how fast he could go.  Keep in mind, this bike has no brakes.

Password is balance

When you look at the speed that this kid got on his bike and the fact that there are no brakes, the easiest, and most convenient way to stop is to drag your feet.  The destruction this does on your shoes is beyond words.  See photo.

This kid needed to get on 2 wheels before he broke the bank with the amount of shoes he was destroying.  Since I did a pretty good job of teaching Grady I was confident that I could teach Cooper as well.  After all, they did say that if you could balance you could ride on 2 wheels.  Easy Peasy.  Or not.

Whoever said that teaching your child to ride on 2 wheels after mastering the balance bike was wrong. Terribly wrong.  While my child was a superstar at balancing, his pedaling needed a lot of work.   The first time I sat him on the bike with training wheels he fell off the back.  Instead of pushing down on the pedals, he was pushing out and sliding his little tushy right off the back of his seat.  We had some work to do.

I didn't hesitate in registering him in the same camp that was so successful at teaching Grady, and I wasn't surprised that they had the same luck with Cooper.  Although he did put up more of a fight than Grady did and begged for his training wheels back on each night.  Mid week he just accepted he wasn't getting them back and stopped asking.

This is the third year of the camp and instead of learning to ride their bikes they are learning how to ride on the street, hand signals, changing gears, and going on extended bike rides.  Which is great since the hubs and I got brand new bikes last year.  Family bike rides here we come.

I have such fond memories of biking to school daily and to my friends houses to play.  It was my mode of transportation, my independence from my parents.  I am thrilled to see my kids embracing their bikes and while times have changed changed and it no longer seems acceptable to our kids to bike to school solo as early or let them bike home from friends houses on their own, it gives them a sence of freedom and confidence that comes with riding solo.

I look forward to the family rides that lie ahead as our boys become more and more capable of cycling on their own for longer distances.  I look forward to the days where they can get themselves to and from their friends houses, not because of the freedom it will bring me, but the freedom it will bring them.

Christy is a regular contributor for the Blended Blog and maintains her personal blog, RSquared.  She is also a working mom to 2 boys and a wife to James.  She loves everything to do with family, friends, fashion, fitness... and wine!