Lovebug is now riding her bicycle on just 2 wheels! I am so incredibly proud of her!
She’s been riding her bike with training wheels for quite a while, and we weren’t in a hurry to take them off because her balance and motor skills just weren’t ready. She can be a bit of a perfectionist which leads to extreme frustration (i.e fits & meltdowns) when things don’t go just right. We knew that the balance issue was hard for her, so it was inevitable that she would fall or struggle a little bit. Things like the bike not turning the way she wants it to, or hitting a bump and falling over were likely to cause a major meltdown, so we just waited and let her take it at her own pace for a while.
This past week we knew she was ready! She has done absolutely amazing this past month with her attitude, her control, her ability to understand things – just overall we’ve seen a lot of growth and maturity. Her Sensory Processing issues have been at a minimum because she’s getting plenty of input running around, digging in the dirt, & going up and down the stairs.
We decided to go for it! We used a method that had been tried and true for some friends of ours that taught multiple kids in a single day how to ride with 2 wheels.
We took off the training wheels, took off the pedals, and lowered the seat all the way so her feet could be flat on the ground. Then, we took her to the end of our street and had her walk the bike down the slight incline with her feet. She would walk with her feet, then push-glide. This allowed her to really feel when the bike was balanced but her feet her right there to just put on the ground when needed.
Walking the bike
For a while she just couldn’t understand what we meant when we told her she would “feel” the balance, but finally she called out “I feel it!!!” and we knew she got it!
We practiced like this for a few days, and then we put the pedals back on. Oh the JOY in her face!!! She keeps saying “Please don’t put the training wheels back on” and we keep reminding her that once they come off, we don’t need to ever put them back on.
Riding on 2 wheels!!
She had a few bumps along the way. She had to learn not to over-correct when steering, and that the faster she is going, the smaller corrections she needs to make. But instead of getting frustrated and throwing a fit, she would just stop and say “why is this happening?” and then she’d work to figure it out after listening – really listening – to our advice.
She also fell off once, and we could tell she was about to get really discouraged. We knew she wasn’t injured badly (no blood or even cuts), so we acted excited about her “first fall”! I told her it was great that she feel off the bike because now she knew what it felt like to fall and she didn’t have to be scared of falling anymore. Our reaction diffused the situation and she hopped right back up to try again. I don’t even know how to describe how HUGE this is for her. I’ve spent 30 minutes with her crying over bumping into a wall before. She’s growing up…and maturing…and handling her SPD so so much better!
We talked about fear during these practice days too. There would be times that she would say “I’m scared!”, and we had a chance to talk about how our fears work. When we are doing something new our fears take over and we end up making the situation so huge and scary in our minds – much more than it should be – that we actually make it worse. Once we face those fears head on, we win! When Lovebug had a couple moments of being scared, I reminded her that God is with her and that fear does not come from him. When we let fear win, we let the enemy win, but when we are brave then God wins. Being brave does not mean NOT being scared. Being brave means being scared to do something, but doing it anyway!
We were practicing on our street and as she rode down the street, she had to steer in between 2 cars parked on either side. She had to learn quickly that when you look down you don’t control the bike – it controls you. When you look straight ahead – where you want to go – you control the bike.
So many life lessons in learning to riding a bike, don’t you think?
She couldn’t wait to go back out to ride the bike again yesterday! This time she wanted to ride it to the park near our house, and she even ended up riding it across some grass (which I think is a bit harder than on the cement). She’s still working on the starting up process, since it requires a bit more balance to jump on and start pedaling, but she’s doing it on her own.
What a milestone!! What a great memory for our first house in the Army! Before I know it, she’ll be jumping on that bike saying “See ya for dinner, Mom!” and riding off into the sunset. Hopefully that day doesn’t come too quickly!