Teaching your child to ride a bike: More than a milestone?

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Credit: Zirzuke

Credit: Zirzuke

The sun was nearing its pinnacle and blanketed our exposed skin as we casually pedaled among the naked shrubbery. The heat in the air was not bothersome as the earth had yet to release the subterranean frost that settled in during the winter months. We were comfortably living between a layer of hot and cold, making the conditions for our outing ideal.

It was our inaugural ride. My son, Cash had just shed the comforts of his training wheels and asserted his independence on the bicycle our family purchased for his birthday. Watching him as he meandered along the paved pathway I could see in his bright eyes that he was enjoying the simplistic freedom the activity offered. He relished in the autonomy and allowed his mind to wander to a place where he reinvented himself as a renowned racecar driver, the fastest on the track.

When I became a father I could not wait to teach Cash how to ride a bike. I wanted for him the experiences I had growing up and to feel the excitement of confronting a new and complex challenge. I wanted to test his understanding of the intricacies of force and the nuances of balance. Since Cash was an infant, I anxiously anticipated the chance to coach him and to see him enjoy the fruits of success.

With unwavering determination, Cash achieved this lofty goal before the age of four.

Cycling provided Cash and I the opportunity to bond. On our ride he radiated excitement but he also held a nervous energy that allowed me to comfort him, creating a closeness that connected us as father and son. It was a singular task that we could mutually focus on away from smart phones, televisions and tablets. There was stillness in his being that deflected all distractions and permitted my words of guidance to pierce his mind. All instruction was met with reactionary precision, which unearthed a new, mature, respectful discourse between my son and I.

Cash vigorously pushed along the trial attacking every degree of grade that was presented. Uphill and down his legs pressed on with muscular combustion, piston-like, propelling the miniature drive train under his feet. Sweat began to pour down over his brow from beneath his blue helmet, and he would not stop. Air-cooled with the dusting of a spring breeze on his face, the more he heated the faster he pedaled.

Journeying home from our ride, exhaustion was masked by laughter. Each of Cash’s outward breaths strummed his vocal cords crafting a concerto of jubilance. For kilometers of lakeshore his song of elation could be heard and was met with a smile from each bystander.

Although it seems minuscule against the greater picture of one’s existence, learning how to ride a bike will be a defining moment in your child’s life. It will also become an important moment for you as a parent. Cycling is an activity that will keep your family active and outdoors. It provides an opportunity to bond and strengthen your relationship with your child. It will test your patience as a parent and help you grow through the teaching process. And most important, it will instill confidence in your child by offering a complex challenge to triumph over.

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27 Comments

  1. Love! I was late to learning. I think every member of the family had a go at teaching me. It wasn’t until I saw my older cousins that I took it upon myself to be brave. I love it though, and can’t wait to teach my tot.

    #bigfatlinky

  2. A beautiful blog post Mathew. I’m trying to get my eldest daughter to ride without stabilisers but she’s not quite there yet. Your post is inspiring me to make a greater effort! #BigFatLinky

  3. This is something as a Mum I also too can’t wait to do. Cycling gives you such a feeling of freedom with the wind in your face and sharing that with your child must be ace! Xx #bigfatlinky

  4. It is so much fun teaching them to ride a bike.
    The look of excitement and pure joy when they do it on their own the first time is priceless.

    Great post.

  5. What a lovely post! It’s such a proud moment when your child finally masters their first set of wheels.

    #BigFatLinky

  6. This is gorgeous – it is such a momentous occasion for a child and a parent. I remember how exciting it was getting new bikes. My little one is two and a half and I’m thinking its almost time to get him his first bike. I’m so excited to get over to the country park that is five mins from our house and watch him ride with the wind through his hair :) #bigfatlinky

  7. Penny Pincher (Dawn) on

    My kids couldn’t even wait to be taught. They watched older kids on the street riding their bikes and were so eager to learn that instead of waiting until they had their own, they borrowed the older kids bikes and just picked it up themselves. x

  8. Anna busby on

    what a lovely post! i found out this week that my mum (50years old) was never taught to ride a bike and is now scared to try ! how crazy ! shows the importance of teaching our children these skills as parents ! #bigfatlinky

  9. I really need to teach my daughter, finding time and a safe place near us is a bit tricky at the moment, all the paths are really rough or right beside busy roads, but need to get her cycling as you are dead right it is a great activity to keep family active and healthy.

  10. What a great post. I just recently wrote about my boys learning to ride their bikes, what a great moment. As a child your bike is one of your most cherished possessions. (at least for me it always was). Good job dad/coach!

  11. Wonderful post, It’s something that I can’t wait to experience either. I look forward to having that opportunity to bond with Luke and experience his highs and lows with him. I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was 16 and I remember being terrified and for ages I couldn’t ride in a straight line – pretty sure I still can’t! Roads scared the bejeebus out of me! Ray xx #bigfatlinky

  12. I can’t wait to teach my boys to ride their bikes and go out on rides together as a family. I remember my Dad teaching me how to ride a bike, and finally doing it without stabilisers. Fond memories #bigfatlinky x

  13. Love this. Last summer was learning to ride your bike year, and it was tough. More for my eldest girl than my younger son because she tends to lack in her own self confidence. But we kept at it. Carried on. Phrasing for every balance made and before we knew it….they were both off with the BIGGEST smiles on their faces. It’s a pretty amazing milestone for sure.

  14. Michaela Dalton on

    I love this! My eldest has cerebral palsy and rides a trike, a two wheeled bike isnt an option for use but he has finally mastered the trike and we are having great fun with it! my littlest is 4 and shows zero interest in her bike at the moment. I’m trying to get her riding without stabilisers for the summer.

  15. A lovely post, very well written and capturing a momentous achievement. I’m looking forward to my boys being on pedal bikes, O already loves his balance bike and has asked for a pedal bike for his 4th birthday. So exciting! :)

  16. Great post! I think everyone remembers the day they first rode a bike without stabilisers. It really is a momentous moment which your son will always remember. I recall my dad pushing me down a very small slope in our garden which obviously seemed like a mountain at that age. #bigfatlinky

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