This past week we celebrated another milestone in Bobby’s life. He’s finally got himself some wheels! Two to be precise.
He has learnt to ride a bicycle, unaided! No stabalisers, no handle, no mummy, no daddy. He’s in charge of his own propulsion now. Pedal power!
When his cycling journey began a few years ago, he started on a trike, of which we could steer and push along from behind, enabling Bo to wave at his peers and enjoy the scenery surrounding. We then moved up to stabilisers, which to be honest, were not very good at all. We found he’d rely on them too much and just lean to one side, not encouraging him to balance.
We were then kindly given a balance bike by our friends to see if that was any better. It was, slow and steady Bobby managed to get his feet off the ground, adding a second or two each time to his balance time. Now I’m not going to lie, we’ve had a few crashes along the way, some not so pretty, epic! But not pretty. The one crash that sticks out in my mind is the downhill – face first – tank slapper – cart wheel. We turned a corner in the local park and there was a small hill, Bo had already committed and I follow behind, with in seconds of his descent I saw disaster emerge from the concrete, as it began to unfold I could be heard for miles shouting “HEAD FOR THE GRASS!” He didn’t, he ditched the bike, and skidded for what felt like 100 meters, (more like 2 feet) on his front. We had a moment of tears and got straight back in the saddle – all forgotten.
That is one thing my dad told me about having a bike crash, “Get back on the bike straight after.. Otherwise you might be fearful if you dwell on it.” In hindsight I’m not sure why I listened to my dad, back in the day he was a bit of a biker, mods and rockers and all that, but by the sounds of it he had more miles on his bottom than his bike!
So after a few months on the balance bike, we decided to remove the stabalisers off of his original bicycle and give that ago. A few tantrums later and a few more tumbles he was beginning to get a handful of revolutions before stopping. It was at this point I got him to copy what his cousins could do, and within half an hour it clicked, he had all the pieces, all the tools, everything! So the next day, while it was fresh in his mind, we headed to the park, the same park as the epic crash. We put the bike on the ground, talked through what to do and he was off, somewhere in the distance was our boy, who 24 hours earlier couldn’t go more than 3 yards, and me, jogging, attempting to keep up.
I think that being able to ride a bike is a fundamental part of childhood. The freedom, the joy, the excitement. It’s what every a kid wants! We all have a funny story that involves being out on our bikes with our friends.
I for one have fond memories of my first bike, it was a beauty, a little blue number, black mud guards the whole shebang! I pulled my first wheelie on that bad boy, I did my first back wheel skid, probably even a bunny hop. I remember riding so fast that my stabalisers just fell off, and after thinking I was in trouble and crying to my dad that I’d broken it. I realised it was fate. I got straight back on and rode to my hearts content. I loved that bike!
I loved it so much that I still bring up the topic with my mum. Back in the day she worked on a farm, and me and my brother would ride around the farm like health and safety didn’t exist. One lunch break, we were all sat around an old tractor eating when a woman called Doreen took a keen Interest in my two wheeled pride and joy. The 5 year old me was not interested in accepting offers of any kind. However, my mum didn’t appear to get the memo, and gave Doreen the bargain of her life! £2, she sold it for £2. I am still not happy with the decision made in 1995 but alas, the memories live on.