Monday, January 9, 2012

Two Wheels

We had an exciting event in our little household this weekend:

Matt learned to ride his two-wheeler!

As you can see in the video, he needs to work a bit with braking, but I was amazed at how fast he went from wobbling a few feet to zooming around the driveway.

I remember it being harder than that!

My first bike was a hand-me-down my dad spray-painted with glittery purple paint.  It had a sparkly banana seat and multi-colored handle bar streamers.  I didn't have training wheels and learned by trial and error in the grassy front yard.  It took a lot of time and band aids.

Both my boys can rock a big wheel and have experience with a small training-wheeled bike, but neither have practiced much with a real, honest to goodness two-wheeler.

As soon as Santa knew we were moving to Aunty M's, she decided the boys should get bikes for Christmas. Was there ever a better driveway to learn on? Santa did her research, saved her money and shopped around, knowing the hard part would be teaching the boys to ride.

The boys were cautiously excited Christmas morning. They both had just enough experience with two-wheelers to be anxious about riding one. We hit the Internet and found this article and video by REI extremely helpful.

Both of them did well with learning to balance and pushing the bike along with their feet.  It was moving to pedals that proved tricky.

Saturday morning, Matt coasted along and came so close! It was painful to watch.

"It's just so hard!" he cried. I told him to take a break and go back to it after lunch.

It was a beautiful day and we ate outside on the porch.  Matt finished first and jumped back on his bike. Gabe and I were talking when Matt started to shout and laugh. I looked up to see him pedalling!

Hooray for Matt!
Hooray for bikes!
Hooray for wonderful how-to videos from REI!

Now to get this big boy of ours using his pedals.

Gabe is not as enthusiastic about biking. It's a form of movement, after all.  But he's doing well and likes it better than any other form of exercise. We're working on coasting (propelled by his feet) and balance.  He's close to trying his pedals.  I think he just needs a little more time.

And since Gabe wouldn't practice riding without external motivation, we've added a little something to the REI method. We call it positive reinforcement.

Whatever works, right?

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