Life’s a Bike Without Training Wheels: Gotta Have Confidence & Balance!

My little girl and I’ve gone bike riding quite frequently, either on her bike with training wheels or her trailer bike attached behind my bike. But yesterday was a major milestone. We went out for her first practice ride with one missing training wheel and then with both taken off. Quinn told me, “I’m excited but nervous, Mommy. Do you have any advice?” I immediately said, “A big part of riding a bike without training wheels is having the confidence that you can do it, and another part is being able to balance!”

We spent about an hour at the neighborhood park’s lot for a flat surface: a half hour with just one training wheel attached and the other half with no training wheels attached. Without me coaching her, she repeatedly said, “I am confident, I am confident…” as she tried to balance, pedal, steer and look where she was going. There were times when her father or I was along the side or in the back and even a few instances when she was able to ride with minimal assistance.

While she  managed to get accustomed to just the one training wheel, no training wheels definitely proved to be more arduous. I could see the frustration starting to seep in as she tipped to the side when she pedaled a short distance, and I didn’t want her to feel defeated. I shared with her that I didn’t learn to ride a bike in just one day and that it may take some time.

Right next to the park’s lot we could see a couple of teens practicing tricks at the skate park, and I  asked, “Do you think they learned how to skate board or do those tricks in one day?” Quinn said, “No.” I responded, “Exactly! They probably practice a lot, and the more you practice the better you will get at riding your bike with no training wheels.”

This made me think about how so many tasks and activities in life require confidence and some level of balance in order to succeed.  Everything from bike riding to skate boarding to roller skating and even walking needs these features. If you think about it, the people who lead the most successful lives tend to be confident and well-balanced.

I also feel confident in saying that most would say this isn’t something that happens over night. Parents, teachers, mentors and many other people and “helpers” may be our “training wheels” in the early stages of life. Sometimes, people don’t need them at all, others need them for a little while, and some need them longer than others. I’m not sure how long it will take my daughter to confidently balance without training wheels, but I plan to be right by her side encouraging her that she can do it not just with riding a bike but with anything in life.

If you have any tips for riding without training wheels, please feel free to share.

All the best,

Tanya

It’s All Downhill from Here! Life Lessons from My Little Girl.

 

“You know what the best part about going up a hill is, Mommy? Getting to have fun going down it really fast!” my little girl informed me as we traveled the neighborhood on our bike ride. You know what else, if I’m using my scooter, I can just put both of my feet on the board and save my energy. When we’re on the bikes, we don’t have to pedal as much either! While this may seem obvious to most adults and even some older children, what’s not so obvious is the deep rooted lesson my soon to be six year old shared with me.

How often do we focus on the difficulty of  a task or how it’s going to be an “uphill battle” to achieve our goals? As we climbed a very steep hill on our bikes, Quinn was already thinking about the fun part of coasting along and enjoying the ride down the hill we managed to climb. One hill was extra steep, and I struggled with my sweet girl hooked up to the bike trailer to get us up the incline. I even asked her, “Are you pedaling back there, Quinnie?” “I sure am mommy! We’re almost up that hill. Then we get to go down!” she said happily.

Then, we made it! It seemed like we’d never get up that one hill, but once we did, a weight was lifted, and we both were eager to speed quickly down the hill with the sun shining and breeze blowing in our faces.

Upon making our way home, she couldn’t wait to inform her dad about our struggle. She chuckled and said, “Mommy could barely make it up one hill, Daddy! But we made it. Then we got to go down the hill really fast. It was so much fun!”

Most of us have heard the phrase “Life is filled with hills and valleys.” However, most people view the valley as a negative place and the hills as the positive climatic moments in our lives. I’d like to think that the hills give us that challenge we need to thrive and be successful, and the valleys or declines from those hills give us the wind in our faces, time to rejuvenate and to simply enjoy the coast.

All the best,

Tanya

The Balancing Act of Riding a Bike with My Little Girl

The other day, I took my four year old out to practice riding her bike. As she pedaled down the sidewalk with me following closely behind her, a woman coming our way smiled at Quinn and then at me. After complimenting Quinn on her helmet, she turned to me and said, “May I offer some advice?” Before I had a chance to say yes, she said, “You really ought to get your daughter a balance bike. That’s the way my three kids learned. After using the balance bike, they went straight to riding bikes with no training wheels.” I just smiled and thanked her for her advice, and my daughter and I continued on our way.

This woman was actually the second person I encountered in the past few months who suggested that I invest in a balance bike for my little girl. While I’ve seen these bikes advertised in circulars or on the Toys ‘R Us website, I’ve actually never seen a child using one outside. Also, I learned using training wheels and transitioned to using a ten speed bike by the time I was six.

My daughter loves her Disney princess bike so much, and she’s getting better and better at coming to a complete stop as we approach an intersection and is steadily improving with steering the handlebar. I’m not too sure if I want to change over to a balance bike for selfish reasons; it will slow us down. Also, I’m not sure Quinn would like it since she enjoys being able to pedal her bike to meet her daddy at the train station. Plus she has a trailer bike attached to mine which has pedals too.

Did you learn how to ride a bike using training wheels on a traditional bike or learn using a balance bike? Which type of bike did or do you prefer for your child? Even though I feel like my mind is made up, I’m willing to consider the balance bike if it will benefit Quinn in the long run. Please share your thoughts. Thanks.

All the best,

Tanya

Terrific Toy Tuesday: Mommy’s Little Bike Riding Co-Pilot

“Wheeeee! That was fun! Can we do it again, Mommy?” my little girl asked. Just a few weeks ago my daughter turned four years old, and while she can still fit comfortably in her jogging stroller, for the past few months I was looking for a way where we can both get exercise, have fun and spend time together all at once. Her preschool is about a twenty minute brisk walk away from our house but is a bit too long to expect Quinn to walk the entire way. On a couple of occasions, we used her scooter and her little bike, but needless to say it took far longer than twenty minutes for her little legs to get home from school, even with my assistance.

Then I thought about a tandem (two-person) bike but was concerned about her feet reaching the pedals, storage and me just wanting to ride the bike solo yet navigating with an empty seat in the back (This would be my only bike) Then, on Amazon’s website I came across the perfect alternative: the WeeRide Co-Pilot Bike Trailer. It comes in three different color options: pink, green and white. Interestingly, the price does vary depending on the color ranging from about $70 to $80. It is for ages four to nine and a child up to 75 pounds, so we should be able to use it for the next few years with no problem.  I even purchased a Minnie Mouse basket, handlebar streamers and a bell from Target to make it special for Quinn.

Assembly was easier than I anticipated, and hitching her bike onto my newly purchased bike took just a matter of minutes. Now, when I want to ride by myself, I can simply disconnect her bike, but I can reconnect hers back to mine with no problem. Now, instead of the twenty minute brisk walk with the jogging stroller, it takes us about eight minutes. There’s a few hills along the way, which certainly are a challenge, but my four year old pedaled with all her mite to help out and said, “I was pedaling too. We make a good team don’t we, Mommy!” We even have more time to stop by the nearby park with the bikes. This week, there’s a chance of rain almost everyday, and Quinn informed me, “I don’t want it to rain so that we can ride our bikes together.”

We’ve just been riding our bikes for the past couple of weeks since her birthday, but we are already the excited for more outings bike rides through the neighborhood together. I just love having Mommy/daughter time together and hope this will be a memorable moment not just for me but for my daughter too.

All the best,

Tanya