Monday, April 7, 2014

Training wheels...Who needs 'em?

I am working on a couple of longer blogs right now which I plan to post soon. In the mean time,
Am I the worst dad ever?! The question is rhetorical of course, as I do not beat the shit out of my kids. So at least I am doing better on the dad scale than some of the ass hats out there. The reason I ask is that as a professional bicycle mechanic who lives, breathes, eats, and bleeds bikes (and after all the eating and bleeding, occasionally shits bikes) shouldn't my 6 year old be riding a bike by now? Her bike is too small for her and it still has training wheels. She rides it in circles in my garage/bike shop, and occasionally on the side walk. Beyond that there is not much in the way of safe passage outside of those places. Plus, riding a bike with training wheels on a side walk can be really hard to do for a kid if the sidewalk is junk. Her mother and I are getting her a new bike but the question is: training wheels on this one? I say no. I know she is old enough to ride without them, but will she? I figure she may fall down a few times but,
A) We all did, and
B) Maybe she won't fall, 
but instead be naturally awesome like her Dad.

I picture it going something like this:

(...she will be a Storm Trooper in no time!)

In reality, she never really learned  to ride a bike, she just learned to pedal in circles. That said, she is a talented kid. She is really smart and I am sure she is up for the challenge. I just worry that she will get hurt and not want to ride a bike. My sense of urgency to teach her this year came after I had a conversation with a local mom who came in to the bike shop on Saturday. She went on and on about how proud she was that her "little girl just learned to ride without training wheels..." When I asked how old she was, I was embarrassed once she told me she was "6." Compared to the children of the non-"bikey" moms and dads out there, you would think that my kids would be riding circles around them by now. But they are not and that makes me sad. 
I bring this to you, the reader, to lend me your advise. While this blog only draws about 200 readers of each post, many of them are spread across the globe. Nations including Japan, Australia, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, India, UK, US, Canada and even Singapore, are reading my mindless dribble on a regular basis. Especially the European readers who live in places a lot more bike-friendly than here. How did you teach your kids? 
Seriously, what do you think?
...After all, I started this blog to start a dialogue, not to talk to myself. I really do value your advise, and could not be happier that people all over the world are reading this. Even if it is just to say "hi," please leave a (positive) comment below. I would love to hear from you.

Thanks again for everything! -Jason