Bike Riding: Fiction vs. Reality

Just as, at the top level of professional cycling, the fiction of superhuman athletes is being superseded by the reality of decades of doped champions, the fiction and reality of bike riding at my house (toward the bottom of the cycling world) have sharply diverged. In the movies, or at least the TV shows and commercials, a kid learns to ride a two-wheeler after a little struggle, and maybe a spill or two. But soon enough, the dad pulls his hand away from the seat and then looks on, beaming, as the kid speeds off down the sidewalk.

At my house, though, it’s been different. Julia was excited to try to ride without training wheels, and in fact did pretty well right away, going quite a ways without help – but always freaking out when she realized I wasn’t holding on. Then, for several weekends in a row, we couldn’t find the time for a ride, and now her confidence and skills (such as they were) are gone. A bike ride on Saturday afternoon was a colossal failure, 45 minutes of crying and begging to go back home. So tonight, the reality of bike riding was me in the garage at 11 p.m., putting the training wheels back on.

Sigh. I hope this at least lets her enjoy buzzing around the neighborhood for the summer. Maybe being six will encourage her to try the two-wheeled life again…

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