Monday, April 19, 2010

Learning New Stuff

by Scott Dalen

I don't remember much about being 6. I'll admit it. Flashes of kindergarten, mainly involving getting in trouble during nap time because I was talking to the kid laying next to me. Never once took a nap during the whole year. (And I wonder why its such a battle to get my son to take a nap on the weekends). I remember getting my first bike when I turned 5. It had training wheels (though most bikes do when they fall into the "first" category).

I rode that bike a lot, and by the time a year had gone by, I didn't use the training wheels. They were still on there, but I was always balancing on the center wheel. One day my dad took the training wheels off and off I went. I don't remember my first wipe out (though I'm sure it was glorious to behold).

I do remember that as a short little kid, I had to learn to start the bike from the side and jump on or step onto the pedals from front steps. The little tricks that you have to learn.

Now, 25 years later, I'm trying to pass those tricks onto my son. His first bike was very small...about a 8 or 10 incher, very low to the ground. He rode it for a year, but relied very heavily on the training wheels. He leaned clear over to the left side, so much so that the wheel on that side wore clear through the rubber and destroyed the plastic center portion of the wheel.

But then he grew out of that bike. His birthday is in January and when he turned 5 (a year ago) we got him a new bike. It's bigger, about an 18 inch if memory serves me correctly. He rode it last year with the training wheels, but he was getting pretty good at it so towards the end of the summer I took the wheels off. Some friends of ours had a handle that you can attach to the back end of the bike that allows an adult to hang on the bike and steady it as they get used to no training wheels. Same basic principle, but one step up.

He's still in that step. Once he gets moving, he can go okay, though he's not super confident yet and constantly looks around to see if we are still behind him.

He needs to stop doing that because he ends up cranking on the brakes and falling over. Starting and stopping are the issues for him. So we're working on that. Saturday evening was a training session. I've mentioned before that my in-laws live down the street (a couple hundred yards) so we kept going back and forth. I got a workout from running along beside him. He didn't want me to let him go completely alone, but when he's going fast enough to stay vertical, he's going faster than I can walk.

That served as my workout for the day. 20 minutes of running 200 yards at a stretch...over and over.


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