Just like riding a bike

The sun came out on Sunday. A brief period of relief from northern frost. Due to the somewhat lingering ‘in-transit’ state of our house since moving (albeit 6 months ago), there are still boxes and ‘stuff’ all over the shop. Amongst the randomly dispersed items in our dining room is Ollie’s bike (I know, don’t judge me). This bike was a specially requested purchase, delivered by Santa just over a year ago. It is red. It is covered in what one might describe as Power Rangers ‘bling’. It has been sadly abandoned in our dining room due to a) the lack of clement weather since we arrived here in the frozen north, b) the fact that his lordship had actually demanded (I mean asked Santa for) a Ben10 bike, not a Power Rangers bike, and c) the inconvenient surface cover of choice which lines our extensive driveway – Yorkshire stone gravel. Hardly conducive to training wheels.

Here’s Ollie on the aforementioned bike at Xmas 2009.

And so, on this sunny day, my thoughts turned to a similar day in 2003 when, at the tender age of just 3 years old, a little boy was strapped reluctantly to his bike by his smiling but resolute mother, in a bid to conquer the balance issue and rid him of his ‘stabilisers stigma’. I am not proud of the memory. There was much bruising and scraping and pleading (and that was just me!) but within a couple of hours we’d cracked it and I confidently filed away the bike’s former back legs for posterity. George was infact the youngest kid in the street to be riding on two wheels back then, so I think we can chalk that one up as a success.

This is wee Georgie, aged just 3, a-ridin’!

Fast forward 8 years, and here is my wee Oliver, quickly advancing in years and still riding on training wheels! He is 4 and clearly I have failed him as a mother. I have been lax and lazy and remiss in not dealing with the situation. The shame and horror of it. What will the neighbours think? Will he ever find a friend who will play with him? I jest, of course, but Oliver does have one physical disadvantage in this scenario – he is unfeasibly, nay freakishly large. He has the outward appearance of one much older than himself. He has just celebrated his 4th birthday and amongst the purchases we made for him were some lovely new clothes – designed to fit a child aged 7! Ollie is not yet at school, but towers above the kids on their morning walk in their cute, tiny uniforms and clip-on ties. And so you see my problem. The issue must be tackled firmly and decisively this Spring.

So I have developed a 3 phased approach. Phase 1 – get him riding the bike WITH the stabilisers. Back in the saddle as they say. The execution of phase 1 began on this fine sunny Sunday morning. Much moaning ensued, and there was rather more pushing up the hills than actual pedalling. I did wonder at one point in the short, breathless voyage how this could possibly be so hard, until I looked up at Ollie to see him taking in the views and casually resting his feet on the side bar whilst I huffed and pushed his saddle up one of North Yorkshire’s finest. There was also a brief attempt to leave the bike in the next street and walk home, which I quickly stamped out. The jury is out on Phase 1.

Phase 2 can cunningly be adopted simultaneously with Phase 1. The scooter. Cleverly, I confided in my husband that I had bought this scooter in order to improve Oliver’s sense of balance in readiness for Phase 3. This was, of course, a lie. Nothing but hot air and an attempt at post-purchase justification on my part. I had bought it just because. Well, mainly because it is covered from top to toe in Spiderman branding – a pathetic attempt to ingratiate myself with my youngest son. It worked like a dream. He totally loves it. He scoots EVERYWHERE!  He also falls off a fair bit (note to self – traumatic crack in the pavement story to follow from my own childhood), but here’s the best part – his balance is definitely improving. I am a genius. Phase 2 working like clockwork.

Phase 3 of course will be where I whip out a spanner and remove the offending back legs (from the bike, not Oliver). He may be 8 by the time we reach phase 3, so the less said about it the better.

I was rummaging through some old stuff and found this photo. Me and my new GOLD bike (rocking the Nora Batty look). I clearly remember the terror when my dad took me out in the street to learn to ride it, and when he let go of my saddle without telling me. Much hurtling and hyperventilating. I hesitate to show the photograph, not because of the socks-and-Scholls error, but because you can clearly see that I was WAY older than 4. Hmmmmm.

This bicycle experience bore no comparison, however, to the cracked pavement incident in 1973, which left me scarred for life. My parents live(d) on a street with big hills at both ends. I had roller skates, plastic ones, which I loved, and would play for hours on the street with my friend from across the road. The gaping, dastardly paving stone caught my wheel and sent me tumbling in such an effective way that I fractured my left wrist. You know the rest – hospital, plaster cast, signatures, itchiness, celebrity status, etc., etc. If this had been 2011, the Local Authority would be facing a hefty law-suit from Accident-Prone-Helpers ‘R’ Us, but sadly this was 1973 and I was told not to be such a bloody clutz.

So, I have my spanner ready and waiting, the bike sits proud and ready in the dining room, and Oliver thinks he’s going to come home and watch Johnny Test, but you and I know differently, right……….?

Come on, these are precious memories, and I’m saving mine in the order they happened on my family’s lifelines at http://www.SaveEveryStep.com!! It’s still completely FREE, so register whilst the offer is still open.

I am tagging on an April update here – he did it!!!!! A trip to the park with his big bro did the trick. The wheels are off, the landing was soft grass and within minutes Ollie was riding full speed across the whole width of the park solo!!!!! That’s my boy. Click on this picture to watch a video of the big event!!

Development child - riding a bike

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