The next generation rides ...

Jul 7, 2014
Winnipeg MB CA
Yesterday evening our son and his wife dropped the little ones off so they (the parents) could go out for his birthday dinner.

Our older granddaughter, who's still a few weeks away from turning five, wanted to take her pedal bike down to the park. Groan - always hard on Grandpa's back.

She's been using a scooter and a strider bike for a couple of years, but seemed unable to transition to riding her pedal bike. We thought training wheels would be counterproductive, and never used them.

But anyway, she did fairly well on the level, doing some pedaling and seeming close to being ready. The park was dug out after the 1950 flood to provide clay for a dike around a low-lying area, so the sidewalk slopes down toward the centre of the park.

Anyway, she got it, with a bit of a downhill assist! Perhaps 15 or 20 m on the first successful attempt, and well over 50 m by the end of the evening. Grandma and I were delighted - I likened it to the Wright Brothers' first flight. Sent a text to the parental units - "December 17, 1903 ... October 14, 1947 ... October 4, 1957 ... April 12, 1961 ... July 20, 1969 ... and now, June 27, 2022!" Of course they were curious when they returned to pick up the kids.
Nice. I'll never forget my daughter doing the same all those years ago. She too had difficulty at first, and we didn't use training wheels because they reinforce bad balance & steering habits.
Finally, I told her something that seemed to click:
Dad: "The handlebars aren't for steering, they're for balance. Move them as needed to maintain your balance."
Daughter: "Then how do I steer?"
Dad: "You steer with your eyeballs. Don't look down, look up at wherever you want to go, and you'll go there."
Very cool, she'll remember it the rest of her life. I can remember my dad doing the same with me on our sloped backyard on a bike that he brought home from somewhere. 60 years ago.

I did the same with our kids and our granddaughters.

This is my first bike in our backyard today.