Jonah 1, parental instruction 0

Jonah has learned to ride a two-wheel bicycle entirely on his own! And here I was looking forward to teaching him using a novel (to me) technique suggested by my friend Bart.

When I learned to ride a bike, it was after hours and hours, spread acrosss days and days, of coaching from my dad, who jogged along behind me holding my bike upright, like a human pair of training wheels. One day as I was finally getting the feel of it, I asked him a question and got no reply. I turned around to see him receding into the distance. He had let go, and I was riding the bike on my own! In a panic I literally leaped off the bike onto concrete, setting back my bike-riding efforts by a few more days.

I remember my dad’s help with great fondness, but Bart’s method made much more sense when he described it to me. The student straddles the top bar of the bike, feet flat on the ground, hands on the handlebars, and walks the bike around for five minutes to get a feel for it. The student then stands on one pedal while kicking off the ground with the other foot, like riding a scooter. After ten or fifteen minutes of that, the student is ready to get both feet off the ground and start pedaling.

But Jonah’s gone and learned to ride on his own initiative, using the small learning bikes that his preschool has in its schoolyard. I am proud! …but just a little disappointed. That’ll pass, though, come springtime, when we light out for the park and ride together!

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