Our Memorial Day Is One We’ll Never Forget!

T’s new “big boy” bicycle!

Over the weekend, C took some time putting together T’s new big boy bike while we were out of the house for a couple of hours. It was a lovely way to kick off Summer 2012, and a great surprise for T, too!

Well, RMT’ers, Monday for us was a day that C and I as parents will never, ever forget. Yes, it was Memorial Day, and that’s special enough for sure. However, something extra-special happened this Memorial Day that we won’t forget for a long, long time, and I don’t think T will either!

The very first photo of T taking off on his new two-wheel pedal bike! We tossed the bike in the back of the truck and drove down to one of our local elementary schools where there’s plenty of smooth, level riding surface to be had, especially on a holiday weekend.

This is pretty much how the entire hour-long outing went: T rode strong, C chased alongside and after T fast and furiously, and I ran around trying to catch any (blurry) photo I could of these first moments!

It’s ride across America! Well, not really, but I am sure it felt that way as C chased T across this school yard as he learned to ride his bike for the first time!

Here they come! Finally, I can take a break from the great photo chase!

Yep, you are seeing correctly: For the first time Monday, T successfully rode a two-wheeled bicycle! It was truly a remarkable moment in all of our lives. Before Monday, T hadn’t even tried to ride his two-wheeled pedal bike, so when C did nothing more than steady T with his hand on the seat behind him once he was on the bike and T took off within seconds, well, we were both amazed, surprised, and somewhat shocked really! That’s probably why the first photos of the moment are somewhat out of focus and off in the distance (I wasn’t ready to have to run after T to get photos after all).

A one-and-a-half-year-old T checks out one of his German friends riding on his balance bike. These types of bikes are and have been quite common in Europe for years in teaching children how to ride a bicycle at a very young age.

I’ve had a few people ask me how T was able to accomplish something like this at just four-and-a-half years old. Considering that I was about seven years old and C was about six when we rode two-wheelers without any training wheels, yeah, T’s pretty young for us to have tried to expect anything of this level from him. However, what T had to help him get to this point that neither C nor I had was a balance bicycle.

When T was one-and-a-half, we first learned about balance bikes while on vacation in Germany in March 2009. As the link above describes, a balance bike is a two-wheeled bicycle sized for a toddler and young preschooler that doesn’t come with any pedals nor any brakes. The design of a balance bike is such that the child can sit comfortably on the bike with both feet on the ground so they can first walk then progress to running and lifting their feet up to balance and roll along on the bike. These bikes are how German children had been learning to ride bikes for years, yet they weren’t anything I had seen or heard of to date in the States, most likely because we traditionally use training wheels in our culture. However, after seeing these bikes being used by kids as young as age two, and kids as young as three and four successfully riding traditional two-wheeled pedal bikes, C and I both knew that we wanted to buck American tradition.

C steadies a two-and-a-half-year-old T on his Skuut balance bike while on one of his many rides around the block.

There weren’t many options for balance bikes here at home, but luckily we were able to locate a Skuut brand balance bike in a handful of stores and online a few months after that trip. We chose one of Skuut’s wooden models, maybe the only one being sold State-side at the time actually, which gave the bike an extra toy-like charm that proved helpful for us to entice T into the idea that the Skuut was nothing more than a ride-along toy rather than a learning tool.

T scoots along on his Skuut bike (in July 2010).

We introduced the Skuut to T as nothing more than an extra toy that he could ride on first around the house then outdoors. We never pushed T into riding his Skuut, but if he ever asked us to go outside for a ride around the block on it, you bet we went. I think because we encouraged bike-riding only as just one of several fun, playful activities he could participate in rather than something he “needed to learn by x age” that, too, contributed to his bike-riding success. I also think T’s time on the Wee-Ride tag-a-long bike also helped him gain great strides towards his bike balance success.

On the same outing that T successfully rode his bike for the first time, he also tried out another boy’s two-wheeled Razor scooter for the first time. He loved that, too!

While T took a turn on the other boy’s scooter (pictured here up close in center), he took a turn on T’s bike. This was this child’s first time on a two-wheeled bike also! I happily took a photo for and texted it to the dad because if there’s a photo that every parent should have it’s at least one picture of their kid riding a bicycle for the first time. When the dad told us that his son’s bike still had its training wheels on it, we quickly retorted that he had a new to-do to take care of once he got home, and congratulations!

One more thing that always came with any form of riding anything outdoors for T was that he always has had to wear a helmet. Yes, T has owned and worn a bicycle helmet before age two. This was something that C and I insisted on not only because of the laws here in California but also because it’s the responsible thing to do. Safety first, RMT’ers!

A very happy T (and proud father C)!

Another fun photo of father-and-son during T’s first bike ride!

All in all, T came out of his first solo bike ride pretty much unscathed, except for this one boo-boo on his arm. However, the boo-boo came from the Razor ride, not the bike. But don’t worry, it didn’t get him down, especially since T got a celebratory juice box and snack for all of his accomplishments!

Oh what a fun summer we are going to have… now let’s all go ride our bikes and celebrate!

One response to “Our Memorial Day Is One We’ll Never Forget!

  1. Pingback: Coming This Fall: Another First – and Transition – for All of Us! | Real Mom Time (RMT)

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