Thursday, November 03, 2011

Learning to Ride a Bike

A childhood rite of passage was learning to ride a bike.  I only remember a very small snippet of my experience.   My mom was teaching me to ride in our backyard but pushing me from the house to the back fence.   The yard was on a slight downhill slope.   I would pedal downhill.  My mom would steady me and help me stop.   
I remember one time going downhill and getting close to the back fence.   I yelled, "Stop!"  My mom yelled from a distance, " Use your brakes!"   I didn't remember if I did or if I crashed.   Either way, it wasn't fatal because I'm still her.
This summer, I decided to teach our six year old daughter how to ride a bike without training wheels.   Like my mom, I tried to have her ride on the slope in our yard.   Although she didn't crash, it didn't work.  Then I read a bike riding lesson on the Internet which recommended separating the two parts:  balancing and pedaling.
So I took our daughter out on the street which had a slight slope.  She worked on coasting and balancing without pedaling.   That took about a week for her to master.   Once she mastered balancing, the pedaling   part was very easy.  In fact, our daughter surprised herself (and everyone else) by pedaling uphill for a picture my spouse was taking.
It took about a week to learn riding a bike using the balance first then pedal method.  I highly recommend using this method for teach a child to ride a bike.
For more on Crossing Generations, check back every Thursday for a new segment.

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