Monday, March 1, 2010

The Best Day Ever

I knew that this day would eventually come around, but my question was WHEN?
Bryce had shown more than a little resistance to the idea of riding a bike without training wheels. I'm not sure why since there is more than enough exposure to the fun stuff related to riding bikes with me constantly on them in one form or another.

Of course, me being on bikes all the time may be the reason? Perhaps this was the potential equation in Bryce's head?

Dad is inherently a little goofy and un-cool + Dad Rides bikes + I don't want to be goofy and un-cool = Avoid clutzy Dad proves that you can get hurt on them...

Nah, that couldn't be it. He's waaaay too young to have recognized that I may not be the best thing on the planet yet.

Bryce had been on training wheels up until last year when he had become brave enough and competent enough to start trying to rip around high(ish) speed turns. Making turns at speed is never a good idea on training wheels because as he leaned into the turns the real rear wheel would come off the ground and the bike would be careening along with only one training wheel and the front tire touching the ground. That scenario wasn't a good way to get anything done and also was a quick way to end up with a big crash, so I took the training wheels off. We tried a few attempts at riding without the training wheels as I would run while holding his seat so he wouldn't fall through a grassy area of the neighbors yard. That was a year, ago and when he stopped riding that day, he never got back on the bike. He really didn't want to ride for whatever reason. I was more than a little disappointed, but I didn't say anything to him about it. I decided to be patient and assumed that the day would finally come when he would decide to learn to ride.
This past weekend, I was watching the kids while the ladies were out shopping, and to try to make the afternoon more fun, I pulled the bikes out and all the kids were rolling around the driveway on a chalk drawn race course. Bryce was happily on his scooter.

I asked Bryce if he would like to try out riding his bike with me running with him to keep him from crashing. I had asked this question a million times and he always said no, but this time, much to my delight, he said "Ok, if you won't let me fall."

The process of teaching him was rather anticlimactic. There was no great swelling of a John Williams soundtrack. I knew he was much more coordinated and much stronger than even six months ago. Brenna and I had discussed that we both knew he could already ride most likely. He just needed to try it. And that's just how it went.

I ran behind him with a hand on the bike seat. I told him I would let the bike wiggle and lean, but I wouldn't let him crash. He accepted this with a nervous look on his face.

I started him off in the driveway and across the neighbors yard. I really appreciate the neighbor being kind enough for us to run through his yard. I didn't really have control over where Bryce pointed the bike, and I wasn't going to stop him in his attempts at riding to simply avoid making tracks in his dormant grass anyway.

From the moment we started going, Bryce had it. I was barely touching the seat and he had very few problems steering and braking the bike. I looked for cars and told him to keep going. I moved from keeping a hand on the seat to running beside him. Bryce realized that he was doing all of the work and he hadn't crashed. His confidence was apparent, because he gave me "The Look", leaned over the bike bars, and took off sprinting. I was running as fast as I possibly could just to keep up.
An example of "The Look"

Perhaps, a more famous example of "The Look"...Yep, the end result was similar. Bryce dropped me like Lance dropped Ullrich back in '01. Except, for us, we both won. Bryce could finally ride a bike, and I finally had a chance to go ride with him. Actually, I needed to get on a bike, because I certainly couldn't run wind sprints behind him for another loop around the neighborhood...whew...

In case you wanted to waste your time with a movie loosely (very loosely) representing how quickly Bryce dropped me...
As a side note, If you don't like Fat Boy Slim, turn down the volume...

I took Bryce over to Heardmont park and we rode around the trails for more than an hour. It was one of those perfect days. In fact for February 21st, that description isn't an embellishment. It was 70 degrees outside and there were people everywhere. I can't wait for spring, and this morning is cold and gray again. Winter is still here and it still stinks. Bleh...
Bryce's $9 youth helmet doesn't really fit, and it kept falling down over his eyes, which honestly doesn't help one's riding abilities. Instead, I let him wear the only other option in the garage that came close to fitting him, my really expensive road helmet. Go figure, you get what you pay for.

That water was still cold even if the air was warm!

I'm not sure really which one of us liked this day more. I know I had one of the best times ever on a bicycle, but Bryce also was so excited that he rode for hours. The next morning, after he had gone down to ride his bike again before breakfast, he came back up saying, "My bum hurts from riding."

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