No Training Wheels!!

It’ been a few days since Haru got her new bike.  She seems to be really enjoying it a lot but she really had a hard time mastering the steering and braking.  Sometimes she would run into a wall or a street light pole, but the more she rides the more confidence she gains.  There was one time when she got a bit overly confident and and tried to bank too hard in a turn while going too fast.  Since her bike still had training wheels on it, this caused her to take a pretty hard fall.   This caused her to lose confidence in riding her bike, so she decided that she would never ride her bike ever again.  He loss in confidence and fear of bicycles lasted about an hour, and afterwards she was ready to go again.

After a few hours of going around the block a few times, and quickly gaining confidence in using the hand brakes and the handle bars, she became a regular pro at riding her bike.  As she sped down the long straight streets near our house, I noticed that the training wheels barely touched the pavement for most of time.  Maybe it was time to take the wheels off?

Haru had been using her Strider that she got for her 4th birthday for over a year now, and has gotten quite good at riding it, so I was pretty confident that she would take to riding a two-wheeler pretty quickly.  But the biggest differences between a Strider is that the strider is MUCH smaller, has no brakes, and has no pedals, so controlling her training wheel-less bicycle would be somewhat of a learning curve.

One day, while Haru and her mother were out, I decided to bring her bike into the house and remove the training wheels.  It was about a 15 minute job to get the extra wheels off and mount a shiny new kick stand in its place.  After the training wheels were off and ready to go, I realized how high the seat on her bike was.   Haru could still barely touch the ground so it’d be difficult for her get on and off her bike.  Her seat look to be about an inch off the frame so it was possible to lower the seat a bit, but that meant having to remove an ornament  that was mounted on the seat post.   Since I wasn’t expecting her to be able to ride on two wheels right away, I just left it as is for now.

After Haru returned, we took her bike (minus the training wheels) went to a nearby park where there was gently sloped dirt mound that opened up into a grassy field.  I was the perfect place to practice riding because the slope allowed her to gain enough momentum to mount her bike and roll down the slope without the fear of gaining too much speed, and if she did fall off her bike, the grass was overgrown just enough to cushion her fall.

At first, she was apprehensive about riding her bike without the aid of the extra wheels to keep her from toppling over and scraping her hands again.  But after a couple of pushes down the slope, she was able to  balance on two wheels and ride around the grassy field.  The first time ever solo ride on two-wheels went well, but she not being able to touch the ground with her feet increased her fear of stopping or turning.  I thin of we could somehow lower the seat a bit more, would do a lot better, so  the next step is to  bring the seat down a bit, and get her to a bigger park where she can gain confidence  in riding, steering, and stopping without fear of toppling over.



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