Just like riding a bicycle

Allison Tait blog
Posted on September 28, 2010

Today, a victory. Mr6 set forth on his bike across the grass of the local showground without his training wheels. And rode. And rode. And rode. With me shrieking ‘you’re doing it! you’re doing it!’ like a crazy woman, jumping up and down in the centre of the field.

The excitement of learning to ride a bike.

It’s been a while in the making. We first tried about six months ago but, never one to embrace something new, he baulked. Hard. Refusing to go near the bike until the training wheels went back on. We acquiesced. He’ll do it when he’s ready, we decided. He’s like that, Mr6. You can’t actually make him do anything until he’s ready.

We waited for signs of readiness. None.

So we forced the issue again. Off came the wheels. He rode the bike around the front yard with me running and shouting and flapping along behind him. It wasn’t a success.

More space, I decided. He needs more space.

And so, today at the showground. Some tips. More running and shouting and flapping. He turned to me. “Mum, let me do it by myself.”

I backed off. He got on. And rode his bike.

I’m not sure who was more thrilled.

Do you remember learning to ride a bike?


  1. Ivan M

    We had a lot of success by taking off the pedals. The kids learn balance first and scoot around like the Flintstones. When they are ready, you put on the pedals. Pretty good success rate without the dramas.

  2. anjwritesabout.com

    How fabulous! And by ‘fabulous’ I mean brilliant for him and yet another thing to be anxious about for you. 😉

    I recall learning without my training wheels as a result of moving state and my parents hadn’t put the wheels back on (in retrospect could this have been on purpose?). We lived at the top of a gigantic (to a 6yo) hill so I braced myself, settled on the pink banana seat and flew down the hill with the multi-coloured streamers shivering excitedly from the handles.

    Seems we should be dusting off Mr5’s Thomas the Train bike. And removing those extra wheels…

  3. Maxabella

    I’m so excited for him!! I don’t remember learning, but I remember all the fab rides since.

    Working on Max… working… working… x

  4. Tenille

    I have a confession: I never learned to ride a bike. I was never ‘outdoorsy’ as a child, and was never really pushed, so it never happened. I worry about it actually, because I want my daughter to learn when she’s old enough, but I won’t be going with her unless I bite the bullet, buy a bike and learn myself.

  5. Green Mama

    Ahh, I love a crazy shrieking woman, especially when it’s not me! Awesome achievement for both of you. Now you get to stand in the street and shriek ‘slow down’ for the next decade or so!

  6. allison tait

    @Deer Baby – I confess that I don’t remember a lot of the actual learning either. But then, as we’ve established, I have a terrible memory for just about everything. Except trivia. I’m not bad at that. I’m thrilled that everyone else has such clear images though. I feel like I’m there!

    Mr3 is also learning to scoot and loves it – I love walking along behind him, watching his little leg pumping furiously as he attempts to ‘go fast’.

    I think the tip on the balance bike is a good one. I’d probably go down this road with both boys if I was going to do it all again – which I am not.

  7. Deer Baby

    Go go go Mr 6!! That’s great – a real rite of passage. He’ll be wearing that yellow jersey one day for sure.

    I can’t remember it at all, which is odd. I loved my bike and rode everywhere. But learning – total blank.

    My son was not overly impressed when we bought him a bike one Christmas. Maybe it was the way we’d wrapped it. But my little one is quite a whizz on her scooter – although she thinks it’s called ice scaping (sic).

  8. Belinda

    Oh no, I can’t remember. I do remember moving from my little bike with training wheels to being surprised with my BIG girl bike with all the accessories. I seem to be able to remember the exact place I mastered roller skating.

    Yay for your little one.

    I was so excited for Miss L to master riding by herself. I screamed with joy and she nearly fell off.

  9. misssy m

    I remember the exact moment- I can see it point of view in my head. Was on Christmas day on my new bike. It came with stabilsers and I wanted them off in case the older kids in the street saw them!

  10. Lucy

    It must be the season for it. We had an amazing time on the school yard last weekend doing the same thing for Olivia (also 6). Her little chest is still puffed with pride.

    I am so pleased for your Mr 6.

    I recall the day my training wheels came off. In a railway station car park. I felt as if I could fly and rule the world. Scabbed knees and sunburn and such happiness.

  11. Elizabeth

    Learning to ride a bike is one of the best memories I have. I did it about the same as Mr6 – training wheels came off and i refused to touch the thing. Then a few months passed, and I was playing around on the bike while my dad talked to a neighbor. All of a sudden I was doing it! I was so excited and proud of myself, I kept ringing the little bell on the handle bars over and over to get my dad to watch me. 🙂

  12. Kristy

    I do remember! So many things to look forward to with kids!

  13. Cathy

    Just try and stop him now! It will also be a moment that he remembers for the rest of his life.

    Balance bikes are another great way to teach young children from as young as 2 to start to master the balance of a 2 wheel bike.

    They learn to balance first and get use to the sensation of free wheeling way before you introduce them to pedals.

    Trainer wheels can teach bad habits as they actually prevent your child from balancing and children who get to learn to ride on balance bikes can generally progress to a pedal bike without the need for trainers.

    Great post and I hope you don;t mind me sharing this.

    Cathy from Live Play Create, creators of the “Tike” balance bike.

  14. Tina

    Yay for Mr.6!! 🙂

    You know, I vaguely remember my mum trying to teach me how to ride without training wheels. Because I kept saying I couldn’t do it, she threatened to take my new bike that I just got for Christmas back to the shop and I remember her backtracking quickly when I said that I thought that Santa had given it to me.

  15. allison tait

    It’s funny you say that @Posie – my brother’s first words when I told him were ‘well, you won’t see much of him now’.

  16. Posie Patchwork

    This is a big deal, congratulations!! Now he’ll freak you out with how fast he can ride, how far . . . off into the distance!! Love Posie

  17. ClaireyH

    I took forever, my mum rode me to school in the baby seat till grade one! Popps is now the same, the training wheels will be there for a long time yet.

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