And the (training) wheels come off!
Words cannot begin to describe how amazingly proud of these two girls I am. Just a couple of weeks ago I was thinking to myself, “I’m going to have kids that are like 8 years old with training wheels on,” and today I can’t wipe the stupid grin off my face because I have two girls, that in a few short training sessions are riding with no training wheels. I don’t want to take anything away from their accomplishment and say they still have a little ways to go before they’re totally ready to hit the trails/sidewalks/driveways without my help, but the way they are riding, and the confidence they are gaining from this is so absolutely amazing to me and I couldn’t be more proud. Part of it is how quickly they’ve picked it up, considering they both fell a lot even with training wheels on. Part of it is how confident they have gotten from accomplishing something that I didn’t think would happen for a long while, making them feel like official “big kids.”
A couple of weeks ago, while I was hanging out with my dad he said, “You should bring them down here, taking the training wheels off and set them loose in the back yard. That’s where you learned how to ride.” It was brilliant and perfect. Not only is there a gradual downhill grade all the way over to my grandma’s house, but the grass would provide a smooth landing spot for them that concrete wouldn’t. I could never bring myself to let them go to crash on the concrete.
Cut to a couple weeks later, we were picking my bike up at the bike shop after a tuneup and the girls are ogling new “big kid bikes.” I informed them that those bikes don’t come with training wheels and the only way they’d be able to graduate to those is if they learn how to ride without training wheels on their current bikes. That was motivation enough (note: I did not promise them new bikes). Next thing you know, we’re at my folks’ house and the girls ready to get going. My dad and I split up the duties of running through the yard with them and the results speak for themselves:
In one day, they went from being scared of riding without their support system, to riding across the barn lot like champs. I never thought that day would come, or at least not this year any time.
In between big training sessions at Nana and Pops’ house, Annie and I took Hudson over to a park, where she could either ride in the grass or around the sidewalk and she did amazing!
Cut to Memorial Day and we made another trip down to Nana and Pops’ house to give training another go (and hang out and relax in the country). They again killed it and built even more confidence. At one point Hudson told me to let her do it herself as she tried to start on her own. They both tackled the hill in what can only be described as a daredevil role. It was pretty amazing and I might have captured a couple of their wrecks:
After this, I thought they were ready for the next level. So I organized a plan to pick them up from school, pick up Tracey and Annie and we’d all go over to Centennial Park to ride together. Initially I thought it’d be enough to just have them ride around the big circle, but after Elle’s count rose to 20 laps around, it was time to move on. From there, they managed to make their way through the winding park sidewalks like they were seasoned veterans. It was pretty amazing and like I said, I can’t seem to get this stupid grin off my face. It’s exciting watching them grown up, and even more exciting when they do something you weren’t sure they’d be able to do (any time soon anyways).
Here’s their trips through the park: