D – 9 (The first ride)
Counting down the days until Beth’s thirteenth birthday with a few reposts from the archives.
Originally posted: Jan 20, 2005, Beth’s age: 7
It started innocently.
“Beth, I’m not sure you should ride your bike until I can tighten those training wheels, unless of course you want me to take them off?”
“Alright dad, take them off.”
Fifteen minutes later we were together on the sidewalk; father, daughter, and bicycle. The father was standing behind it all, grasping the seat. The daughter was astride the bike, imploring the father not to let go. The bicycle was just sitting there, oblivious to it all.
After running along side for about thirty feet, Beth tells me to stop.
“Dad, I’d like to try it on my own now.”
I was ready to indulge her, and she rewarded my faith. She struggled unassisted, feet on the pedals, for about ten feet. That’s where she stopped, feet on the ground, bike still upright. Her very first solo attempt was a success!
Naturally I hoped, hollered, and generally carried on like an English soccer fan. (Beth thought my chanting strut down the sidewalk was a bit much.) Then I ran inside to grab the camera to record the second unassisted ride. It was the best thing to happen to our house since Adam first slept through the night.
Next thing I know Beth is asking to ride to her school with a group of friends (it’s a mile and a half away, but it’s practically inside our neighborhood and you don’t have to cross any busy streets). She came home thirty minutes later and collapsed. Apparently there are some things about bicycling that can’t be learned.