We were prompted to give it another go when Carlton Reid tweeted a link to Teach your child to ride, an excerpt from his book Family Cycling. We were obviously on the same wavelength because when I retrieved the Co-Pilot's bike from the back of the shed I found no training wheels, no pedals and seat pushed down as low as it would go. Clearly we'd been here before but had been defeated by legs that were just too short to keep the nervous young rider stable.
Not so this time: feet firmly on the ground plus a few years of scootering experience added up to an instant grasp of balance, cornering and braking. He was keen to go further so an outing to the local park was quickly arranged—the destination chosen for its wide and flat paths, good visibility, and gentle grassy slopes. And the playground.
A challenge to roll for as long as possible without putting his feet down soon saw the Co-Pilot resting his feet on the chain guard and crank arms—a sure sign that he was 'ready'. But there were nervous tears when I suggested putting the pedals back on, so we sat down and had a chat about how he'd already cracked all the hard stuff—balance, turning and braking—and within minutes he was converted. MLSP was sceptical when he said he wanted to go home and plug-in the pedals, but by now he was determined.
In the end it took longer to find some pedals and the pedal spanner than it took for the Co-Pilot to get going under pedal power. He ditched onto the grass once and then he was gone—a speck in the distance, much to MLSP's amazement. It was just great to see everything click.
A quick spin around the block confirmed it: the kid can ride.
Early this morning we were woken by an excited young cyclist (already wearing his cycling jersey) wanting to know when we could ride to SuperGran's place (a 20k round trip ). We might work up to that, but he did get to go for a ride—in fact, he spent most of the day in the saddle.
Now I must slip out to the shed and bump up his seat height a bit while he's not watching…