A Bike-Riding First

Today, I was determined that we were going to go bike riding. AJ simply doesn’t have the confidence to balance and pedal on his pedal bike, and can’t go fast enough to keep up with adults on the balance bike. We are still stymied by the dilemma of how to get four kids behind two adults in a safe and successful manner, so I thought I’d try to encourage him to ride on his own by re-attaching the training wheels to his 12″ blue bike. We aired up the tires and wandered around Waukon in the van, looking for the right (metric, fine-threaded) nut to affix the training wheels. We did finally find something that would work, though not exactly what was on the other side, and put it together with Daddy’s help and hand strength. Once the whole thing was assembled, we quickly realized that AJ has completely outgrown that particular bicycle.

I have a 20″-tire Mongoose BMX-style bike in the garage that David brought over randomly one day and brought that out to see if we could put it in use, but it’s in need of some new tubes and some serious TLC before anyone can ride it.

There is an incredibly fancy pedal trailer coming for Olin in the next week or two (I’ll explain that whole amazing business in another entry) and I knew AJ was going to need some kind of ‘special’ as well, so I took the four kids and Lance to Wal-Mart to size AJ for the bike he really needed. We found a 16″ and an 18″. One was exactly the right size right now, and the other had a little more grow room, but AJ wasn’t as confident on it. Both came with training wheels, but the 16″ just looked so great that we all pretty much agreed that it had to be. I imagine I can probably get a longer seat-post for it when it’s time to expand. And that will be soon, but I can’t beat the enviable paint job.

So, we bought AJ the bicycle (which is tricked out and has totally matching training wheels and those trick footrest thingies on the front). He rode it (very slowly and carefully) to the checkout and then to the door. I made him walk it across the parking lot, and then we added it to the already-half-full rack. We’re starting to amass quite the bike-pile. “That is definitely a statement,” Lance says.


It certainly is.

[In case you’re confused, that is Tim’s bike in the back (silver), then my bike (blue, then an orange/black Trek pedal trailer, and finally a blue Burley pedal trailer. We took all 4 kids that day, but we had 3 adults to haul… Lance brought his bike separately and the pull-behind pedal trailer is in the back of the van.]

Anyway, back to the story.

We went to the bike shop, which is less than half a block from the beginning of the bike trail, and after a stop for ice cream (riding fuel), headed for the trail. AJ rode his new bike and Olin was absolutely determined to ride the blue 12″ bike, despite looking like an elephant on a tricycle. Miraculously, he rode it about three quarters of the distance! He fell a few times, mostly I think because he was so top-heavy, but laid there for a second or two, then got back up and kept going. AJ made it the whole way and only fell over half a dozen times, mostly when caught on a hill, but he went significantly faster. Lance has a speedometer on his bike and clocked AJ at 8mph. Not too bad for his first independent bike ride!

Evangeline and Seraphine rode in the regular two-seater trailer pulled by Lance, but he very skillfully talked them in to it by advertising the ride as “going to the ball in your princess carriage”. He was a little miffed when I pointed out that, that made him the horse.

“I’m the prince,” he insisted.

“Generally, the prince doesn’t pull the carriage…”

In all, we only rode about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile, mostly due to time constraints, but it was… Well, let me explain it this way. Outings with the kids tend to be labeled by participating adults as “a total fail” or anywhere from “That was pretty bad, on the scale,’ to “Not so bad, on the scale. On the scale.”  This one we felt comfortable calling “a win”.

Of course, all these new adventures and I didn’t bring a camera, so I convinced AJ to ride his bike around a little bit at home for me. He didn’t have as easy a time with our hill and gravel, but he was game to try.


Getting so big!

Bike-riding might actually work this summer, after all!



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