Need for Speed!


I have to admit something that might make you think I am a bad mom.  Until last week we had an eight-year-old who could not ride a bike.

"Why?", you might ask.  Well, the last eight years we lived on a twisty "country" road with no sidewalks and bordered with either huge deep ditches or high snake-filled grass.  Traffic wasn't a huge issue unless they were playing softball games at the park up the road, but the vehicles (mostly trucks) that did come by drove like drunk bats-out-of-hell.  The area was pretty, but you would risk your life trying to ride your bike anywhere.   So this avid bike rider (I biked all four years to my classes at college and commuted to work by bike for many years) had stopped riding.

So needless to say, the boys did not know how to ride and my poor bike sat there sadly, rusting with rotten tires.

We moved last year into a subdivision with a safer road and Imp was riding his bike with training wheels everywhere, but Duke wanted nothing to do with his bike.  He has a green machine three-wheeler which was enough excitement as far as he was concerned.

We tried to teach Duke to ride his bike and he fell a few times and decided bike-riding was not worth the pain.  So I had resigned myself that he would hopefully learn how to ride before college.

But last weekend we had enough and packed up the boys' bikes and headed to the local park which has a  large parking lot.  Imp was up first and learned to ride within one minute.  After five minutes he was jumping curbs, riding in ditches and grass, and doing figure eights.  He crashed about a hundred times doing these fancy tricks, but he would simply dust himself off and get back on.  That kid is going to end up a Navy Seal, or in prison...  :-)

So Duke's time was up.  My husband was recording the video and as I was starting to run with Duke, he captured Imp (5) doing wheelies behind us.  ;-)

After a few crashes, extra-cautious Duke was up and riding.   And was he ever proud; but not as proud as his parents.


We got back home and both boys couldn't wait to ride around the subdivision.  In the photo above, Duke is in the foreground and Imp is the tiny speck at top (getting ready to jump a curb and wipe-out).

I had just donated my old college bike because it needed too much work, so we drove to Academy and picked up two new adult bikes and we are now a riding family!  We found out if we cut through the woods to the bigger neighborhood next door we have plenty of room to ride.  And through that neighborhood there is a "country" dead-end road (part gravel) with almost no traffic, beautiful woods and fields, and houses that make our little house look like a shack.  The complete ride there and back is around three miles and the boys and I do it sometimes twice a day.


Teaching both boys to ride their bikes that gorgeous, sunny winter day ranks in the top ten days of my life.  Imp said it best; "Mom, this is the best day of my life!".  Yep, life is good when you are on a bike. Especially if you have a cushy gel-filled seat.

I would love if you could leave a comment below on what ages your kids learned how to ride without training wheels.  Hopefully someone out there can make me feel less guilty. :-)

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15 Comments:

tiltthem January 13, 2013 at 1:39 PM  

4 years for both of my boys, but Denmark is also known as being "the country of bikes".

Your neighborhood looks very nice.

Gardening in a Sandbox January 13, 2013 at 2:16 PM  

Loved your post and a happy ending to boot. There will be fun filled days to come. I remember our boys spent many hours on their bikes. Valerie

Kathleen January 13, 2013 at 2:46 PM  

I have to laugh.... eight years old is nothing. My youngest is almost 19 and still can't ride a bike! We moved to an area with dangerous roads just when she was at the age to learn, so although both her siblings ride bikes, she has always had "something better to do" ever since. You are lucky to be where you are now!

Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom January 13, 2013 at 3:43 PM  

You are not alone... My almost 8 year old cant ride a bike either. There are just too many hills around our house and no sidewalks. It doesn't really matter that he cant ride his bike since none of the other kids around here can ride either. I know it bothers my hubby, so I will suggest taking him to the school parking lot to learn...
~Jamie

Stacy Woodruff January 13, 2013 at 6:05 PM  

I didn't learn until I was ten. We lived in the country, too. I tried lots of times, but just couldn't do it. Then I got a new bike for my tenth birthday, and my sister and her boyfriend took me to the school parking lot and taught me.

Tricia Schumacher January 13, 2013 at 6:49 PM  

my big boy was 5 I think. Hudson is 3 and still has training wheels.

The Pences January 13, 2013 at 7:35 PM  

This post makes me feel so much better! My oldest is almost 6 and still needs training wheels. Because her brother and sister are so little and I keep other little ones in my home, we really don't get out much on the bikes. I know the time will come, and hopefully like your son, she'll pick it up very quickly once it's part of our lives. Thanks!

Rita January 13, 2013 at 9:20 PM  

Makes me feel better that some of you have kids who learned later. Funny, you wake up one morning and your kids are big enough to ride a bike without training wheels. Oh, time flies so fast... Just the other day they were babies.

Jill Wellington January 14, 2013 at 8:37 AM  

Looks like so much fun, Rita! Those boys will LOVE those bikes!

Erika January 14, 2013 at 11:24 AM  

We live in the country on a dangerous road where people fly by like they are in the daytona 500. Our yard is a fairly good size though. My oldest daughter was 7 before she could ride without training wheels. It made it a little more difficult practicing in the grass but it didn't take her long to get the hang of it. She is 9 now and still a tad bit clumsy sometimes bless her heart! My 3 year old daughter is a little more adventerous like "Imp" and I think she will be riding w/out training wheels at a much earlier age.

bdaiss January 14, 2013 at 4:30 PM  

Go Duke and Imp! And no worries - at least they know now. My mom has never learned to ride a bike (she just turned 67)!

We are lucky - we live out in the country on a busy road too. But our driveway is 1/4 mile long AND we have a 100 mile long rail-to-trail path for a back property line.

We picked up a Strider bike (http://www.stridersports.com/)when our son was 2. He was riding a regular bike without training wheels on his 3rd birthday. 3 years later, we're on our second strider and our daughter is about to move up to a regular bike this summer (she turned 3 in October). If you know anybody with young kids - the Strider bikes are amazing! They teach your kid balance so you don't have to do training wheels in the first place.

Lois January 17, 2013 at 9:01 AM  

We have 5 boys. My youngest who is 7 is still riding with training wheels. But my 14 year old will not ride. I have tried to teach him so many times. I stopped trying because he was becoming too frustrated.

Anonymous January 23, 2013 at 9:47 AM  

I learned when I was 8. My boys 5& 4, but it all has to do with location, location, location. They would not have learned if there wasn't a place to ride.

Anonymous January 25, 2013 at 2:14 PM  

Both our kids learned how to ride without training wheels at Christmas. Papa was encouraging or daughter (age 6) to give it a go. We knew she was ready as the training wheels were all the way up and she barely used them. But it was our 4-year-old who surprised us when he hopped on sisters bike and went for it. The funny thing was, it was Papa who got a new bike for Christmas. Fun holiday for everyone!

gerberbaby1 March 2, 2013 at 3:04 PM  

Funny!! My youngest daughter was too busy riding her horses to bother about bike riding. We live on a farm with a gravel driveway and a busy county highway so it wasn't too bike-friendly either. She turns 25 in a month, is in veterinary med school, and doesn't waste a moment wishing she could ride a bike....although I feel guilty that she can't!!