Keeping with the bicycle theme, this one happier than yesterday's post, today was the first time Lilia tried the no-pedal way of learning to ride a bike. Last summer and then again, last week, Fran tried the old, holding onto the seat and running method, which has not worked. She was not feeling very confident and instead of trying to balance or pedal, she just kept asking over and over again if Fran was holding on. This went on for a very long time, which did nothing for her confidence. Last night, Fran saw a video online (scroll down for video) that looked promising. It's a technique that consists of taking the pedals off of the bike and lowering the seat so your child's feet can plant firmly on the ground. Next, the child "walks" while seated on their bike and tries to gain speed. Once they gain enough speed, they'll be able to pick up their feet and "glide."
The whole point is that the child learns to gain balance on their own.When Lilia started roller skating, she held onto me for dear life and didn't want to let go. One of the employees at the roller rink advised that she could hold my hand, but that she shouldn't really hold onto me (or the wall) so she could "find her own balance." As soon as she started skating on her own, she took off. A month later she put on ice skates and went to the ice rink for the first time. Since she had been working on her balance, she got right onto the ice and skated away. The same applies with riding a bike. After some practice gliding (depending on the child, it can be 30 minutes to 3 days) they are ready for their pedals to be put back on. It seems this works best on hilly terrain, but we started small today at a park with some short, paved inclines. This method really put her in control, which at least with Lilia, makes a big difference.
We arrived at the park and she was elated. Then she got on the bike and worried out loud (that's my nice way of saying, complained) that she didn't know what to do and that she was going to fall. As soon as she got the hang of it, she began doing some short gliding stints and reverted to being excited. She and Franky played at the park for awhile and when it was time to go, she ran right back for her bike so she could practice again. She wants to put the pedals back on, but I think with a couple of more practice sessions, she'll be ready for them. After all, she has a whole summer of riding to look forward to.