Monday, 30 January 2012

The Glory Days of Learning to Cycle

Learning to Ride a Bike
(c) Amanda van Mulligen
I can remember my first real bike like it was yesterday - a red Poppy bike - one with no stabilisers on it... just two wheels. I guess I must have been the age my eldest is now, maybe a year older at six. I remember falling hard numerous times until I had cracked the art of cycling. I can picture my dad holding the back of my bike as I cycled along the paths around our house - until he decided the moment was right to let go. I would carry on travelling until I realised my safety net was gone, turn and scream and then tip over. It was a pattern repeated several times. What I probably mean is hundreds of times. Bruises, cuts and scrapes failed to act as a deterrent - we kept going until I had mastered getting about on two wheels. These were without a doubt my biking glory years. This was back in England, in Warrington to be specific, in the late 1970s.

A few decades on, a change of location, and I am now the one spurring my son on to bike his way around on just two wheels. In the Netherlands, most children, if not actually born attached to a bike, are cycling almost as soon as they have some sort of leg control. At the age of 4 there are children cycling past me on the school run on two wheels. My son has already had a cycling lesson on the school playground (the first of many to come) as well as traffic awareness lessons. The foundation has been laid. It is a matter of time (I suspect weeks if the weather allows) before he joins the majority of the local population and practically glues his bum to a bicycle seat - a relationship which will last until he no longer has proper control of his legs...... I guess I had better dust my bike down and start trying to recapture my cycling glory years before all three of my sons master two wheels!

1 comment:

  1. On returning to school after the Christmas holidays DS2 (4) was asked to draw a picture of what he wanted to achieve in 2012, he wanted to learn to cycle without stabilisers. 3 months later he succeeded and now both boys age 4 and 5 cycle to school every day, it still amazes me that cycling from such a young age is the norm here! Groetjes, Charlie.