I can still remember learning to ride a bike. The first time I rode a bike was completely on my own at a family reunion.
A couple of my distant cousins were coasting down through the yard toward a fenced field on a random bike. I jumped on and tried and found I could coast down the hill just fine. I just had to jump off before I hit the fence because I couldn't stop.
I was probably 6 or 7 years old. But when I was 7 my parents bought me my first bike. It had training wheels, but I really didn't have a good place to ride it. Then one day one of my dad's brothers took me out in grandparents' front yard (the house we now own in Kentucky) and taught me how to ride.
The yard slopes down toward the road, and in those days the ditch along the road wasn't as distinct as it is now. Terry would run along side me holding onto the back of the seat as I gained momentum and then let go toward the end. I had already gotten the hang of coasting at that family reunion so it was fairly easy. Learning to stop before I hit the road or went across into the fence on the other side was the real trick.
And then one time I was yelling for Terry to let go and I heard him laughing...on the front porch of the house. He had basically given me a push and I was riding on my own from that point.
Boone was riding on his own on our new street last night. I'd gone out with him a couple of nights ago and ran alongside him using the buddy bar attached to his rear wheel. I was afraid to let go for fear of him hitting the road and getting the rash that comes with it. Knowing Boone that would be the end of his cycling days.
I know its me and not him that is afraid. Oh, he's afraid of getting hurt, but he's not afraid of riding the bike.
Last night Mandy went out with him and as Lily and I got into the street we looked down to see Boone pedaling like a fiend and Mandy running along behind as he wobbled and weaved toward Ridge Road.
I know I had a silly grin on my face.
They came back up the street and once he got going she just let go. He was all over the place, but he has figured out how to put his feet down when he starts to fall. He can ride once he gets going and he can stop on his own.
The last step is for him to learn how to get the bike going by himself. Tonight...