Henry has learned to ride a pedal bike! It has been a long time coming – last summer I felt like I needed to refurbish Owen’s old Frog 43 ready for Henry, as he was making such good progress on his balance bike. But when he was tall enough for the Frog 43 he seemed to hit a plateau – he was confident on his balance bike but too nervous to try pedalling.
Over the past few months, he had a couple of goes on the pedal bike but was reluctant to turn the pedals. He had since got the hang of pedalling trikes and his toy tractor, so I was confident he knew what to do. The day after Owen and I returned from the Malverns Classic MTB festival, Henry declared at breakfast that he wanted to try and ride his pedal bike. Although he had talked himself out of it by the time he had finished his toast. I was not going to let him get away that easily though! We all went to the War Memorial Park in Coventry, for Owen to take part in Junior Parkrun and for Henry to try pedalling…
At the park, Henry was happy scooting along on his bike, but reluctant to put his feet on the pedals – he scooted all the way to the skatepark. At least on Owen’s first attempt to pedal, at the same park and on the same bike, he tried to pedal, there were tantrums, but out of frustration of not being able to do it.
After Owen had finished his run, in a very respectable 25th place, Jen tried to help Henry pedal on the smooth concrete of the skatepark, but with not even an attempt to pedal from Henry. So I took the boys to play in the sandpit, whilst Jen ran a lap of the park. Then we got breakfast at the new Park Bistro. On the way back to the car park, we tried again to support Henry on the bike and encouraging him to pedal, first Jen, then me.
All of a sudden, Henry’s legs started going, and I could loosen my grip on him, when I was sure he was balanced I completely let go and ran alongside him, snapping the photo at the top of this post. His smile said it all, he was so happy to have conquered his fear and be riding! He rode all the way back to the van, still with a smile on his face. Definitely one of my proudest dad moments. It was not lost on me that on Owen’s first trip to the park on his bike, it was only after a stop at the playground that he got his first few pedals in unaided.
Henry has clearly got the bug, as he asked to go out again the next day. We went to Spencer Park, which has a flat asphalt area, with a roadway painted – perfect for those first rides. I felt confident enough in his abilities to let him ride laps on his own, without me running alongside him. Henry does still have some work to do though – he does not want to touch the brakes, which is less than ideal when it comes to stopping, at the moment I need to catch him. Obviously, this really restricts where he can ride.
Hopefully, he will be able to overcome these issues, as it would be good for him to be able to ride to school with Owen, and it would be really good if he can get on to some easier mountain bike trails e.g. Hicks Lodge by the end of the year!