Emma has been asking for a new bike for awhile, and we've told her that as soon as she learns how to ride without training wheels, we will get a new bike for her. Unfortunately for her, there isn't really a good spot to learn because there are no sidewalks in our neighborhood and I won't let them ride in the street. Finally last weekend, we loaded up the bikes and drove to a big, empty parking lot, hoping to teach both Emma and Noah how to ditch the training wheels.
Honestly, I didn't have very high hopes. When Emma first got her bike back in September of 2008, it was a disaster. She was terrified and as we walked along next to her, she kept letting go of the handle bars to grab onto us which, of course, is no way to ride a bike. We were all so frustrated that day that I think we put the bike in the garage and didn't get it back out again until the next spring. Even after that, it took her a long time to feel comfortable with it. I found this picture from her first day with her bike, and I was really hoping that getting rid of the training wheels would go a little more smoothly!Steve had the brilliant idea to stop and buy them protective gloves, elbow, and knee pads. Noah in particular fell down quite a bit and never once got hurt. The whole thing went much better than we expected - in fact, both of them were pedaling around all alone within five minutes! We were so proud of them!
Since then, we've been going to various parking lots and trails so they can practice riding. Emma has it down completely, but Noah has suffered a few mishaps. On Saturday he fell and hit his poor little face on the ground, resulting in bloody scrapes on his forehead and chin. Yesterday they were riding around a little trail loop that had a big mud puddle in the middle. They all loved speeding through the puddle, spraying muddy water into the air behind them, until Noah slipped and fell right in the middle of said puddle. He was a wet and muddy mess, but recovered quickly.Allie has been working on riding her bike with the training wheels, and has made some progress as well. Even with the training wheels, she still manages to fall quite a bit. There is a home video that my mom took of my little brother years ago when he learned how to ride a two-wheeler and at one point in the video he falls on the driveway, and I remember my other brothers and I rewinding that video over and over and laughing every time we saw my brother fall. Maybe someday my own children will look back on our videos and laugh: