This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 at 4:43 pm and is filed under Bicycle advocacy, Kids cycling. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
This afternoon I re-started my ‘learning to ride a bike’ sessions at my local primary school. Parents pay me a fiver and I donate that to the school playground fund.
They’re very happy to pay. Today was a great example of why. Four year old Tom arrived on a bike with stabilisers (US = training wheels) and left wanting to pedal home on two wheels. After 35 minutes of my method, he was up, up and away.
In fact, he was pretty advanced for a four year old. He was able to right himself from crazy angles the moment I put his pedals back on. Apparently he was eager to learn because he watches bigger kids riding BMXes at the local park.
Mum and dad were very proud of their son, and let him know it. Dad jumped around taking photos on his cellphone. Mum thanked me over and over. Learning to ride a bike is a major life skill and I get a lump in my throat for every kid that I start on the road to a life of cycling.
OK, not all the kids will develop into lifelong cyclists but there are lots of folks out there who simply can’t pedal. They didn’t learn when young. Perhaps some bicycle refuseniks are like that because they can’t actually ride?
As we know, they’re missing out on one of life’s big adventures.
Teeth bare to the wind
Knuckle-white grip on the handlebars
You push the pedals of no return,
Let loose new motion and speed.
The earth turns with the multiplied
Force of your wheels.
Do not look back.
Feet light on the brake
Ride the bicycle of your will
Down the spine of the world,
Ahead of your time, into life
I will not say Go Slow.
US Senator Eugene McCarthy (1916-2005). Bicycle Rider is from Other Things and the Aardvark (1970).
“Bicycling…is the nearest approximation I know to the flight of birds. The airplane simply carries a man on its back like an obedient Pegasus; it gives him no wings of his own. There are movements on a bicycle corresponding to almost all the variations in the flight of the larger birds. Plunging free downhill is like a hawk stooping. On the level stretches you may pedal with a steady rhythm like a heron flapping; or you may, like an accipitrine hawk, alternate rapid pedaling with gliding…I have shot in and out of stalled traffic like a goshawk through the woods.”
Birdwatching author Louis J Halle ‘Spring in Washington’, 1947/1957