“It is just like riding a bike, you never forget!” I have heard this statement over the course of my life many times. However, having small kids, who are closing in on owning their very first bikes, this line takes on a whole new meaning.
I know I mentioned previously how much I loved doing outdoor activities as a kid and even shared the story of how I hurt myself roller skating in one of our FTSF linkups here. Well, I also loved riding my bike outside as a kid, too (and no worries I am an equal opportunist when sharing my mistakes and injuries with biking also).
I have some very early memories that I still think of when bike riding. The first was when I was first learning to ride a two wheeler without the aid of training wheels. I was on the smaller side not unlike Emma and my dad had bought me this beautiful pink Huffy Bike. Only problem was I wasn’t able to reach the ground with my feet yet or even barely touch the peddles. I was a bit scared and hesitant to say the least. I still can hear my dad telling me there was nothing to be afraid of and to just try it.
I fought back hard and he fought back even harder. See my dad was a very old fashioned Italian father (he has mellowed a bit with age). He was born and raised in East New York (Brooklyn) as a kid. So, he had very little patience for the scared, whiny little girl in front of him at this point in his life.
Enter my grandfather (my mom’s dad), who I just happened to be the apple of his eye. He somehow got a hold of an older red colored rusting bike that was on the smaller scale with no training wheels. Not even sure where he found it and it wasn’t very girly, but damned if I cared. It was just my size and as soon as I sat on it for the first time, I recall my feet touching the ground with plenty of room to spare.
My grandfather actually stood behind that bike holding onto the metal bar behind the seat, while I began to learn to pedal that bike. I slowly gained my balance and confidence, while my grandfather promised not to let go of that seat until I was ready for him to let go.
Apparently my grandfather had done this before and believe he taught my mom (his own daughter) and also my aunt (my grandmother’s younger sister). So, he had plenty of experience when to let go and that he did. It took me less than a week and I was a pro, thanks pretty much landed on him for that.
Another few weeks, before I actually tried that pink Huffy bike again, but when I did I was riding it just fine still not having my feet touch the ground. Ironically, that same Huffy bike was stolen from our garage overnight only a few short weeks after that. I can still close my eyes and see our garage door that morning looking like it had been tampered with and even can hear the conversation with my mom, where I told her that my bike was probably stolen. She had told me that she didn’t think so, but as soon as we went to look it was indeed gone and that was the end of that.
I went back to using the red rusted bike for a bit, but then did get another new bike, which was purple, but it wasn’t the same as my pink Huffy.
Also, back then as all of you know from the skating disaster I was definitely a bit of a klutz (see I promised above) and after some time of riding on my purple bike outside, I actually fell one time and remember skinning my knees so badly that the cuts oozed for weeks on end before healing.
It was summer and I used to go swimming daily in my neighbor’s pool that I was very good friends with. Again enter my grandfather who shared with me not to be scared to get my cuts wet (hey I was worried how much the water hitting these open cuts would hurt), because the chlorine would help to heal them. Yet, again my grandfather was right and did know best.
You might be asking what prompted me to share these stories about biking riding in my youth and my grandfather. Quite frankly, spring is right around the corner and we are buying Emma and Lily their very first bikes. Yes, these bikes will have training wheels, but eventually the training wheels will come off and for some reason it truly got me to thinking about all of the above.
In remembering this, I was smiling when thinking about my grandfather, because just proves again to me how very important he was to me and just how truly wonderful he always was to me. I hope that my girls will have just as fond memories of this time when they were little and first learning to ride a bike as I do.
Not sure I can ever be as good at this as he was, but I am going to try my hardest to be more like my grandfather was and less like my dad. Also helps to have Kevin, who I already know excels at being a very patient and loving father with them up to this point. So, I truly can’t see him being anything, but with both girls, while they learn to ride bikes.
This is such an important milestone, too and also kind of excited to see them for the first time on their bikes in their helmets. You can bet that I will have tons of pictures to share, too.
Also, I am going to make sure that their bikes are size appropriate, because like I said I do remember that fear all too well (even after all these many years). And just hope that neither is as clumsy as their dear old mom was with biking riding. On second thought maybe looking into knees pads, too!! I am just saying!!
Do you remember first learning to ride a bike? Were you just as scared as me? Do you have fond memories? Hit me up in the comments.
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