Sunday, March 22, 2009

Rose Rides a Bike

Living through winter in Wisconsin is kinda like deliberately banging your head against the wall because it feels so good when it stops. [Update: Check out this cartoon from the Sunday paper: I'm not the only one who feels this way!]

It's spring. And it feels GOOD.

I had a cranky whiny post all lined up to run this morning, but I can't do it. I'll post it Monday, which is supposed to be a rainy day anyway...

Today, I've got to write about Rose.

Unlike Joy, who is utterly fearless when it comes to flinging her body around, Rose has all too good an imagination about where excessive body-flinging might lead. This was exacerbated last spring when she fell and broke her arm on her very first trip to the roller rink.

She's been mighty cautious about bicycles.

We bought her a little bike with training wheels at a garage sale two springs ago. She was very hesitant at first. It took a lot of coaxing and support and a whole bunch of tumbles, but by fall 2007 she was riding quite well. I was hoping that 2008 would be the year to take the training wheels off.

No dice.

I actually did try taking the training wheels off at one point last year. Rose rode that way once, with me holding her up the whole time, and was terrified. Refused to touch the bike again until I put those wheels back on. Over the course of last year, as she grew and grew, she was outgrowing the bike to the point that even with the training wheels off, it wouldn't have been a good bet for learning to balance on her own.

Well, I posted at the end of October about just-in-time blessings, how a new right-size bike that wouldn't even take training wheels providentially came our way. That was the same post where I first announced, I think, that I was going to be doing the Couch-to-5K thing.

Of course we couldn't make any progress over the winter with the bike, but I managed to get to the point where a 5K run is now my regular workout. Yesterday was a gorgeous day, and my 5K in the morning was down to a 10:33/mile pace (with hills, and some wind!) After a day with lots of outside time, much lovely yardwork and such, Rose requested a bike-riding lesson for the evening.

There's a park near us that has an oval sidewalk of asphalt that runs around the lawn and playground area, nice and flat and perfect for toppling into the grass on either side when necessary. A red-helmeted Rose got onto the new big-girl bike with fear and trembling, insisting that mama hold her both by handlebars and waist. Around and around we went, lots of of stop-and-topples but no injuries. She got more confident, I let go the handlebar, was starting to have to trot to keep hold of her waist.

And then I let go for just a few seconds. And she balanced. And squealed with delight!

That was the turning point. Pretty soon I was just having to get her started, then letting go and jogging alongside (which I never could have done last fall before all that training...) Then she was making it all the way around the loop without stopping. Then she got up to a speed I couldn't match for very long.

By the end of the session she had succeeded in going THREE times around the loop in succession, without me at her side, only needing a bit of support at the start to get going.

[Update: We went out Sunday morning for another session. Rose went around the loop 26 times without stopping, and succeeded in starting herself without help a couple of times as well. I think she's ready to practice on our street next. Photo below!]

Kristina at recently mentioned the concept of kairos, the "just moment," the "right time" when things come together in due measure. (The "just-in-time blessing" moment, perhaps?)

I think we've been there twice now this week, between trike and bike. And yes, Joy did do a little smidge of pedaling herself again yesterday.

Did I mention that I love springtime?


Anonymous said...

Yay!! Yay!!! Yay!!! Yay!!! Yay for Joy!! Yay for Rose!! Yay for kairos!! (Maybe that word will be the word verification one of these days???)
How exciting for Rose. I have seen that "just moment" with each of my kids for various things they have learned. It can almost feel magical sometimes. And, do you know that I actually remember the moment when I first rode a two-wheeler without help??? One of our neighbor kids who was older than me helped me ride my big two-wheeler bike and she let go and I did it!! I rode down the block to the alley without falling! So, I hope that Rose will always remember that moment, too, and hang on to that exciting, exhilarating, proud feeling. She will hopefully recongnize that feeling when she accomplishes other things in her life, and remember back to that moment on the bike!!
Yay for JoyMama, too, for putting in such effort and patience to allow Rose to get to that moment (and so much running too!!!).

pixiemama said...

Good for Rose!
Good for you!
Good for Joy!

Spring is my fave, too. I suspect we have pretty similar weather.


Anonymous said...

Woohoo! Joy! and Rose!

Quirky Mom said...

Well done, Rose!

It is a season for growth, and your girls are showing you how it's done. :)

Anonymous said...


so proud of ALL of you!

mama edge said...

Wow! What a wonderful way to start spring. *sniff* happy tears

datri said...

Great job, Rose! Whoo-hoo! Now I have to get off my butt and take the training wheels of Laurie's bike. Sigh.

I love spring, too! Except here it seems to go straight from winter into summer!

Anonymous said...

Looks like it's going to be a great spring with lots of bike and trike success!!! And you go, girl with the 5K runs!

Anonymous said...

Let me know when she is really ready to fly! Aero bars, disc wheels and light weight frame to follow.

Uncle Marathon