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Monday, September 26, 2011

Believe you can ride a bike

Riding a bike was an integral part of my life: childhood, adolescence and adulthood. My father was instrumental in teaching me to ride my bike and provided me with a variety of fun bicycles throughout my childhood. When my twin sisters came along 8 years later, I was eager to teach them to ride a bike. I remember Judy's eagerness to learn how to ride when she was only 3 years old. She practiced daily on her little bike with blocks on the pedals so she could reach them. One afternoon she hollered across the street for me while I was swimming with my neighbor. I looked out from over the pool side as she told me to watch her. Next thing I know she was peddling away without any help! I truly think that was the moment that I knew I wanted to be a teacher! Seeing her believe in herself and push herself to reach her goal at such a young age was so rewarding!

I am relieved to see my little sisters instilling bike riding in their children. At first my sisters rode their adult bikes with the children behind in the kid carriers. Role modeling biking is so important! Once the kids were old enough they moved on to 2-wheeled bikes with training wheels which seemed temporary as they were eager to ride the big bike without the extra helpful wheels! About a month ago, my 4 year old nephew graduated to the two-wheeler without training wheels! That was pretty much the average age for any of my family to learn to ride a bike.

My sister, Anne lives  3.14 miles from my house...roughly:) Over the past few summers, I would ride my bike to her house, get her two oldest kids and the three of us would ride back to my house to swim. Later, I would ride with them back home. They were 6-9 years old and riding over 6 miles. Pretty impressive! This summer my 5 year old niece rode to and from my home on her little bike. She had no clue how much peddling was entailed given the size of her tires and the distance. She was a trooper!!

I hope parents are still encouraging their children to not only learn to ride a bike, but actively use a bike daily. Not only is biking a great social tool connecting kids from areas they may not otherwise walk, but also it is a great source of exercise.  Bike riding also connects family members as it is a great activity that all members can enjoy! Let your children ride their bikes in parades, play follow-the-leader or race! These activities will be fond memories for them for life!

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