Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Bike News!

Two weeks ago Summer decided she wanted to learn to ride her bike without training wheels.

A little back the past two years we have removed her training wheels more times than I can count, and I would run behind her coaching her to keep her balance and attempting to let go... with no success.  We tried learning on the grass.  We tried the strider bike.  Nothing seemed to work.  I literally did not know how to teach her to balance!  Finally, I turned to the internet to tell me how to teach a kid how to ride a bike!  One article I read said to take off the training wheels and have them coast down a hill with their feet out for balance and just keep doing it until they felt comfortable balancing. 

Soooo, when Summer made up her mind that she wanted to learn two weeks ago, we set out on mission "ride a two-wheeler".  On day 1, we removed her training wheels and she coasted down the driveway using her feet for balance checks, and I would catch her at the bottom of the driveway.  We practiced for over an hour!  She loved it!  It was like a "ride" to her and she wanted to keep practicing (unlike our experiences with me holding her up and trying to let go where she was ready to be done after a few tries!).  After 3 days of practicing coasting down the driveway this way, and her eventually making it almost the whole way without using her feet for a balance check, we attempted to go out on the street and have her pedal with me running behind her.  I about had several heart attacks restraining myself from grabbing her bike to keep her from falling and instead allowing her to do her own balance checks, but within a few tries she was off and biking without needing me at all! 

Here is a video:

While she had the main part of biking down, she struggled to stay balanced on our narrow sidewalk without running into the grass as well as figuring out how to start biking on her own.  I originally had told her that, to start, she should line up her pedals and stomp down and get going quickly.  That repeatedly did NOT work for her.  Finally, I noticed that she could start if she was at the top of a hill, so I suggested that she walk her feet quickly to get her bike moving and then move her feet to the pedals.  That had more success.  After three consistent days of practicing she was really doing well!  We did a trial run biking to school last weekend, as well as taking her bike to a local bike path.  She did amazing and didn't want to stop biking!  So, this week, she has officially biked on her two-wheeler both to and from school all three days thus far, and is a pro!  Not only does she have it down, but she loves it, and the smile on her face biking on two wheels is so fun :).  I am SO proud of her perseverance.  For her, biking was not an easy thing to learn.  It required literally hours of practice through many frustrating moments, and yet she kept at it.  I think more than learning to ride a two-wheeler, she truly learned how hard work and perseverance pay off, and how to push through frustration with a goal in mind...and to meet that goal.  I am so stinkin' proud of the character she demonstrated!

In the meantime, Colton watched his sister practicing and we ended up taking his training wheels off too.  He too, enjoyed the coasting down the driveway and within a day or two of Summer learning, Colton was riding his two-wheeler like a champ.

Here is a video of Colton that shows how he learned to start coasting down the hill and then add in the pedals:

On Tuesday I put the younger two kiddos' bikes in the van when we took Summer to piano lessons and Colton zoomed around Ms. Marie's cul-de-sac the entire half hour (See this video)  He especially loved riding near a neighbor's sprinkler. :) He too, has successfully biked to school all three days this week and is offically a two-wheel biker.  Yay!

Well, little sister Larkyn has been watching her siblings practice daily for almost two weeks now, and she wanted SO BADLY to ride bikes like them.  We pulled out Summer's old bike and little Loo had the hardest time coordinating her feet to make the bike go forward without pressing the pedals backwards and accidentally putting the brakes on.  In all honesty, I didn't work with her very consistently on it as I was busy with her older siblings, but yesterday while Summer was at her piano lesson and Colton was zooming around the cul-de-sac we practiced for a half-hour.  Below are two videos: the first is of her learning to ride and the second is back at our house Tuesday evening after she learned!  She still steers into the grass sometimes and she still has moments of trouble, but by the end of the evening yesterday she was able to ride by herself more than not!


She was pretty excited!


Kristin Bjorklund said...

Way to go to all the Tommerdahls!!

The Baum Family said...

Fun!! Way to go kiddos!

The O'Connor Family said...

Wow!! Way to go Summer, Colton and Larkyn!!

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