Few days off for Christmas, busy with family and other related festivities - so I've officially started my winter riding slump - though I continue to stuff my face as if putting the miles in. Thanks to all the holiday cookies, brownies and other goodies - I'll be fully carbo-loaded when I get back on the saddle (burp).
While off, we did attempt to get daughter Amy, now 6 years old, up on two wheels. The incredibly pink little Specialized was purchased over a year ago, that she occasionally rides with training wheels. Over the past year, we've made a few attempts to ride without training wheels - no way, not even close to balancing on her own. As an experiment, I removed the crank, pedals, chain and chain guard, to simulate one of those balance bikes I've seen. Intent is to have the child paddle around, then start coasting feet up, learning to balance along the way.
Sure enough, after a few minutes of paddling around, she was coasting down the slight incline in front of the house - feet up and balancing like a pro. With each attempt, picking up a little speed and veering off into the lawn to slow down - much to her excitement (and mine). We should have tried this months ago!
After 10 runs or so, sans pedals, she begged me to reinstall everything. I thought it was a little too soon, but hey - we're talking about a cute 6 year old here - so I reinstalled all the missing parts. With the simple one piece crank and singlespeed, not really a big deal and just takes a few minutes.
Now outfitted with Barbie knee and elbow pads, we attempted an actual pedal powered ride. I'd love to say she rode off into the sunset with a big smile on her face, but that was not to be. She did balance for a few seconds at a time with me running behind her - but she's not there yet.
No rush, we'll go for another attempt tomorrow. If I need to, will remove the pedal power parts once again, and let her paddle and coast around a bit more. No pressure, she'll get it eventually and this should all be for fun.
Sooner or later, maybe she'll join me on a few rides - something I'm looking forward to.