That’s not a metaphor. I’m being literal.
When it comes to teaching a kid to ride their bike, I have found that the only thing that will help you (and your child) is having a healthy understanding of your child’s personality (Are they an adventuresome hooligan? Or are they someone you’ll eventually have to kick out of your house when they hit they’re late 20’s?), consistency (NO! YOU AND JUNIOR CANNOT TAKE A DAY OFF FROM LEARNING HOW TO RIDE!), repetition (See previous parenthetical) AND ONE, METRIC FUCK-TON OF PATIENCE.
When it comes to determining your approach to getting your kid road-ready, you need to be a bit choosy about the method that you adopt.
Some people will tell you to take away one of their training wheels (like how I learned) so they can work on finding their center of balance. The only foreseeable problem with this is that you run the risk of your kid milking the fuck out of jettisoning the last training wheel. I have vague recollections of doing this when I was this age and I sure as shit remember my son pulling this on me as well.
Other people will tell you to fuck all that. They’ll tell you to take the kid (and the bike…) for a drive to the nearest hill. Then they’ll tell you to pitch both training wheels, give the kid a speech about learning to ‘nut-up’, and then assemble kid on top of bike and pitch them screeching down the hill. Here’s the problem with this method: Most kids aren’t dumb enough to fall for this. They also have large and long memory banks. In the event that they do take the bait, they will kill you in your sleep when they are 16 because of the time you told them to ‘nut-up’ right before they got a compound fracture because you were being an asshole.
Then there are those of you out there who like tools and gimmicks like ‘coasting bikes’ (No shit: I have seen infomercials selling a training bike that doesn’t have any pedals. It’s basically a scooter minus the ‘standing bit’. Seriously, why waste the money when you can just take the pedals of off your Tater-Tots trike??? ) or those bikes ‘half-bikes’ that attach to the parent’s bike (I’m assuming the purpose of those is so the kid can get an idea of what bike riding is?).
What My Kids Put Me Through When I Taught Them How to Ride.
I don’t believe that there is a ‘right’ or ‘correct’ way to teach your kid how to ride their bike.
When the eldest was learning how to ride, I was working all of the time so I missed out on that. With the youngest (and smartest of the three) I barely had to do anything. There wasn’t any one training wheel stuff or removing her pedals so she can learn how to coast. All I had to do was go out there with her and give her a shove every so often until she got the hang of it. The middle child, he was such a glorious pain in the ass about learning how to ride his bike.
For the record, my son’s personality has always been that of a little old man. To wit, he knows what he likes as well as doesn’t like, and he fucking hates change. (I’m the same way to a degree).
I took off one training wheel, I removed the pedals and taught him how to coast, I put the pedals back on (but not the training wheels) and I spent a lot of time walking around our neighbor hunched over from being ordered (by my progeny) to not let go of his handlebars while we did our lap around the block.
Eventually I won this battle. The day came when he acknowledged that he didn’t need me as much when it came to riding his bike. In order to ensure this concession, I told him (in so many words) that if we were to leave the house on foot, he had to ride his bike.
What the ‘Learning How to Ride a Bike’ Resources Are Lacking.
The most important thing you can teach your kid about riding their bike is how to fall off of it and not get hurt.
Some, if not all bike riding resources available to parents seem to skimp on the fact that your Tater Tot will fall down and go boom when they are first starting out. While that’s not helpful at all, it’s also not surprising. Kid’s don’t like getting hurt anymore than their asshole parents do.
What worked the best for me when I was teaching the boy how to ride was figuring out which foot was his dominate foot and then lowering his seat all the way down. If their seat is as low as it can go, then you are basically minimizing their chances of injury (a selling point in the event that your kid is being a bit of a pussy about the whole thing…) and if you know what foot is the dominate foot, then you also know which foot they are more likely to use in order to avoid doing a face plant.
Don’t be one of those assholes who makes a fuss every time your Tot falls down and gets hurt. Yes, you should show some concern. But it shouldn’t go any further than that.
In the event that you are one of those parents who fusses every time your kid gets hurt: Nice going asshole! You’re setting a bad example!
The only thing that a kid gets from a parent who fusses every time said kid falls down and goes boom is the idea that physical pain is something to be feared and in some instances it can be used to get attention from the parent. No, kids don’t articulate it exactly like that, but it’s the truth.
People get hurt. Old, young, poor health, good health: the sooner you teach your kid that, the sooner they’ll accept it and make it a part of their life.
In the end, what will work for both you and your soon to be bike rider is consistency, repetition, AND A FUCKTON OF PATIENCE. The more patience the both of you have, the easier it will be.