This weekend we had beautiful weather in Nashville, so Emma and I spent the majority of our daylight hours outside. We played soccer, passed a frisbee, flew a kite, and rode our bikes.
Emma decided that she was ready to try riding without training wheels. We have tried this in the past but with no success. I am now convinced it was my teaching method that was to blame. When trying it before, I would just remove her training wheels and hold her bike up and push her along, waiting for her to gain her balance. This didn't work at all. So this time I tried a different technique.
From the beginning of Emma jumping on her bike without the 3rd and 4th wheels, I realized that if she was going to learn to ride her bike, she would have to mostly do it by herself; with only some gentle instruction and suggestions from me. So we went to a slightly inclined paved section of a Greenway here in Nashville and used the downhill. By doing this, Emma would have to worry less about gaining momentum and more about finding her balance. I also told her to not worry about the pedals at first. The first priority was learning to keep her balance, so she just rolled down the hill countless times, bobbing back and forth on her feet until she could roll a long distance without needing to touch the ground. When she was getting good at this, I told her to put her feet on the pedals and start pedaling when she was comfortable doing so. Before long, Emma was able to ride about 10-20 feet at a time. So it became more a thing of practicing than learning.
That first day (Saturday), she never rode more than about 20-30 feet at a time. So on Sunday, when she wanted to go back to practice again (over going to the zoo), I assumed she would be in the same place, so I didn't bring my own bike this time. Big mistake. As soon as we got there, she jumped on her bike and just started to ride off. Before long, she was zipping along with no worries.. and I was running along behind her just trying to keep up. I think I ran more than 5 miles that day, just trying to stay with her.
I made a video to commemorate this momentous occasion. Enjoy...
Emma Learns to Ride a Bike from Troy on Vimeo.