We've struggled for years to teach our daughter how to ride a bike. She decided around the age of 4 that she was afraid - she didn't want to fall and didn't like the wobbly feel of the training wheels.
We were living abroad at the time and didn't have a ton of room for her to ride, so we let it go. She had a bike, but just wasn't interested.
We tried encouragement and positive reinforcement. Nothing. We tried mild shaming - "Look at that little guy on his bike! No training wheels!" Nothing. It didn't help that she doesn't have immediate neighborhood friends who were riding - in fact, she had friends her age who were also still on training wheels. Oh, for some positive peer pressure...
She said it was too big, so we bought her a smaller one. She didn't like riding that one, either.
|The look says it all...|
This attitude leaked down to her little brother, who might have been more interested in riding, but followed his big sister's lead. We bought him a strider bike - no interest. I'll ride my tricycle, thank you very much. He inherited a 12" bike with training wheels from a cousin - that was more interesting, but he still preferred the trike.
Pedalheads Bike Camp was coming to Denver and immediately signed up both kids. This is the first year they've been in the area - they're mainly located in Canada. They have three locations in Denver, and one happened to be in Stapleton - even better!
Knowing our daughter's attitude towards riding, we started prepping her about a month out to give her time to get used to the idea. "Give it a try - it might be fun!" "These are professionals - they know a lot more than Mom and Dad." While she wasn't excited about the camp, she at least agreed to give it a chance.
Since our kids were at the same level (even though one is 5 and one is 9), they were in the same class, which helped them initially and gave them a buddy. I signed them up for the all-day camp, but there are also morning-only and afternoon-only sessions. They work on skills, play bike games, do some crafts, play water games - it sounded like a ton of fun. We were excited and optimistic!
|Day 1 with the awesome Mr. Tennyson|
Day 1: The kids rode with their training wheels all day and worked on control, steering, braking, and learned about helmet safety. It was super hot so they also got to run through the sprinklers, which they loved. The kids rode over ramps to get them used to looking up instead of looking at their feet (held by the instructors, of course). Her bike was a bit small, so we were asked to bring her bigger one (which, thankfully, we still had).
|Look - smiles! And after a full day of riding! Woo hoo!!!|
Day 2: After a brief morning review, they removed the kids' training wheels! Something just clicked for my daughter, and off she went, riding on her own! I talked to her teacher, and he said with the older kids it tends to be a matter of confidence since they already have most of the motor skills, and with the younger kids, it tends to be more a matter of mastering the balance and motor skills. My son was striding well by the end of the day and had pedaled on his own 5 times - yay!
Day 3: My daughter took to bike riding so well, they bumped her up to the Level 3 class with Ms. Celeste. Imagine our surprise! (Apparently, that's unusual - normally they'll bump up one level, but I'm grateful they were able to pivot and not leave her bored in the Newbees class.) Something clicked with my son after lunch, and off he went! A bit wobbly, but riding on his own!
Day 4: The Level 3 class walked their bikes over to Central Park and rode around there (about 6 kids with 2 teachers). The Newbees worked on braking softly so they don't fall over and improving control. Both kids come home smiling and wanting to ride their bikes more. Love it!
Day 5: Superhero day and a bike parade! Each kid in the class had his or her name announced and rode a fancily decorated bike through a course with ramps to great cheering and applause. We received a report card for each kid, and I know they would both love to return for another week.