Joy and Pain: Teaching My Daughter to Ride Without Training Wheels

Written by Jerry Schranz |

My first inclination was to outsource this. My nine-year-old daughter is very comfortable in her ways and doesn’t always like daddy’s advice. Especially when it came to teaching her to ride a bike without training wheels. I get it. She wants to be independent. And here’s the fact of the matter: her bike is pink; it has a horn and a basket; she has a cool helmet; she has knee pads; she has those gloves that are cut out at the fingers. My helmet makes me look like someone she doesn’t want to hang out with. .

But learning to ride a bike is one of those rites of childhood that should be a positive parent-child bonding experience, right? And while the squeak of those training wheels made it easy to keep track of her, it was becoming awkward for her to lag behind her friends who were already riding without them. Eager to learn but very afraid to fall, she finally agreed to try it with one training wheel off in the empty church parking lot around the corner, where she wouldn’t be publicly embarrassed by daddy holding onto her. We did quite well – except for going counter-clockwise. This went on for several weeks, with me lugging around a training wheel, the bolt and a wingnut in one hand while using the other to help balance her, until finally she was ready to take off the other training wheel.

I took off the remaining wheel, pumped her tires, sprayed W-D40 on all sorts of places and made sure she was wearing every piece of protective gear possible. I did a lot of jogging beside her, holding the seat, or a sleeve, letting go for a split second here or there. It was like playing catch with a very heavy ball, but when all was said and done, ,voila, she was pedaling away without me. It felt good to report back to my wife — with video proof., But a little painful, too, being a little less needed than before. Not to mention the pain in my shoulder, the MRI and the diagnosis of tendonitis. Such is life, I guess. Kind of like work. You do it till it hurts. But at least I’m pretty sure (I hope) that pitching stories won’t lead to an MRI .