Monday, September 01, 2008

Bike Training

When a young mom takes her toddlers and pre-schoolers for a walk, the mom does not get exercise. She is taking the kids on a walk for the good of the children -- their fresh air and exercise and intellectual stimulation.

When an older mom takes her 13-yr-old kid on a daily bike ride, that likewise is not going to do any good for the mother's exercise and health. It is a time for the child to be out, getting fresh air and sun and exercise, and learning to transport herself from one place to another.

When I was learning to ride a 10-speed bike, I lived in the flatlands of Illinois. There wasn't really a need for different gears on my bike. But it seemed easy enough to learn to operate them: when it was too hard to pedal, simply lower the gear. When I explained this to Maggie, we thought she understood. But as we rode back and forth to chapel this week, it became clear that she didn't really understand. When I told her to "lower the gear" she didn't know if that meant going to a bigger or littler number. So all week I hollered at her as we were going up the hill, "Go down a number,... go down to #5 now, ... down another number," and then repeat the instructions in reverse when we got to the top of the hill.

I'm also seeing that bicyclists who do not drive cars/trucks need a lot more instruction in defensive driving/biking and in rules of the road -- especially when the bicyclist isn't yet old enough to anticipate possible problems arising (like a vehicle coming around a blind corner) and how to respond. I'm going on the theory that riding beside Maggie and repeatedly telling her what to do and how to do it will "teach" her --if not how to be careful on her own-- at least how to follow instructions.

At least she has learned this week (I think!) which corners and which directions to turn so as to find her way home from church or the library.

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