Sunday, July 03, 2005

Autonomous bike riding

We've had a busy weekend here. Yesterday I had to work but Dani and the kids went, with some local cousins, to a small Make Poverty History demo in town. I think the original plan was for a circle around the Royal Pavilion but the turn-out was not really up to that. It seemed to have been publicised solely by email in the preceding couple of days, so that was hardly a surprise. It made the local news anyway – so P was pleased. Leo was rather grudging about his participation as he really wanted to get home and watch his new Dr Who DVD, which he'd bought with left over holiday money!

Today we made a fairly brief visit to our local gay families group – which is flourishing at the moment with ever more babies and toddlers appearing. After that we went to Preston Park for the rest of the day, and had a wonderful afternoon.

In Preston Park there is a small bike hire place – it also offers lessons and sells bikes. Now, there is a bit of a tale to tell re. Pearl and bike riding! We, rather stupidly with hindsight, bought her a bike with stabilisers when she was three. I think she suffered from being first born there as we were probably pushing her on. She never really liked it and soon after acquired a micro scooter – which she rode like a demon – and never touched the bike again. This summer, for the first time, P declared she'd like to learn to ride a bike. As we passed the bike hire place we decided to splurge on an hour hire.

P just got on – at the top of a gentle grassy incline – and rode away!

There goes our girl!

Off into the distance

I think P just recognised that she was ready to ride a bike and the whole thing was so painless. It is just like the way she learned to swim – when she was ready she just did it. She didn't want any instruction really – in fact she kept telling us to back away today as we were too close and making her nervous. It was all going very well until a man, running backwards to catch a Frisbee, fell on top of her! Good job she is so bendy – no harm was done.

Leo begged for 'something', though we know from bitter experience that Leo really doesn't get the whole pedalling, steering thing. We got him a groovy go-cart and when he realised he couldn't ride it, he had great fun pushing it round in circles for an hour!

Pushing his go-cart around

He's a mean shot with a frisbee - caught it today!

Quick update on the writing wobble. It now appears to be over. I bought P a cheap cartridge pen on Friday, and she has been doing little bits of handwriting with it – without us mentioning it. She seems much happier and I think her confidence is sky high today after bike riding.


Heather said...

I think learning to ride a bike is hugely dependant upon where you live. When Pip was 4 we lived in a tiny village at the end of a bridle track with a farm 'yard' and all the village kids rode their bikes up and down endlessly. Pip sussed it at 4 in a matter of days and scrambled round on her BMX all summer. Since moving to the town, the cycling opportunities are scarce, although I'm glad she's competent because she goes off-road cycling with Sim and actually contributes on the tag along. Can't imagine that Titch will learn with such ease, so young :-(

peri said...

Woohoo - go Pearl.

Leo looks such a 'dude' catching the frisbee.

Allie said...

Doesn't he look good. I think the specs add something - though they're really there as a hayfever defence. His eyes were hideous weepy lumps last week after he spent the day at Stanmer without them.

Heather, you are probably right about bike riding. In Brighton the hills are always something of a problem. And we live in a little street of terraced houses, with narrow pavements directly in front, and with backyards just big enough to store a bike - never mind ride one!

Heather said...

Poor Leo- my Mum suffered hayfever for years but has it pretty much under control with homeopathy for the past few (and she was sceptical!).

a said...

Go Pearl!
Poor Leo, I sympathize, I've been getting funny looks for wearing my black wraparound sunglasses on relatively grey days here but they do protect my eyes pretty well.
Pearl is a classic example of what autonomous learning is all about isn't she? She really does just suddenly do her thing, by the sounds of it.