Mark learned to ride a bike (without training wheels)!

Sometimes big things happen when you leave the kids behind for a week.  Thanks Uncle John, Blacky, and Papa!

IMG_8526c Uncle John came over this week and taught Mark how to ride a bicycle!  There are, of course, a few skills left to master: turning around, getting started, but he can stop really well and doesn’t often tip over when he locks up the back tire in a slide. 

I’m also struck by the range of skills and tricks one can learn to do on a bike: going fast, going up hill, avoiding cars, crossing intersections, standing while pedaling, standing on the center bar, carrying someone on your shoulders, carrying a passenger on the rear axle, riding without hands, etc. Wow. There’s a lot to learn.

But the big thing about riding a bike is that people mean when they say, “it’s like riding a bike,” is just turning into the direction you’re falling, so that you don’t crash.  (Holly thinks they mean it’s something you can do that you’ll always remember how to do.)

Mark’s first bike was a very small bike with training wheels.  Turns out that bike was almost impossible to ride with the training wheels off, due to the extremely short rake and the angle on the front tire, so Bob and Margaret went out looking for free or cheap used bikes.  They found a bike in GREAT shape, that is exactly the right size and has a GREAT chain guard and tires with plenty of life in them. 

The only question I have is about the colors:  the purple and pink are just about enough to make a grown man print the photo in black and white.  But he loves the bike so much and is so confident and happy to ride it that I just had to swallow my tongue.  Mark doesn’t seem to notice or care about what color the bike is, so I suppose I’ll try to be man enough to save the $160 it would cost to buy a blue or black bike.  I guess, too, that I could use the can of black paint that’s in the crawl space, if I wanted to.

I talked it over with Uncle John, who said that he was initially struck by the colors the same way that I was, but then Margaret told him that his first bike, which he remembers as red was actually pink and white, with tassels on the the handlebars and flowers and butterflies on the body of the bike.  Strawberry Shortcake.