I’ve decided to write this post, as many people have stopped us in the street to talk about it, so perhaps you would like to hear about it too.
Those of you who have read previous posts of mine will know that my 3 year old, Harley, is an outdoors boy. A stereotype, get your hands dirty, kick a football, type boy. There are two things that I wanted to make sure he could do: Learn to swim and ride a bike. Well, he started swimming lessons this week, and the latter, he mastered when he was just 2 years old.
To us as his parents, Harley never felt like a baby for long. I know it’s a cliche but he grew up far too quickly. Mine was the baby who was off on the move with me chasing after, while others had their babies lying beautifully on the changing mat.
At 10 months old, Harley could walk. His little legs seemed far too tiny to be able to carry his chubby body around. This is such a special photo. His first steps caught on camera:
For his first birthday, my lovely friend Emma bought Harley a yellow ‘Scuttlebug’. A fantastic small trike which collapses and folds up, very handy for putting in the bottom of the buggy or in the car. He absolutely loved it.
His ‘Aunty’ Becky then brought him a trike which grew as he grew. The trike could convert to three different stages, from being pushed by me, to removing the sides as he got bigger. And herein lies the start of his obsession with riding a bike!
Before he was 2, he was riding a scooter with ease, even pushing his back foot down on the brake. We had no intention whatsoever of starting Harley on a bike so young, but we were led by him.
We were down the park one day when, on a total whim, we popped into the bike shop over the road and bought a Balance Bike. We decided to opt for a metal framed bike with proper rubber tyres as opposed to a wooden framed Balance Bike. Again, Harley loved it. We started him on the small grass bank at the park. He wobbled his way down it and promptly fell off at the bottom! But he was straight up and back on it. Everyday he would ask to go on his bike. He would push off and lift his feet up and giggle every time he was on it.
However, he got more and more confident on his balance bike to the extent where I was actually on edge watching him because he would go so fast. He was fearless. So this was when we decided that a proper bike might actually slow him down a bit.
We had an old Noddy bike in the garage so he had a go on that. We went down the local park again and tried him out on the path. Luke pushed him to get him started and he was off. I should mention that we never put stabilisers on his bike as he had done so well on the balance bike. We didn’t want him to become dependent on them. When we came home from the park we videoed him. This is the very first video of him trying out a proper bike:
His little legs needed much more strength to keep the peddling going but he has his daddy’s determination to succeed and he just kept trying. Each time we went to the park with his bike he would tell us how far he would try to peddle. So he would try to make it to the tree, a little bit further to the bin, and further again to the gate etc. Again this was completely led by him and we went along with it.
I never imagined he would be riding a bike, unaided, at the age of 2. The number of people who would stop and watch, would make us laugh. His little head hardly fitted in his cycle helmet. He looked so out of proportion.
As his third birthday approached, we decided to look at getting him a shiny new bike. A couple of shops looked at us like we were mad for asking for their smallest boys bike. Looking Harley up and down and saying they had nothing for someone so small. I felt quite put out. I wanted to prove to them that he could ride a bike and we weren’t completely mad parents. We took him into Halfords were they had a lovely range. He picked out a red fireman bike. Of course he picked out this one: it had an annoyingly loud siren and megaphone attached to it! It was detachable though, so all ok for us!! It was a 12″ bike and fitted him, just, with the seat at its lowest. He loved the little box on the back of the bike for him to keep bits and bobs in it. (He is currently carrying around a plastic water pistol, a whistle, and a Hot Wheels car in it!) Click here, for the link.
My mum gave him the bike for his 3rd birthday. It was and still is, his pride and joy. He’ll grasp any opportunity to get out on his bike. At first he struggled peddling up hill but now at 3 years old, he has mastered using the brakes effectively, starting from a still position without needing a push and even jumping down the curb! Now we can all go on a family bike ride together, over the Heath. Perfect, when the weather is being kind to us!