Molly Rides a Bike!

After a few years of on-and-off attempts to ride a bike, Molly is finally doing it!

Molly got a ride-behind bike for her birthday and got a little experience pedaling with me around the neighborhood and even across town. And then she got inspired to try riding on her own. I was a little skeptical this was going to work, but Molly was determined to make it work.

Here are the results of a little trial and error on Alpine Road. Here is footage of literally the first time Molly really rode her bike on her own. ūüėĄ

I was so excited, I kept saying stuff like “Molly, I’m so proud of you. This morning you couldn’t ride a bike, and now you can!” or “This is the start of a whole new thing for you!”. And Molly basically told me to calm down. “Dad, every day hundreds or kids learn to ride a bike.” ūüėā But you could tell she was proud.

Here’s some footage from a week later once she’s really got it down.

Out for a Ride

Molly and I had the morning together while Claire finished up a sleepover at a friend’s house. ¬†I asked Molly what she wanted to do, and we ended up combining the top two things on her wishlist: going for a bike ride and going over the¬†Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge in downtown Austin.

In a hilarious turn of events not well captured in photographs, Molly ended up riding her bike right past¬†an active film set on the bridge. ¬†The crew yelled, “We’ve got a biker! ¬†Heads up!” ¬†Molly was not the only such biker, but she was the funniest by far.

Here is our route for Molly’s ride.

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Molly is really motivated to ride her bike but is so far frustrated with the process and thinks the training wheels aren’t working right.

Also, isn’t¬†she adorable on that bike?

Biking

Molly is interested in biking and doing pretty well with the training wheels. ¬†We’ve been going to the Town Lake trail and letting Molly ride her bike while Claire and I walk. ¬†Claire has more or less given up on biking for now. ¬†I’m waiting for some sort of peer pressure to kick in and inspire her, but she may be driving before she can bike!

Three Seconds on Two Wheels

Claire sporting her new new bike
Claire sporting her new new bike

Claire has been learning to ride a bike for about 4¬†years now. ¬†Or at least, we have been trying to get her to ride for that long, and she reluctantly tries for a while¬†until we run out of time or she outgrows her bike. ¬†We have asked various nannies to give it a try over the summers, with no luck. ¬†We’re making one more push this summer on Claire’s¬†bike #3.

So on Sunday morning, we hit the track at the local middle school where everyone around here goes to learn to ride a bike. ¬†I had gotten Claire a new (used) bike that actually fits her current size, and she was at least willing to give it a spin. ¬†No training wheels any more for Claire; they just don’t make them for her size bike.

It turns out that riding a bike and teaching someone to ride a bike are very different skills, and you don’t automatically know how to teach¬†someone to ride a bike when you become a dad. ¬†Strange, right? ¬†I figured we’d just¬†go¬†for a modest¬†victory, at least some small progress. ¬†So I ran along with Claire¬†and held her bike steady by the seat as she peddled along the flat sidewalk. ¬†I told to peddle faster since it’s easier to balance that way. ¬†We got up to a good speed, and then I let go for a couple of seconds without telling her. ¬†Then I caught on to her seat again before she¬†had crashed and told her she had done it: she had balanced on her own for two seconds! ¬†Claire was very proud. ¬†We did it again, and she asked me not to tell her when I was letting go so she didn’t get nervous. ¬†She did three seconds this time before she started to wobble, and I caught her seat again. ¬†The last thing we needed right now was a¬†bloody knee or broken arm, so we called it good there for now.

Molly crashed cleanly and posed for this picture
Molly crashed cleanly and posed for this picture

Meanwhile, poor Molly was¬†trying out her inherited little bike with the training wheels. ¬†She asked us not to tell anyone that her bike¬†had training wheels so they would still think she was cool. ¬†I don’t think the two joggers and one dog walker nearby thought any less of her for her training wheels, but we did not mention it to them to honor Molly’s wishes.

While I was running with Claire, Molly managed to crash her bike on the grass. ¬†But she was unscathed, slightly amused, and ready to keep going. ¬†I had her pose for a picture (above). ¬†Then Molly got to ride around the 1/4 mile jogging track once with her little bike. ¬†Molly¬†enjoyed¬†riding her bike more than Claire did. ¬†With her attitude, she might learn to ride on her own before her older sister. ¬†A little sibling rivalry might spark Claire’s interest in biking?

But Claire is making progress with her three seconds of self-powered riding and should be proud for just getting out there and trying it.

Molly taking a victory lap
Molly taking a victory lap

Trying a Bike

Today, Molly took it upon herself to try out Claire’s old bike that has been siting around unused in the back yard. ¬†She convinced me to help her clean it up and pump up the tires. ¬†Molly got around alright with the training wheels. ¬†She may be bypassing her big sister soon, who has so far shown very little interest in biking.

Bikes

I just took this picture of the girls’ bikes because I think they capture their personalities pretty well. ¬†Claire’s bike says, “I am a cute, dignified girl.” ¬†And Molly’s says, “I can do it too!”