Milestone: Albany Learns to Cycle

It has been a week since we added a routine to our daily life. Everyday after dinner, we will have a 30 mins walk outside. Jen will push little Anthony in a stroller and I will be tending to Albany. As Albany is too big for a stroller and too small to catch up on our brisk walking, I put her on a balance bicycle so that she can set the pace. So for the past 7 days, we went round and round the field every single day without fail. Albany looked increasingly comfortable on her balance bike each day.

So I decided the 1st of April was a good day to get her to try cycling on a proper bike. There were challenges. Firstly, the bike was one I picked up from the street sometime back. The condition of the bicycle wasn't fantastic. I cleaned it up briefly when I removed the pair of "training wheels" at the back. To me, those dumb wheels do everything except training the kid to cycle on two wheels. So I refused to let Albany rely on the wheels right from start. Despite cleaning, bike was still in a lousy condition and it had some issues. There was rust at non-critical areas that I didn't have time to remove. It was a bike with a "back pedal brake system" (cyclist will know what I'm talking about), which I found a bit odd because training cyclist need to glide a lot and tend to activate the brake without the intention to. I feel it was more of a feature for the trained cyclist. Due to rust, I was unable to adjust the height of the bicycle seat that evening (which I eventually did the next day) and Albany had a harder time to pedal. 

Things didn't go well at all. Albany was visibly uncomfortable with her pedal bike. Within the first 200m, she was already complaining and demanded for me to return home to swap that junk of a bicycle for her preferred balance bike. I told her the goal for that evening was not to cover the distance we usually do nor travel at the same speed. It was for her to learn how to cycle. 

She started to sob. Before than transited to a wail, I threw her the ultimatum, "Continue or go home." 

Reluctantly, she carried on and I big her up and encourage her. I told her if she managed to learn this, she would be empowering herself and there was everything to celebrate about, nothing to cry about. We went on for a while, with my holding her and breaking every of her fall. My back was hurting from the constant bending. Once Albany stopped crying and focused on her pedaling, I decided it was crunch time as we approached a gradual down-slope. I let go of her without a word. She started to pedal for her life to keep her balance. Her erratic handling of her front wheel stablised, as she finally made sense of it how the initially scary maneuvers of the front wheel acted like a counterbalance. 

Soon she glided and soared. 

Albany at 5 years old, achieving what Daddy didn't do until 9. If I knew you had it in you, I would have done this earlier for you. Well done little girl.

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