I do my very best to encourage my kids to be active every day. This makes birthdays and Christmas a breeze because my husband and I simply choose gifts for the kids that support their favourite activities and outdoor play. Little did we know that giving gifts like this would actually create a love of recreation and participation in a sport we didn’t see coming.
Flash back. A year ago we bought our son a run bike for his birthday. From the parenting standpoint, a bike that will teach your children balance and stability seemed like a no-brainer. Plus, we didn’t have to push a tricycle around the neighbourhood with a sawed off hockey stick!
He loved it. I mean loved it. I thought he was going to sleep with the bike. He got on, rode, and had a huge grin on his face. When we told him it was time to come in, he cried.
When we went on walks, he asked politely to ride his bike. I said yes. He rode faithfully in every season: winter, spring, and fall.
This year, we enrolled him in a program called SprocKids put on by our local mountain bike club. (Did I mention we live in Alberta’s mountain bike mecca with a free, 37-acre bike park?) As you can imagine, my little mountain biker took right to it — and on the first night he was tackling skills park obstacles that made hairs on my head turn grey. One such obstacle was taller than I was, but he persisted.
But my mountain biker wasn’t done. He spied my bike in the shed, and he called me out: “Mommy, will you go biking with me?” I was floored. I hadn’t biked since high school, and my old Raleigh is from around 1993. “It’s not about the gear,” I told myself as I inflated the tires on my old bike. I loaded the bikes in the back of my husband’s truck and we drove over to the bike park. I wondered how I was going to thrive on the adventure.
I was richly rewarded for my efforts.
For one thing, I participated in an activity with my child. And I didn’t have to do all the work by pushing or carrying. It was an activity he loved and he told me about every trail, every move, with such delight.
It was a revelation. We can actually now participate in a physical activity together. It’s not a “parent & tot drop in”, we’re at the independent stage, the “just like mom” stage.
We’ve guided him down the path to becoming a little mountain biker and now he’s ripping up the trails and inspiring us to be active, too.
After our little ride, I was inspired to get back on my bike after a long absence. I missed it, and I didn’t even realize it until I was back in the saddle.
And what they say is true: you never forget how to ride a bike.