When we first moved to Japan, my daughter could barley speak.
Fast forward a few years and she’s now speaking two languages and chasing me around on her bike. She’s not even in elementary school and is already talking about riding her bike to school.
I can’t full credit for my daughter’s bike riding development. This was a team effort between my wife and I. However, I will point out that it was I who forbade the use of tricycles or scooters.
We lived in Italy before moving to Japan, and throughout my travels in Europe, I noticed most young children rode bikes with two wheels. No Training wheels.
It’s most prevalent in Germany. Years ago during our family trips to Germany, we were flabbergasted to see small children riding their bikes down the street with parents. And if the child couldn’t ride on two wheels, they were using a balance bike. I knew that we had to get a balance bike for our daughter once she was old enough.
The balance bike was great. The goal was to get her to develop her confidence with coasting the bike and balancing it with her feet in the air.
The only issue is my daughter’s growth spurt. She’s tall, which is both a blessing and a curse. Because of her height and size, folks often think my daughter is older than she looks. School aged kids will want to play with her, only to realize she’s a preschooler.
And it soon became clear that she needed a bike for a full sized child.
My wife picked the bike for our baby girl late last year. Confessedly, I was concerned that it might’ve been too heavy for her, but she was determined to conquer her new bicycle. It did come with training wheels, but they were soon removed after a few months of practice.
Lately, we’ve been focusing on speed and break control. We found an parking lot by our house where the roof is almost always empty. We ride to the top and practice our drills there. I have her speed up and slow down. Focusing on familiarizing herself with her bike and trusting her balance and coasting skills.
It’s one thing to know how to ride a bicycle, but it’s another thing to find balance and confidence.
I think we’ll soon be riding to the local Japanese convenience store together. According to Japanese law, we’ll have to register her bike and make it street legal and all, but I’m super proud to see my little girl tackle this life skill at such an early age.
I’ll see you at the next one.
Comment down below. Do you remember when you learned to ride a bicycle?