Friday, March 10, 2006

Uneasy rider

I was reading a lot of discussion today on a parenting e-mail list about riding bikes, and the terribleness of your child not being able to manage a two-wheeler, and it made me wonder if I'm deeply scarring my kids in some way by really not caring much about bike-riding one way or the other. I didn't ride a two-wheeler until I was 16 years old, my husband never learned, and so it's hard for us to feel real tragic about our son's failure to launch. Our daughter learned to ride fairly easily, but since we don't encourage constant and energetic bike riding, she doesn't get much practice. And the little guy just can't manage without training wheels, and we can't manage to get out there with him and work on it.

Is this bad parenting? Some sort of oblique child neglect? I don't know. When I was a kid, bikes were a major form of transportation. Kids rode bikes to school (me, too, on those training wheels, well past the age at which it was social suicide to do so), but today my kids' schools forbid that. I needed my bike badly for college transport, but I don't think that'll be an issue for my two. My son's friend needs his bike to do really dangerous stunts involving stairs, but we're not going there for gosh-darn sure. Exercise is important, and I'm trying to get both kids to walk more, but bikes? Seem like an accident waiting to happen, to me. But then, I'm not a biker. And passing that down, apparently.

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