This goes down as a day I want to remember.
We went to the lakes, just as we did two years ago for the first outing on his balance bike. The circular concrete path makes for a pretty good ‘race track’.
Arlo is not the type to grasp a new physical task with ease straight from the off. Bikes, scooters…walking, it all took a bit of time, not to mention a few tears.
On that first day by the lakes, we watched as he tentatively walked along with his balance bike, refusing to sit on the seat, wondering if maybe this wasn’t the route for him.
A few days later, we were marvelling as he took his feet off the floor and glided for the first time. And then, that was it. He was away, he was balancing. With a bit more practice give him a slight incline and he could glide for 20 seconds or more.
This time, we were back at the lakes. But with his new ‘big bike’ that he got for his birthday. A bright orange pedal bike.
We followed the general advice to let him use it as a balance bike at first, ignoring the pedals until he was used to the size and feel of the new bike. Sam tried holding the back of the seat whilst Arlo got some pedalling practise in, but he struggled to get the pedals to turn a full revolution – this has always been his problem with pedal bikes and ride-ons in the past.
OK, let’s just leave him to do his own thing, we thought. Arlo pushed his way up ahead as we hung back with Rory, who was determinedly dawdling whilst getting to grips with his new hand-me-down balance bike.
Just as Sam and I were having a word with ourselves about being too hasty and trying not to push him, we watched as he suddenly but surely put both feet on the pedals. He was a dot in the distance, but he was riding.
By the time we caught up with him, he had mastered it. 20 seconds was all it took, and he was riding a bike.
He rode up and down that path, 30 metres at a time, as if he’d always known how to ride a bike.
We were utterly transfixed by the little boy on the bright orange bike. Riding up and down the same stretch of path. It felt like we could stand there forever, the moment never getting old.
Sam and I couldn’t quite believe it, but the person who was most surprised was Arlo.
That rush once you’ve mastered a new skill was evident. Once he started, he just did not want to stop. As soon as we got home, he insisted we go out again, Sam having to sit on the doorstep and supervise him riding up and down the pavement outside our house, despite the mild rain.
But we didn’t mind. Because it was amazing to see him reach this milestone. Watching him ride a proper bike in the full football kit he’d chosen to wear that day, my triumphant boy, I got a lump in my throat. This is definitely the entrance to a totally new phase. He rides a bike and he goes to big school – this is the beginning of his boyhood.