My RAGBRAI Team LIVESTRONG Fundraising Page

Friday, September 9, 2011

Teaching Her to Ride (Finally!)

My daughter turned 9 last August (2010), just before school started.  We lived in a hilly development of a small town.  I worked out of town during the week. Unfortunately she did not know how to ride her bike.  For various reasons (excuses), I never got her interested and on her bike enough to get her riding solo.  Worse still, after the 2010 RAGBRAI, she said that she wanted to ride RAGBRAI with me.  So I know she wants to ride.  As an incentive, I said she needed to be able to ride independently in order to go with me on that adventure.

Last fall we moved into a larger (and flatter) community.  And this winter, I changed jobs to be home full time again.  So, in the spring, we started again, in fits and starts.  But she was interested in riding.  And as it warmed up, I sometime rode to her school on my commuter bike with her trailer bike attached.
Riding home from after-school in April
Like I said, we worked on it on and off during the spring and into the summer.  She almost had it, but I think that a fear of falling was weighing on her mind.  She was quick to jump off if she felt that she was at all wobbly.  RAGBRAI came and went.  She still wasn't there.  Mostly because I didn't get her out on the bike enough.  There was always something else to do.  Or she didn't want to.  Or....

Finally in early August... She's Got It!  She was able to go 20... then 50... then 150... then 300 feet solo.  Next up, starting on her own.  She quickly picked that up.
First solo ride!
After a couple days of staying on our cul de sac and getting comfortable with riding, we took off on a longer ride and ended up going 3 miles total.  Now, we have ridden across town to the grocery store (3 mi one-way) a few times, in addition to a few more rides with the trailer bike (including a 12-mile ride).
Riding back home from the grocery store.

Enjoying a ride together
On that first night riding three miles, Olivia told me that riding her bike was a real "joy!" - the wind in her hair, being able to move quickly.  She certainly is "Loving The Bike." She rides it all over the neighborhood... even when she's just going to her friend's house - across the street!

Next up, a tandem bike (this one would be great!) and RAGBRAI.  Ok, maybe not next up.  But it's definitely on the list of things we want to do.


  1. This is so awesome. Bikes are freedom! Go Olivia! :)

  2. I love to read about stuff like this. Thanks for posting it, my man. Due to us living in some pretty funky places, my daughter actually didn't learn to ride until she was 8 so I totally know where you're coming from.

    Congratulate her and welcome her to team #LovingtheBike.


  3. nice piece. I remember the first time i rode solo, across some grass, without crashing. what a feeling!
    Being able to ride is a gift that keeps on giving - bravo for teaching your daughter.