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Teaching my son to ride

Father and son learn to ride

This article first appeared in the Summer 1998 edition of the Bicycle Habitat newsletter

First Rides

By Charlie McCorkell

Nathan, my younger son, just started riding without training wheels. After 6 months of post-operative recovery I just started riding again. I discovered that we have a lot in common.

We both had tremendous performance anxiety. We were both afraid to disappoint me. Nathan, an eight year old, had trouble sticking through the falling process. He believed this should be his birthright and had to learn that sometimes you just have to work. I couldn't believe that I just couldn't jump on the bike and ride either and I'm still learning how much work it takes to ride a bike.

We both like to over do it. As Nathan began to ride better he thought he'd take on Prospect Park. The hill proved a little too much but the thrill of doing it certainly overrode any other feelings. I decided to ride into work. The hill on my return up Flatbush Avenue (I know what hill?, they do call it flat bush) forced me off my bike and I walked for a block. The embarrassment of walking was certainly buried by the exhilaration of riding, but the pain of the next few days drove reality home.

Both Nathan and I are experiencing the joy of riding. Him for the first time and me for the third time. I must admit the joy I experience from watching him ride is far greater then the joy I experienced from my riding. I think the joy he feels riding is far greater then the joy he feels at my riding.

One of the things I have rediscovered is that riding is fun. This goes equally for an eight year old or an aging baby boomer. If you haven't ridden lately I think you should get out now and do a lap in the park, a ride to work or join us for a Thursday ride to Coney Island or elsewhere.

Thanks to all who stopped by and inquired after my progress. .