Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Somehow the summer has flown by and while we’ve had many things to do and see, one of our favorites, bike riding, has been painfully missed in our list of activities. While knee surgery has kept me from actively participating this summer, I have always enjoyed watching my husband and daughter ride together. Last Christmas, at her request, Santa brought her a bike with no training wheels. Unfortunately, Christmas day and a few days afterward were the only times she showed any signs of interest in learning how to ride her “big girl” bike. 

I’ve been told by other moms that this is okay, but I also know that for some reason my child has a healthy fear of falling off her bicycle. To help her overcome this, we have spent many evenings (before the almost historic heat wave) running beside the bicycle while balancing it for her, but to no avail. Despite the fact that she’s never taken a tumble, (Dad has literally thrown his body under the bike to catch it if it even looks like it’s going to fall) she becomes visibly tense and anxious while pedaling.

We have tried everything from re-introducing “The Little Engine That Could” to emphasize overcoming fears, to riding with her (one of us rides the other one guides), to her riding with friends, but nothing seems to stick. As soon as we release the grasp on the seat and handle bars, her feet hit the ground and the bike comes to an immediate halt. She has since lost interest and her bike has sat idle in our garage collecting dust as the days of summer wither away.

What should be a fun childhood experience has become somewhat of a stressful ordeal for her. As a mom, I just want her to learn so that she can enjoy these years of her life to their fullest. After all, riding a bicycle is sort of a rite of passage in childhood.

Still I have hope that we can help her reach this milestone, but since I am fresh out, any ideas from you moms out there on how to help my little one overcome her fears and get on her bike again?

Nikki Hall-Branch is a Communications Coordinator at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth and determined Mom to one daughter.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know how old your daughter is, but if it's any consolation, I didn't learn to ride training-wheel free until I was about 8 years old. I took a tumble into a neighbor's parked car (I wasn't hurt, nor was the car or bike) but it scared me enough to not even want to try going training-wheel-less for a long, long time afterward. Keep at it and continue the low-pressure tactics; she'll get it eventually.