Day three started just like the other days. He found his coaches, jumped on a bike and started wearing a rut in the floor. He did look just a little more wobbly at first. Maybe they had adjusted his bike again.
About thirty minutes in, I noticed a staff member brought out a two-wheeled bike with a handle attached to the back. I smiled. Oh, someone is going to try to ride a regular bike, I thought. I surveyed the campers and wondered who it might be. I quickly came to the conclusion that the person most likely ready in this session was John. I ran for the camera. Almost before I was back and before he had time to protest, I saw him perched on it as if it were just another in a million laps he'd made already.
A super fast running push (I assume speed helps maintain balance at first?) and she released the handle and I watched my son fly! He took off and enjoyed 5-10 seconds of complete independence as the staff member caught up, grabbed the handled and helped him come to a safe stop. Applause and whoops went up throughout the gymnasium. Tears spilled down my face. And before I had completely enjoyed the moment, John was granted some high fives and was escorted out the door, bike at his side.
I threw the baby on my back in the carrier and took off. By the time I got to the parking lot, he'd already ridden solo again. He spent a very sweaty 45 minutes tearing up the pavement while I snapped photos, posted to facebook, called his father and cried and cried some more.
On two wheels, on pavement, he got faster and faster. The poor volunteers got more and more tired. They gasped as they threw back cups of water between stints of escorting my fledgling. I couldn't believe he was riding a bike on day three.
A staff member came over and instructed me on what kind of bike to purchase. He needed a cruiser style bike. No front brakes because if he started going fast later, he'd have the tendency to brake too hard and throw himself over the handle bars. He needed a low slung frame that he could easily step through. He could either go with 24" or 26" wheels depending on how low the seat could be set. It was important for him to be able to put both feet flat on the ground while sitting on the bike for his sense of security.
And we were off to buy a bike...