Free Wheelin'

For a while now, Dustin and I have been trying to figure out the right time to get Theo his first bike. We wanted to make sure that his coordination, interest levels, and strength all reached the right point. What made up our minds to finally go and buy him one was his ever increasing weight being hauled around on the child's seat behind Dustin's bike. He is getting to a weight where it is downright unwieldily to try and bike with him. Dustin manages all right, but I have a hard time feeling balanced and stable with 21 kilos sitting on my back tire. The seat is supposed to work for children up to 6 years old but I don't think they were taking into consideration our fairly large (by Japanese standards) child.

We brought Theo down to the bike shop and let him pick which colour of bike he wanted. It was no surprise to us that he chose red, since that has been his favorite colour for about 6 months now. Since then we have been letting him ride around the neighbourhood as much as possible trying to build up his biking muscles, control, and ability to brake at appropriate times. It seems that they don't sell children's bikes with a back pedal brake anymore, or at least not in Japan. This was the first bike that I learned to ride and I find takes way less coordination than trying to teach a four year old how to use double hand brakes.

The only concerns I have when he rides his bike (other than the cars that never seem to stop at a stop line) are the water channels and ditches beside the roads.  These ditches are actually concrete channels to collect rain and water run off and direct it to the canals.  In our neighbourhood they are open and anywhere between 30 cm to 1.5 meters deep. It turns out, after scouring through all of my photos, that I have never taken a photo of them. That will have to be a post for another day. I am surprised that he hasn't swerved his bike into one of them yet, but I am sure it will happen sooner or later. Truthfully, I am surprised that I haven't swerved my bike into one of them yet. I am also impressed that he hasn't careened into one of the little rice paddies that are scattered all over the place. These usually have at least a 1.5 meter drop off with nothing preventing an easily distractible kid from ploughing over the edge. Needless to say, I hover within arms reach whenever he goes on bike excursions. Hopefully he can learn to ride safely by himself by the time he has truly maxed out the weight on the child's seat on Dustin's bike.

1 comment:

Blue Shoe said...

Those ditches are scary, indeed. "Gaijin traps" I have heard them called. Good that you're keeping an eye on him!