Two years ago, F’s dad bought him a bicycle. The three of us set out on a bike ride and – while we moved slowly – F did pretty well for his first time. A few days later, I took him out again and he promptly fell over, skinning both hands and both knees. He never so much as sat on that bicycle again.
This year, his dad bought him another bicycle and with his guidance, F quickly developed the confidence and the physical coordination to ride it. He ditched his training wheels soon after. His dad has done a great job of teaching him to ride a bike, and F has learned to love something he used to be afraid of. I know he looks forward to arriving at his dad’s on the weekends because it means they’ll go cycling together. I also know he wants us to do the same.
While picking up a sleeping bag I needed for an overnight camping trip, F asked if he could go look at the bicycles. Reluctantly, I said yes and slowly followed him to the back of the Canadian Tire store. As he bounced from bicycle to bicycle, he kept his eye on one.
I really wish I had a bicycle at our house, he said wistfully. I reminded him we had come to pick something up and we needed to get moving. We walked to the front of the store and picked up my sleeping bag. But something clicked.
Just buy the damn bike, Ashley.
Quicker than you can say “bicycle”, we were at the back of the store to pick out a helmet and asking someone to get the bike he’d selected ready for us. I questioned my sanity momentarily as I handed over my card and asked that they not tell me the total. F was ecstatic and that made it all worth it.
I rarely splurge on big-ticket items for F, particularly without cause, but with the promise that it would serve as a “grading present” and the reminder he had to ride his bike with me while I ran, with fought tooth and nail to fit it in my car and get it home.
We took it out that first evening for a quick five-kilometre rip around the neighbourhood, the first of many treks we’ve embarked on to-date – and we’ve got many more miles ahead.
The split-second decision turned out to be one of the best I’ve ever made. From finding new ways to be more active together to seeing F’s confidence grow and his body become stronger, this bicycle has brought much joy and jogging to our lives.