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Child Decides To Enjoy Riding a Bicycle
Circumnavigates Governor’s Island twice on rented training wheels alongside friend Runa, corners with confidence—despite minor spill
Usually, when we visit Governor’s Island, as we did yesterday with Kina’s friend Runa, we rent a bike for Laurea (who does not own one), and I squire Kina about on the back of my bike—which is built to squire Kina around, after all. Yesterday, though, Kina was insistent that we rent a bike with training wheels so that she could ride next to Runa, who would also rent a bike with training wheels, and they would terrorize the island together.
I balked at first, having seen Kina ride a bicycle only three times in her life—to a rather underwhelming effect, which I know sounds mean, but really, she wasn’t going anywhere fast. But Kina persisted, and so a bike with training wheels was procured for her, and she pedaled off gamely in Runa’s wake.
This quickly evolved. By the time we were snarfing down hot dogs, Kina and Runa were doing long, looping laps of the car-free paths of Governor’s Island on their own—and quickly. By the midafternoon, Kina was riding fast enough that I could pedal at my relatively normal calm pace, as she dodged in front of and behind Runa and her older sister.
Laurea and I were plotting to measure her for a new bike as soon as we got home, and then Runa came running back to us with a worried face that signaled “your daughter has fallen”, which in fact she had. Though Kina had no broken bones, concussions, or even scrapes, I was certain this marked the end of her glorious single day of bike riding. How do you come back from a tumble at the end of a sharp left turn, when that tumble takes place less than a day after you started riding a bike?
And yet, she emerged from a short sob on a garden wall with every bit of confidence that her biking should continue. She warned Runa not to race her, and to keep a safe distance, and she pushed off down the path, past the Statue of Liberty, kicking hard. That is how I know that she is ready to ride a bike. The joy is worth the fear. You take care to manage the worst.
Every day, a little bit older. A little bit faster. A little bit braver.