When I was a little girl my dad was determined to teach us to love the sports that he loved, biking and x-country skiing. He would coach us along until we finally would whine enough that he would stop and just let us experiment on our own.
Learning to ride bikes was definitely one of my dad's jobs. We had two hand-me-down bikes but the only one I remember was a yellow banana seat bike that we inherited from my cousin Sonia who is five years my senior. The bike weighed a ton. This was the bike that we learned to ride on. A lot of the memories are hazy. I don't remember if it had training wheels and I don't remember what type of brakes it had. What I do remember is how my dad taught us to ride without any balancing aids.
I need to preface this story with some basic facts about where I learned to ride. I grew up on a ranch in Western Colorado. Our ranch house was tucked away from any and all neighbors up a three quarters of a mile private gravel road. To us it was a road but to most it was a four wheel drive road and indeed during certain months of the year drivers either need four wheel drive or a lot of speed to get up to the house. In front of the house there was a 40 yard straight and flat section of gravel road that separated the house and yard from the garden. Gravel for that long of a driveway is expensive so really the road was dirt with a mixture of large and small rock. The large rocks for catching the tires and the small rocks for lodging in our knees.
My dad would get us lined up at one end of the straight stretch with his hand on the back of the banana seat. Taking a firm grip he would push us and help us start pedaling and then run behind us. With one final shove he would send us off to try and maneuver the gravel road on a bike we didn't know how to ride yelling "pedal, Pedal, PEDAL!" Inevitably several of these ended up in crashes onto the gravel road. My knees tells this story to this day. They are full of scars behind many of them you can hear, "PEDAL".
My dad was successful. I love both of the sports that he loves plus many more. It wasn't until he was pretty sick from cancer treatments that I could even begin to keep up with him. As I was watching my seven year old ride her new bike last weekend I could feel dad around smiling that his Tiger-lily was loving to ride as much as he loved to. Thankfully we weren't picking any gravel out of her knees in the process!