Friday, July 22, 2011

You can whine, but we're still doing it.

I took the Spud out for a bike ride this morning. Just a short little hop around town to see how he handles a bike. I've been told several times by him and his mom that he's riding a bike at home, but I figure that I'd better see what he can do before taking him out on the C&O canal towpath for a longer ride.

OK, we've got a few things to work on. He doesn't lean in curves at all, he can't shift gears while riding, and he has no concept of simple rules of the road like "stay on the right side, going with the traffic flow". There's clearly not a lot of experience here, despite claims to the contrary. He also announced that he'd had enough when we weren't even four blocks away from my truck yet, obviously expecting me to say "OK, we just hauled these bikes all the way to town to ride for two minutes. We'll go home now."

As if...

I led him all through town, riding about as slow as I could and encouraging him to keep up. He kept asking where the truck was, and I kept telling him that every time that he asked, the ride was going to get longer. And he kept at it so we went quite a bit further than I'd planned. Still, he kept pedaling, despite constantly warning me about how tired he was getting, how many blisters he was getting on his hands, and the fact that he was actually starting to--wait for it--sweat!! Oh Noez!
Apparently that sort of complaining works at home, but it doesn't fly here. He can do this--he just doesn't know it because he's conditioned to quit as soon as he starts breathing a bit fast.

But I led him along for about an hour, covering maybe three or four miles and taking him up and down a few moderate hills. We finally stopped in town on front of the Post Office, at which point he told me that it was actually fun. "That's good," I told him. "This is the half-way point. Now we just have to ride back the way we came."

This got him a bit upset, but he's here now, not at home, and no one cares if he's mad about having to exercise. I told him to get riding again and make a right at the corner, and then I had him make another right, and lo and behold...the truck. Then he was happy.

And then I told him to ride out and back again for this shot, and he got miffed again, because he was sooooooo tired.

But he did it.
He will accomplish things if you don't give in to the whining and refuse to let him quit. And I think way too much of this boy to let him bail out of stuff in the first few minutes just because he wants to.


  1. And I think way too much of this boy to let him bail out of stuff in the first few minutes just because he wants to. Perfect! Every kid needs a mentor like you.

  2. I just don't understand kids these days. From the time I was 4 until I got my driver's license, you couldn't pry me off a bicycle short of torrential rains, nightfall or dinner. Crashing after launching me and the bike off any kind of ramp, drainage ditch, stairs, etc was a different story usually resulting in me getting up to do it again...unless I bent the bike...which never happened...much.

  3. @Shepherd K.: You and me both, brother. But in Spud's case, no one taught him to ride a two-wheeler until fairly recently, and no one has ever been willing to take him out riding other than me, and I only see him once or twice a year. In our day, boys ran, jumped, rode and played hard. In this day and age, they sit on couches in front of TV sets or video games.

    That's why I'm working hard to show him that there are other choices in life, and fun endeavors that don't require electricity.

  4. Good for you, for not letting him off easy.

    ...and better for him.

  5. Training a dog and training a boy. The similiarities abound. He's dang lucky to have you in his life ML.

  6. Good for you, he 'does' look like he could lose a pound or two...