Saturday, 5 October 2013

Every cloud....

Quite saddened to know these days are over
About a week and a half ago the dynamic of the Velo Family was severely disrupted. Upon picking up our youngest from daycare, I discovered that, for the second time, a stranger had stolen our bike trailer. Multiple thoughts went through my head, some less PG than others, but aside from the frustration and anger came a sadness. For many cycling families, this would be a blow. For us, it meant that we had lost our ability to bike commute as a family, to do our large grocery shopping by bike, and to enjoy long rides along the Seawall, something we had apparently taken for granted and missed almost immediately. 

The most immediate impact was felt by husband and son, who had come to rely on our trailer for their morning routine. Without the trailer, Chris would be forced to walk with Etienne to his daycare about a kilometre away, before riding off to work, adding at least thirty minutes to his commute. It's pretty astounding how something as simple as a theft can completely change your lives when you rely on two wheels to get you around. However, what started out as astounding in a negative way turned into something pretty spectacular.

As you may have read previously, we have been attempting to get our son to ride on his own for over a year to no avail. My husband and I knew all along that one day, a switch would flip, and he would just get it, but it seemed to be taking forever and we were beyond frustrated. So when the trailer was stolen, and we suggested to our little man that he try riding so he can bike to school with daddy, we didn't expect much. Especially when he repeatedly said that he couldn't do it yet. But we had to try; we had no choice!

So we set up on the sidewalk, camera in hand, ready and waiting for that magic moment. After several passes, things were appearing to be as hopeless as before. You see, my husband and I knew he capable of riding on his own. In fact, he was! But for some reason, in his head, he was still too young, and would panic after just a few revolutions without daddy or mommy near by. We decided we would give it one more go, cheering him on with compliments, encouragement and praise. And then it happened! After over twelve months of trying, failing and trying again, our four and a half year old son was finally riding on two wheels all by himself! He beamed with joy and pride, and was so excited he decided the very next day he would ride to school. True to his word, he did just that. The following morning, while I sat at home nervous for my little guy, I received a text from my husband saying simply this, "'I DID IT!'"
One very happy little boy
Here we are now, just eleven days later, and the Velo Family has just returned from our first bike ride as a family all riding solo. We travelled along the 10th Avenue bikeway three kilometres from our home on Commercial Drive to enjoy some breakfast on Main Street. It's a route we all know well, but the first time Etienne would ride that distance, including some steeper inclines on the way. I'm very happy to report he made it safely there and back without any tumbles, and only had to dismount a couple of times and get a hand from daddy to make it up the hill. So, what started out as a disheartening blow to our daily routines turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As they say, every cloud has a silver lining...or in our case, a little blue bike and a brave little boy!
The set is now complete!


  1. Sucha beautiful compilation pic! Love his little scowl! Great work kiddo!

  2. Haven't you seen the Parachute Canada (safety) web site? "Children under the age of 10 should not ride their bikes on the road."

    Apparently it's safer to carry the little guy on your back for the next 5 years!

    1. I have to wholeheartedly disagree with this. The only way to make cycling safer for everyone is to have people, regardless of age and ability, riding responsibly, which means not on sidewalks but on roads where they can learn and respect the rules, as well as be a visible part of traffic. I also firmly believe that allowing children the responsibility helps them grow and mature, helping them to become independent, strong teens and adults.