Our older son Zeke got his first bike on his 5th birthday. It’s a Lightning McQueen-branded red bike with 16-inch wheels. We’ve had the training wheels off for a while and both boys had been sharing it, but it became obvious on Friday that Zeke had completely outgrown the thing. So we made a trek to Toys-R-Us and Zeke got an upgrade to a 20-inch blue Avigo bike, and Jack became the official owner of the old bike. Ah, hand-me-downs. Get used to it, kid.
Saturday morning we took the bikes over to the school parking lot/playground so the boys could have a large area to practice with no cars or other distractions. Zeke insisted that his new bike have hand brakes rather than foot brakes, and so I wanted to see him get some practice with the new hand brakes.
One of the things I most enjoy about being a dad is watching the boys grow in confidence as they try and master new things. Zeke has always been a little tentative with his bike(s) but Jack knows no fear at all. He just goes like a bat out of hell. So it was fun watching Zeke suddenly realize that with his new bike he could pedal backwards while still moving forward, and shouting to his brother and mother and father to watch him as he did that.
Anyway, the difference between his new bike and old bike became all too clear when Jack cut in front of Zeke’s path and Zeke spun the wheels backwards in vain trying to stop. The crash was, to any objective observer, pretty spectacular — a classic T-bone collision. Unfortunately, there were no objective observers, just horrified parents. We ran over to the pile of boys and bikes and disentangled them, checking for cuts and bruises. Everyone was fine (more or less) and we decided to take a break and go eat lunch.
After lunch the boys were eager to get back to riding so I took them again. The second accident was more of a head-on collision. Zeke still didn’t use the hand brakes but he did manage to shout “Jack! Jack!” before crashing into him at full speed. Hey, it’s progress.