Friday, May 11, 2007

A Boy and his Bike

My son got his first real bike tonight. One day he's a baby and the next minute...future Lance Armstrong. A bike you say? For him? But he's only two-and-a-half!...I know, I know, but stay with me.

As you can tell from this blog the Prather Family likes bikes. I started riding the year before my son was born to get exercise and completely caught the bug. We're Tour de France junkies now and last summer he loved to watch the sprint for the finish line each day, he'd yell "Sprinters!" while pumping his arms like pistons, as Robbie McEwan and Thor Hushovd battled for the finish line. Last Fall Grandma and Grandpa got him a tricycle which he mastered in...oh...about 3 pedal strokes! Zoom! Off he went. As soon as the snow melted he decided his tricycle was soooo One-Year-Old so got on his four-year-old friend's two-wheeler (with training wheels of course). He could barely reach the pedals, but again...Zoom! Every day he's been zooming around the yard on his buddy's bike. Proud Papa moment here: he's two-and-a-half and is flying around on a 4-year-old bike!

So tonight we go stop at REI and he's hauling through the store, I mean hauling, on this 2-wheeler. So much so that an employee says he needs to put on a helmet! The Missus and I think, "OK, maybe it's time to get him a Big Boy bike". The BMX-style bike he's zooming around on is a bit chincey so we try to coax him onto a different bike that's better-made but more like an old-fashioned cruiser. He will not have it. He wants a cool, fast bike. So we go down the street to see if the bike shop has anything that meets his demanding two-year-old standards but is a bit sturdier. We walk in to discover...the bike.

Now, my son loves, I mean loves, St. George and the Dragon; we read the story and play "Saint George with sword an' shield an' helmet" all the time. If you look closely you can see a cartoon dragons with shields on the chainguard and red fleur-de-lis that resemble St. George's Cross on the bike. Voom! He's off zooming through the store and weaving between the bike racks! I was amazed, I'm running behind him with baited breath, wincing every time he has a near miss with a bike rack. The boy's got skills. He's weaving in and out like Tour de France pro. I couldn't believe it. It's getting late and we don't want to buy anything on impulse so tell him we'll look at bikes tomorrow. He says, "Daddy, take this bike home...take it to our house!" Now, he's zoomed around stores on a zillion bikes but when it's time to go he's fine, no fits or anything. Not tonight. "Take it to our house!" The very kind mechanic (who's now stayed past closing to let him try this bike out) looks at us and says, "I don't think you're leavin' here without that bike" and agrees to stay even later to prep it for us.

So we bring it home and he's immediately riding through the house. It's bedtime and he wants to ride it. I tell him if he goes to sleep now he'll be able to ride it when he wakes up. The typical response to this would be protest, tears, stalling, requests for milk, a story, etc. Tonight? None of it. "OK Dad." Goes into bed and shuts his eyes as if to say, "The sooner I go to sleep the sooner I can ride my new bike!"
A boy and his bike...is there anything sweeter?

The best part for me? Seeing his joy and...this morning we went for our first-ever Big Boy Bike Ride together. Thank you Jesus for your good gifts and simple pleasures in life.
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