Steig Larsson. I've been wrapped up in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for two days, my time set aside for blogging. It has all the good elements of a great page turner without any melodramatic tangents.
Another very exciting undertaking in the last two days has been teaching my 7-year-old daughter how to ride a bike, her first ticket to independence. I can remember learning to ride a bike myself when I was 5. It was back in the days when parents didn't go out and show you things; in other words, you learned on your own. It took me a week everyday after school to learn. I had plenty of cuts and bruises to attest to the learning curve, but I was nonetheless proud of myself.
On my way back from a doctor's appointment, I happened upon a new and used bike shop, Guarantie Bicycle, at 857 Marie Anne (corner St. André) on the Plateau. Not only did I find a great used starter bike for my daughter at $40, but I also discovered that this shop repairs bikes and recycles them for scrap metal (Pinkie got dropped off there today). It also had a free tire pump outside (See picture below).
I took my daughter in the afternoon to show her the bike I had set aside. Luckily, it was the same shade of red as her helmet and the new Canadiens shirt that she just received from Tante Sophie, overshadowing the fact that it was a girl's bike without a crossbar. My daughter doesn't go in for anything girlie. Her smile reflected both excitement and nervousness. The man running the shop gave her a few lessons to get her used to the bike, its steering and hand brakes. Instead of trying to pedal, she used the balls of her feet to push herself forward along the sidewalk to work on her balance. Her shaky steering told me that her nerves were getting the better of her, but she wasn't about to give up, especially not in front of the man from the store.
Reader do you remember your first bike? Do you have good or bad memories of learning to ride?
When he went back into the shop to get the tool to adjust her seat, my daughter came over to confide in me.
"I don't want to do this right now," she said.
"Just sit down and take a break," I said, knowing that she would want to try again.
And sure enough not even two minutes later, she was back in the saddle. Her father showed up a few minutes later, and we took her to a back alley with no traffic. Still using the balls of her feet to push herself forward she did a few lengths of the alleyway and then started to pedal. I watched as her nervousness changed to enthusiasm and then beaming pride.
"That's right. You've learned the basics, but there's still more to learn," I said, not wanting to mention that she had to fall down at least once to really know what it was to ride a bike.
The day was not without tears and frustration. My three-year-old son was green with envy when he saw my daughter with a new bike. His scooter was quickly cast aside. And then after dinner my daughter discovered that invisible force called momentum and how hard it can be to turn on an incline. She had her first accident alright, and I had to remind her that she was off to a good start but that it takes at least a week to learn to ride a bike.
I'd love to hear about your first bike.
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