We spent Thanksgiving with my parents in Searcy, Arkansas. I'll post more about that later, but I promised Caleb that today's post would be entirely dedicated to his latest accomplishment. The first morning we were in Searcy, Marcus and Papa took the boys down to the elementary school by my parents' house to ride bikes. We'd decided the night before to try taking Caleb's training wheels off for the first time during this trip, so Marcus went ahead and removed them when they all got to the park. I wasn't there for the teaching session (I was out shopping for baby girl clothes with my mom), but I saw the video. Marcus gave Caleb a couple of tips like starting out by putting his foot on the higher petal and trying to go faster to help stay balanced, and then he let Caleb take off. Amazingly, it took him less than 20 minutes to get the hang of it. In the video I saw, he was riding all over the paved area of the school like a pro before they even headed home from the park.
This new development sort of turned our weekend into a bike-riding marathon. We rode bikes all over Searcy. A couple of days, the boys rode (we jogged along) to the high school football stadium near my parents house and then rode laps around the track. Caleb went all the way around the track four times right in a row one morning. He was very proud that he had ridden a whole mile :) Another day, we took the boys and the bikes to our alma mater and let them ride all over the university (which was vacated because of the holidays). The ante was upped for Caleb at the university because he went from riding in more open, flat spaces to sidewalks, sharp turns, slopes and curbs. He wiped out twice during the two hours we were riding at Harding, but both times he immediately got back on the bike and continued his ride. (This is very un-Caleb-like, and I was amazed that he hardly fussed over his scrapes and scratches at bath time that night.) At the university, I was most impressed by him riding up and down curbs several times without stopping or tipping over. We did a lot of practicing good "traffic" habits like stopping at every street, looking both ways and walking our bikes across, as well as veering well away from any pedestrians or other bikers. (But don't worry, it will still be a very long time before any of my kids are allowed to ride bikes unaccompanied.)
We had a lot of great options for places to ride in Searcy, and now the challenge will be finding similar places around here. Oh yeah...I forgot to mention one detail about this whole thing. Knowing how easily discouraged and frustrated Caleb often gets when learning something new, I (rather flippantly) offered him a big motivational reward if he learned how to ride his bike without training wheels this weekend. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea he would learn so quickly and did not think that I would need to follow through with my offer. So, to make a long story short, I will now be using all of my birthday and Christmas money to buy Caleb a new Spiderman bike for Christmas. He was going to get one for his birthday anyway, since he's had his current bike for almost two years and he really has outgrown it, but his precociousness on wheels has enabled him to earn that Spiderman bike three months early :)