Monday, November 7, 2011

The Dream of a Family Bike Ride

It has been my wife’s dream that one day the three of us would ride bicycles together. Our son’s inability to ride a bike had delayed that dream, and made it a seemingly impossible one.

My own efforts to teach Kai how to ride a bike had been unsuccessful, and at times, very frustrating. This past summer, we enrolled him in a bicycle class for kids with special needs. He made a little progress, but was still unable to ride on his own without training wheels. He was afraid to ride, and did not enjoy it.

One day my wife made mention of Kai’s bicycle challenges to his swim instructor. James was the one who taught Kai how to swim after we saw little progress with other instructors. And he said that he could teach Kai how to ride a bicycle, too.

So, for the past two plus months, James has worked with Kai on bike riding.

He used Kai’s love of numbers to give him the five rules of riding:

1. Look ahead.
2. Keep your arms straight.
3. Go fast.
4. Keep your hands on the handlebar.
5. Keep your feet on the pedals

At first, James ran alongside and held on to a bar attached to Kai’s bike to keep him from falling over as they did laps around a block that had wide, sparsely used sidewalks.

It was a wonderful moment a few weeks ago, when I first saw James running behind Kai’s bike, not hanging on. Kai was able to ride on his own on straight areas, and somewhat on turns, though James said that Kai still needed help to start and stop.

Since then, he’s made further improvements. Even better, Kai seems to enjoy riding and doesn’t protest having to as he once did.

So, yesterday, for the first time, my wife and I decided that we would try riding bikes with Kai.

From our house, we walked our bikes over to a nearby path. To get started on the bike, Kai still needs a little help to get going. So, I kept him balanced and gave him a little push. And then he was off.

My wife went next while I grabbed my bike, got on, and caught up to them.

Kai was riding. He was really riding. And we were riding with him.

We rode a couple of miles to the end of the path. After a short break, we turned around and rode home. It was less than half an hour in all. But it was the highlight of our weekend.

Knowing that our son can ride a bike, and enjoy it, means we can go riding as a family in many different places.

Our dream has come true.

And though this is a relatively small one, its achievement gives us hope that the big dreams – of our son going to college, of being able to get a job, and living independently – may also be attainable one day, too.

Coming Wednesday: Why we had to call 911 after we got home from our ride


  1. Excellent job Kai! Fun times ahead for the whole family.

    You left us with a cliff hanger until Wed?! :)

  2. Aw, that's great! Good for Kai!


  3. Thanks Shiroi Tora-san and Myra!

    Nothing like a good cliff hanger to keep y'all coming back, right? :) Have to wait until Wednesday because my Patch article runs tomorrow.


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