I have memories of learning to ride my bike without training wheels for the first time. I recall zipping along the road with my dad behind me holding onto the bike seat to keep me from falling. I know that I did fall a few times but it didn't take long before I picked up the skill and was riding around everywhere. I am sure I whined about it ahead of time and didn't want to take the risk of removing the training wheels - I was that risk averse sort of kid.
This week Elli drove her bike to Sparks and on the way back somehow we damaged a training wheel. I can't tell if it was gradual leaning or a sudden smash but either way suddenly one of the wheels was tilted very much sideways. I ended up on the sidewalk trying to bend the steel back with my bare hands. I got it back in place enough to ride but not enough to work quite right. The rubber on the training wheels was already half gone so I decided it was time and tossed them. Elli had to join the big leagues, like it or not.
Over the past couple days she has been riding to school and back. Initially I figured this would be fun but it has been absolutely killer on me. In my memories my parents jogged behind our bikes comfortably and easily keeping us up. In my reality though I am bent nearly double trying to hold on while Elli careens across the sidewalks and I am learning just how hard it is to run in that position. She takes great glee in riding really fast and I end up doing a crazy crabwalk half-run along the street trying to keep up with her. I don't remember my parents complaining about how awful this is but perhaps they were simply in better shape than I am.
I also don't remember them having to worry quite so much about me crashing into things. I learned on a dusty dirt road with nothing to be seen in either direction and Elli is learning on a crowded sidewalk at rush hour. We zip between buildings and pedestrians with no space on either side and I have to practically stand on top of her for the two of us to fit through the gaps. Then she almost crushes me into a pole after trying to drag me into the street in front of a car.
I need a big ole green field. That, and a new back.