Sunday, 14 October 2012

We crashed the motorbike!

The Little Big Fella has a motorbike.

It's a 50cc Yamaha and he loves riding on it!  Well, riding with one of us on it.

The Big Fella bought said motorbike when the Little Big Fella was... maybe 2? Maybe a little younger.  He was keen for his son to be into bikes (and possibly living a little vicariously?).

So one of us would ride on the back with the Little Big Fella on the front and we'd ride around the yard, or sometimes up the street and around the lagoons, or even around a park-like area that was almost always empty of people.

Over the past couple of months, the Little Big Fella has started "helping" to control the bike when we ride.  He pulls on the throttle (sometimes when I'm trying to slow down!), and helps me steer.

But a few days ago we took a trip to the coast and happened to stop at a shop that sold motorbikes, quad bikes, buggies, motorbike gear, camping gear... you get the drift.  And the Big Fella bought the Little Big Fella his first motorbike helmet.

Doesn't this look like it would be SO much fun!????!!!

The Little Big Fella tried to convince us to buy him one of these.

The Little Big Fella was absolutely ecstatic to have a real motorbike helmet!  He sat in front of the mirror putting it on and off and talking to himself for at least an hour!  And then he talked to me about his helmet for the next hour ;-}

The following day the Big Fella decided that, given the Little Big Fella can now ride his pushbike without training wheels, he could probably ride his motorbike by himself too!

First stop, the shed!  Replace the rear tyre and tube and make sure the bike's good to go!

How young is too young?  I suspect this is a question that I'll ponder many times throughout my career as a parent.

So we started with baby steps.  We put the bike on its centre stand and turned it on.  Then coaxed the Little Big Fella to sit on the bike (he was scared we were going to make him go all by himself straight away).

He practiced revving the throttle.  Then he practiced doing it smoothly ;-)  Then he practiced doing it just a little bit, smoothly.

Of course, you need to be able to stop so the next step was to use the brakes.  The Little Big Fella's pushbike has back-pedal brakes, rather than hand brakes.  So he had some practice (and we made sure he had enough strength in his hands to be able to brake).

The next step was to put the bike off the centre stand and see if he could make it go forward just a little bit.  He freaked out a bit at the thought so I sat on the back of the bike just to help him feel secure.

And you know what?  He totally rocked it!  He pulled the throttle on nice and gently, moving forward a little way then braking beautifully!

I could be totally weird for this but I was so proud!  My little boy (nearly 3 and a half) had enough control to go slowly and coordinate himself to stop.  He's so clever (if I do say so myself)!!!

Obviously the next step was to ride around the yard.  And we did!

I put my hands on the inner part of the handle bars and steered, and used my feet to keep the bike up when we were going pretty slowly, but after a while he was driving that motorbike smoothly, stopping well and going around the corners almost like a pro!  The only thing we were struggling with was slowly down to go around corners, then speeding up so we didn't stop or fall over as we came out of the corners.

And, I guess it was inevitable.

We crashed.

Kind of hard.

Into the fence.

Hard enough for the Little Big Fella's helmet to hit the fence (thank God we always insist he wears a helmet when he rides!).  Far enough that my foot got stuck under the fence, and that the bottom of it pushed out into the neighbour's yard (luckily it's a wire fence so we could push it back without much stress).

So the scrape-y hole on the right is where my foot got stuck under the fence, the hole on the left is where my other foot stopped and the one in the middle is where the front tyre pushed into the fence (the photo is obviously taken after the fence was pushed back to its normal position).

One of my concerns with the Little Big Fella learning to ride has been that he'd fall or crash or hurt himself and then be afraid to ride again.

Nope.  Not my little boy!

We disentangled ourselves from the fence and pushed it back into place and the Little Big Fella immediately wanted to try again.  Another proud moment :-)

So we went round and around the yard and he improved each time and absolutely loved it!

Guess what he asked first thing when he got up the next morning???

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