There's always a fine line that I find myself walking between doing too much for Gus, trying to protect him too much, and allowing him to learn things for himself. So I tried last weekend to let him ride his bike without hovering over him. He went down a hill, not a steep one, but steep enough to gain a decent amount of momentum. I was shouting for him to use his brakes, but apparently he's forgotten how since last year. He nearly ended up in the main road - he didn't even think to turn. His father was close enough to catch and stop him. We won't be taking that chance again.
So we took the bikes out again today and again, I tried to get him to use his brakes (on a secluded side road) and this time he went up on a curb and almost into a stream. Insert deep sigh here. I was a little frustrated by then, so I told him he would not be allowed to ride outside of our parking lot until he learned to use his brakes. Then I marched him, well, rolled him actually, back to said parking lot.
There was a group of teenage boys wrestling near the house. Amazing how at almost seven years old, he's already concerned about his image to the big boys because as I was trying to help him up the hill, he pushed me away.
Anyway, we practiced pedaling and stopping, or at least we tried to. I feel bad for him. He doesn't have the coordination to pedal backwards to stop, but doesn't have the hand strength to use the hand brake. It doesn't help that the brakes seriously need tightening, more than I can do myself. I'm predicting a trip to the bike shop in the near future.
Is it imperative for him to be able to ride a bike? No, not really. But he likes it and I'd like him to be able to do it. But I can't just let him run amok because he doesn't have the safety awareness to know when he's heading for trouble.
It's going to be an interesting summer.