Biking is a thing in Denmark. In fact, it might be THE thing here in Denmark. I read somewhere that just over 80% of households in metropolitan Copenhagen don’t own cars so your bike wheels are definitely your main wheels and they start them early.
Over Easter, a certain bunny delivered a bright and shiny red bicycle for our tot. I was a little nervous about putting her on two wheels – especially when the guy at the shop bluntly told me that training wheels weren’t really an encouraged option here.
I’m a bit of a nervous biker myself. I never cease to admire the confidence that people have here while tossing a tot on a bike seat in the back, or an infant up front in those Christiana bikes. It’s not uncommon to see two or three kids loaded up in those things (sometimes sitting together with their own kiddie bikes inside the carrier of the larger one). But it’s a way of life.
And she was ready… a year of propelling herself on those balance bikes they have here seemed to do the trick. The forest school has quite a collection of them and kids get that sense of comfortable balance rather fast, even with all those layers on.
Which is not to say we didn’t have a few rough patches. There were definitely a few tears, and a few run ins with the bushes on our street. As for me, I was definitely starting to doubt the decision of skipping the training wheels – and so was my back. After spending two days leaning over, I suddenly understood why I kept seeing Danish parents in our neighborhood who were also teaching their kids the magic of two-wheeled independence with broomsticks shoved in those bicycles. Wish I had figured out that one sooner…
But then…just like that…it clicked….and she got it. As a parent, it’s bittersweet. You realize – as they circle the block round and round without you – that this is just one of what will be so many times that they’ll leave you behind, each time going faster and going further. Soon, it’s not just around the block but all the way to the ocean. And you realize, next time it will be a bigger bike…and then even a car. As a child growing up, I loved those days of gaining new freedoms and couldn’t wait for them. As a parent, they come much too quickly – but it doesn’t make you any less proud.