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Your Comments–Training Wheels

August 14, 2015

The previous story, about getting the training wheels off my bike, resonated with a number of readers. It’s a rite of passage almost all of us have been through, one of those important moments in our young lives that many of us have an enduring memory of.

From Stan:

Thank you for Training Wheels, Mr. Stein. But you’re not supposed to make grown men cry. I’m sure you felt the same when your kids first learned to ride. Like your parents, and most of us.
I’ll forgive you this one time. Well, maybe a couple more. We’ll see.


The Little Store brought back a tidal wave of Waco childhood memories. Going to it was such a treat. Thank you!!

Orvel added:

Such great re-remembering of a rite of passage.  4 blocks away then was a lifetime removed. Brought a smile and nod to my day. Thanks.

Laurie said:

So wonderful!

John recalls:

Ed, This episode hit very close to home for me… My parents both passed away while I was young and one of the last things that I remember both of my parents doing with me was teaching me to ride a bike and the trip to the neighborhood store as my maiden voyage with them in tow. They opened my world up that one afternoon and I will never forget it.


My brother, Jack, and I received our first bikes at Christmas, and there were no training wheels. I was 6 I believe, and he was 5. He, of course, learned much quicker than I did, but after hitting a few curbs and toppling over a few times, by the time Christmas Day was over we were both riding pretty well.

Finally, Bob has this to say:

For some reason, I don’t remember ever having training wheels, but riding a bike was sure important to me in elementary school.  It had exactly the meaning you describe in your story, one all about being a big kid and able to get yourself places.  Both my kids went through a similar experience, although my wife didn’t – her neighborhood wasn’t very bicycle-friendly.

 As important as the bike was in elementary school, for some reason when I got to junior high I wouldn’t be caught dead on it.  Just wasn’t cool, any more, so I would walk rather than be seen on a bicycle.  And when we were in high school, only a complete outcast could have ridden a bike to school.  I remember our physics teacher, Mr. Groom, riding a bicycle to school, and I remember thinking that was really beyond the pale, even for a grownup.  I had to get into my twenties before I was ready to bike again.

I still remember the times that my own kids learned to ride without the training wheels. It was just as big a moment for them as it had been for me, although, as it turned out, bicycles weren’t as important for them. I grew up in a one-car household, as did many of us in that era. My friends and I relied on our bikes to take us to ballgames, piano and art lessons, Cub Scout meetings, etc. When my children were little we had two cars, and their sports and other activities were farther from home. We were much more reliant on the automobile when they were growing up, and I know that my wife and I were much less willing than my parents had been to let the kids roam unsupervised.

In retrospect, it was their loss.

Thanks, as always, for your comments. Stay tuned for another new story on Wednesday.