Do little kids still learn to ride bikes? There was a time, not so long ago in America, when every child had a bicycle and knew how to ride it. Outside the small-town pharmacy with the soda fountain, there would be a pile of them strewn on the sidewalk, as if their owners couldn’t wait to park them properly before rushing to the candy counter. But today, one is more likely to see the youngsters piling out of the family SUV with some patient adult texting away while sitting on the front seat awaiting the progenies’ return with their bounty.
Is it that we have more time to deliver them to their many obligations? Is it that they are too tired from travel soccer? Is it that rising crime leads us to fear allowing them to bike or walk to the corner store? Is it that the corner store has been replaced with some behemoth retail outlet where one needs a bicycle to manage the aisles rather that one to get there? Regardless the reason, these small humans have stopped pedaling.
Maybe, it is a good thing. Isn’t it always better to get a ride than walk? Isn’t it always better to be a passenger than in charge? Well, maybe not so much. What is being taken away from our kids in our generous desire to “help” them? What skill is not being developed? What confidence is not being found? Without unnecessarily waxing poetic about the halcyon days of yore, we did learn that a bent nail can repair a broken bicycle chain in a pinch. And, we all knew that we had to get home before the tire went completely flat or we’d be walking. Maybe it is not a video game, but isn’t it something?