On Sunday July 24, 2005 Lance Armstrong rode into Paris for his seventh Tour de France win. My 4 year old son and I watched the final stage together Sunday morning.
We bought him a bike a while ago. One of his first times on his bike he picked up a little speed on a slight downhill, panicked, jack-knifed the bike, and took a spill. He was angry I wasn’t right there to catch him. He was reluctant to ride after that incident and when he did ride his bike I had to run alongside holding the back of his seat.
As we watched the Tour I asked him if he would like to ride like the racers.
Sunday afternoon we took advantage of a neighbor’s driveway that is very level.
I started to grab his seat but he waved me off. “I do it myself”, he told me.
He started cautiously by cranking the pedals a full cycle and then spinning the pedals backwards to apply the brake. He repeated this start and stop pattern for several laps of the driveway. Gradually he became more comfortable and soon he was riding up and down the driveway turning at each end without assistance.
Next he was trying to ride as fast as he could. “Look at me! I like Armstrong!”
And then he asked “Are you proud of me, daddy?”
And of course I am very proud.
(I’m also happy that I don’t have to strain my back bending over to hold his seat.)