from a man with a company that makes a very unusual bicycle.
He submitted a series of e-mails that led me to write about him, and his product on my bike blog, The Cycling Dude.
It was the beginning of a friendship that has changed my life, in many positive ways, and I've even had the opportunity to meet him a couple of times over the years on his trips to Ca.
Randy Eady introduced me to the "Balance Bike", and not just the idea of such a bike for pre-schoolers, but models made for adults, specifically seniors.
Dec. 2006 = Raising A Cyclist In 21st Century America
Nov. 2007 = Raising A Cyclist In 21st Century America Part 2
Sept. 2009 = So Easy A 3 year Old Can Do It!
In Oct. 2009 mainstream journalism, in the form of the NY Times, finally did a major story on the subject. :-D
Now, in 2012, Nicholas Day, writing for Slate Online, posts a lengthy, fascinating, and entertaining, essay proclaiming "Down With Training Wheels!"
In this essay he shares the more than 150 yr. old history, and science, behind such a concept as a "Pedaless Bicycle", and the practical, and healthful, benefits behind them, especially for the youngster just learning to ride.
He proceeds to point out "They train kids how not to ride a bike! Why balance bikes are better."
As he points out:
"It’s unclear when training wheels became popular, although historians suggest the early 1900s seem most likely. But it’s apparent why they became popular. They were an obvious solution to an obvious problem: How do you convince someone to climb onto something that is obviously going to fall over?
It’s easy to forget how counterintuitive the act of bicycling is. For starters, to steady a bicycle, you have to turn in the direction that the bike is leaning. This is so unconscious that when you’re riding a bike you don’t know you’re doing it. Children know they’re doing it, though, which is why they have such trouble. It just feels wrong. The intellect, as Mark Twain wrote after learning to ride a bicycle, “has to teach the limbs to discard their old education and adopt the new.”
Mr. Day shares a lot of interesting information, and links, as he makes his case for the Modern Balance Bike, and you can read the whole story, here.
For more on the remarkable Randy Eady, aka "The Foot Whisperer", and his various interests, and writings....