We bought her the bicycle over a year ago. The initial excited enthusiasm lasted less than a week before her hyper-cautious nature kicked in and she refused to ride it. She was afraid she'd fall. She didn't trust the training wheels. She wasn't confident that we wouldn't let go. She just didn't want to. Training wheels or not (tho especially against the "not"), she would not ride her bike. Hoping to spur her along, we brought her bike on our family trip to Rottnest, where there are no cars and cycles are the best way to get around. She wasn't having it. She wailed at the thought and wailed louder when I got on her bike and rode it for her, trying (and failing) to make her laugh and spark her interest.
In the months since, we've talked about it as much as she'll allow. In the past weeks, I've pointed out all the kids riding without training wheels and how fun it looks. Lately, I have let it drop here and there that I intend for her to be riding her bike without her training wheels by the end of the summer. How I was supposed to get her on the seat was beyond me, but I figured we'd get to that somehow. I dropped it again this weekend, saying Stephanie could learn at the same time. Markus took the training wheels off both kid bikes that day. It was on. Sort of.
Then, tonight, Ellie spied her bike, sans training wheels. In minutes, it had been wheeled into the backyard, where Markus and I both enthusiastically assured her that even if she fell, falling in the grass doesn't hurt so it was no big deal. He ran with her, holding onto her seat, encouraging her to pedal or steer or both. Back and forth they went as I ferried dinner items out to the table. And then I looked up and saw Ellie cycling all on her own, at first just a few feet before thumping her feet down in triumph...and then around and around and around the house she went until she wore a track in the grass with the sheer thrill, the joy, the freedom of it!
Just like everything else she has ever done, Ellie started riding a bicycle in her own sweet time.