March 14, 2017 Dad

The Bike Ride

So…. we got lucky……..

One day, earlier this school year, our daughter came to us and asked if she could ride her bike to school with a neighbor/friend she goes to school with.  We live exactly one-mile from the school, and there’s only one major street to cross between here and there.  No big deal, right?  I think mom and I were so excited that she and her friend came up with this idea that we quickly said yes, that would be fine.  It sounded like more fun that sitting on the boring bus.

The mistake we made.  We forgot about the questions, the conversation to prepare her for the bike ride and what she may or may not encounter on the journey:

  1. What route will you guys take?  Which streets will you be on?
  2. Will you ride on the sidewalk?
  3. What if the sidewalk is blocked by someone walking their dog?
  4. Will you guys ride side by side, or one in front of the other?  Who will ride 1st?  What if your friend wants to lead?
  5. What if you guys see another kid from school along the ride, who’s also riding their bike to school?  What if they want to ride with you guys?
  6. What if the other kid rides next to your friend, and you have to ride behind them?  Would that be okay?  How would you handle that?
  7. When you get to the stop signs, what will you do?  What if there are cars there?
  8. Do you think the school bus will pass you?  What if your friends on the bus are teasing you guys for riding bikes?
  9. What about the stop light?  Will you guys walk your bikes, or ride them across?  What if the light starts to change before you are all the way across the street?
  10. What if there are other people at the stop light too, walking or with bikes?
  11. Do you think the school will be busy with cars of parents dropping off their kids for school?
  12. Will the parking lot be busy?
  13. Will you be able to ride on the sidewalk area to the bike rack?  What if it’s too busy?  Then what?
  14. What if the bike rack is full?
  15. What if you forgot your bike lock?
  16. What if you want to lock your bike up to one rack, and your friend wants to lock hers to a different one?
  17. I don’t think she would, but what if your friend ditches you, or rides her bike faster than you?
  18. What would you do if you get a flat tire?
  19. What if you fall?
  20. What if your friend falls?
  21. Do you think it will rain today?  What if it does?  What would you do if you came out at the end of the day and it was raining?

Should we talk about the ride home????

  1. What if you get to the bike rack 1st?
  2. What if your bike is gone?
  3. What if someone has locked their bike up to yours?
  4. What if your friend got her bike 1st?
  5. What if your friend got sick during the day, and she’s not riding her bike home?
  6. Insert questions 6 thru 100 here….

I think you get the idea.  Ever since we’ve become aware that we’re living with a child on the Spectrum, we’ve realized good days start with good preparation.  The key to being prepared for the day, is for mom and I to ask questions, and talk through what may or may not happen during the day.  Help her come up with ideas of how to handle a situation that may or may not happen.  Pure speculation to what the day may bring.  Mom and I are often quite hard on ourselves for not asking every single question, or beat ourselves up for the ole’ – hindsight thing.  We’re learning to give ourselves a break from time to time.  Since this 1st bike ride, there have been several more.  She’s averaging 2 days a week riding her bike to/from school, and it has given mom and me the opportunity to ‘slip-in’ a few questions each time.  So all in all, maybe it was a good thing we didn’t bombard her with a full lineup of ‘things to consider’, on her 1st ride?

Admittadely, we did a terrible job preparing for the 1st bike ride, but hey, like I said……

We got lucky!


Please don’t be disappointed with us, we are doing the best we can for our you – Love, Dad

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