Friday, July 13, 2012

Teaching and Learning

With Darling Daughter's new bike we've been riding together a lot more. These rides haven't gone exactly as I expected, for one thing riding with a nine year old has taught me more then I've managed to teach her. So, while not every ride has been a Great Day, they have all been pretty good.
The first thing I've learned how much I take for granted. There is a lot going on when you are riding a bike; balance, steering, pedalling, control and brakes. On top of this is of course situation awareness and route planning. All of these skills transfer from conscious efforts that require focus and attention to automatic, almost unconscious skills, but it takes time.
When Darling Daughter was riding with the Fast and Female ambassadors, she did great. She was riding smoothly, following instructions and trying new things. Basic skills, like braking, riding with one hand and riding beside another rider. I expected the ride home to be more difficult, on account of distance and her being tired, but it wasn't. Our next outing together wasn't so smooth of course, and I was not sure why.
A little reflectiion on the wrinkles, and I think I know why this other shorter trip was more trouble, it was more complicated. The ride home from the Fast and Female event was almost entirely on multi-use pathways. When we had to leave the pathways the street we joined was closed to cars for Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikedays. I also gave clear directions well in advance. The other ride was on local streets, joining a busy MUP and back to local streets. I didn`t give Darling Daughter much notice of route changes. Even when I gave her instructions clearly and in advance, crossing sidewalks or roads was confusing and difficult.
She survived that trip and we`ve had had several successful rides since, I`d love to give her the freedom that I had as a nine year old, unfortunately that is not going to happen. For now we`ll ride together, I`ll keep teaching signals and skills, and we`ll keep to quiet roads and paths for a while longer still.

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