Caroline rides the wind

The first time Caroline rode her bike, she crashed, and thereafter felt as much terror about it as she did kite flying. Possibly more, because this involved her personal body. Part of the problem is that she’s just too big for conventional training wheels. Even her modest weight (I don’t think the child weighs 70 pounds) bends them up and out of shape when they’re attached to her 22” bike. (At eight, she’s skinny and tall.) Plus, a 22″ bike doesn’t balance well against those tiny training wheels. It’s too tall. They make training wheels for special needs kids, but they’re quite expensive, and the real solution is that she just has to learn how to ride the thing outright.

You can imagine how that went over.

So the bike, which was new last Christmas, has been sitting unused in our garage all year.

Then, suddenly, about a month ago, Caroline wandered into the office at some ungodly hour of the morning, while Scott and I were still trying to make the transition from “dead” to “awake” and said, “Let’s go to the park.”

“It’s too early,” we said in unison.

“Well then can I go out back and ride my bike?”


The last time Mommy and Daddy woke up that fast, vomit or urine was involved.

We took her to the park, suited her up against another crash, and started dropping her down grassy hills. Slowly, she caught on, but it seemed like the more proficient she became, the less willing she was to practice. I didn’t want to push her too hard, but I knew better than to let her give up, either. It’s an area where Scott and I struggle to achieve balance in our lives, much as she does on the bike. The kid’s got Asperger’s syndrome, and it screws mightily with her vestibular system. I don’t want to put her in a situation where I’m asking the impossible of her. But. This is a bicycle she picked out, and it’s a goal she identified. She wants this. And she can do it. It’s just hard.

So one day of every weekend for the last month has been devoted to taking Caroline out to crash her bike at the park. But by last week, she was good enough to turn loose on pavement.

“I want to stay on the grass,” she argued.

“Honey, you can’t always ride your bike on the grass. You need to take the next step. Remember when you didn’t even want to ride it on  the grass?”

“But why.”

“Because riding your bike is freedom. It feels just like flying.”

She gave in, but I’m not sure she believed me. Let me show you.

This is Caroline.

OK, technically, she's on a field trip here

This is Caroline’s bike.Can you see the word "nasty" on it? She chose that. Along with the pretty-princess-bell

In a basket. In her room.

And here’s her gear.

This is Caroline, with her gear, getting on her bike.

Chanting all the things Blue chants in Rio, now that the "flight" metaphor has lodged in her brain.

Oh dear. Bike down.That's better.This… No, oopsie, this is Caroline

This is Caroline, on her bike, going down a hill.

Look up! Not down at your wheels!

Oh dear. This is Caroline.

Ohhh. That didn't feel nice. Brakes honey. And look forward.Careful now, kickstart, steer, look upAaand down.Once more, now. This is Caroline on an actual bike path.

This is Caroline’s thumb. Poor Caroline.

Skinned it. Ow.

This is Caroline, on the path that has been vexing her.

See her? Barely visible?

Oh yes. This is Caroline.

This is the bike path on a beautiful autumn day. Can you see Caroline?

Like magic, she's got it now.

Me neither.

Fly, baby.


4 thoughts on “Caroline rides the wind

  1. Not to boast ( not ) but I think daughter has done a handy job of writing in putting she and Scott’s attempts to achieve balance in their lives adjacent to the sentence referring to Caroline achieving balance on a bike and how her condition affects her vestibular system. I am assuming the vestibular system is not the apparatus whose button I haven’t discovered yet in my Rav 4, but rather a reference to the vestibulocochlear nerve conveying information about orientation and posture. Sweet! This gives the reader a push through the paragraph that imparts a feel for what’s happening even if the reader doesn’t fully comprehend their status as a nit-wit , like myself, and have to look everything up.

  2. The two are not un-alike. That jiggly button on the RAV 4 serves the same function for a car. I have no idea why one would WANT to turn that system off. And you are not a nitwit.

  3. That’s terrific! Hopefully she recovers from the spill and goes again next wkd.
    Thank you for stopping by Riley Smiles and being mad with me over the bus situation:-) Sometimes I gotta hear I’m not the crazy one.
    Happy Halloween, Stacie

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