As my neighbor noted in his comment to my previous post, I now have a full-fledged cyclist in the family.  Olivia has been riding her bike without training wheels for a while now.  We started out in the backyard because it is a lot softer than concrete.  Also, for the eighth of a mile that our driveway takes up, only about thirty feet of it comes close to resembling a level surface. 

Given the option between learning to ride her bike in the hard-to-pedal-through grass filled with land mines deposited by our chocolate lab and the concrete hill of death, her cycling practice has been very limited.  I would try to get her out, but she just wasn’t that interested.  She could go for a little while, but inevitably she would fall. 

Sara decided to take her up to the cul-de-sac to try on a more level paved surface.  Again, Olivia wasn’t interested.  Her previous attempts of riding a bike were riddled with failure and frustration.  Nevertheless, Sara loaded up the bikes and the girls and drove them up the driveway to the cul-de-sac (yes, that’s the way we have to do things with this ridiculous driveway). 

At first, Olivia was resistant.  She now had the audience of a neighborhood to witness her failure.  She quickly learned that riding a bike on pavement is a lot easier than doing so in the grass.  She also realized that it is not nearly as terrifying when there is no risk of riding off into the abyss of our driveway.  She caught on quickly and spent quite a while honing her newly discovered skill.  She also told Sara that she couldn’t wait to show daddy how good she had gotten at riding her bike.  See what just happened? 

Fear + Courage = Pride

When I got home on Monday, she was out in the driveway riding and telling me how much she loved riding her bike.  She even told me that she thinks she will become a professional bicycle rider – all we need now are some blood transfusions and performance enhancing drugs (sorry for the cheap shot, Lance). 

The bottom line is this.  Riding her bike is now one her favorite activities because she experienced a little success.  Previously, her attempts were filled with failure and she didn’t enjoy it… but the act of riding a bicycle hasn’t changed in the past week.  So it was not riding her bicycle that she disliked a week ago; it was failure.  With a little courage and perseverance that thing that you despise today may be your passion tomorrow.