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The Short Set: Take A Free Ride

January 24, 2008|YoMama

When it came time to ditch Nipper's training wheels, I carted him and his bicycle all the way to Encino's Lake Balboa, because the park's 5 1/2 miles of gently winding bike paths are surrounded by the novice biker's best friend: grass.

A parent has two choices when it comes to teaching the skill of two-wheeling. There's the throw-him-in-the-deep-end approach -- meaning one hearty push and he's on his own. This method can either be quick and effective or -- more likely -- will cost you dearly in Band-Aids and trust issues. Nipper is a cautious sort and I knew future therapy bills were at stake, so I took the easy route by holding his seat -- and discovering my inner jogger -- while he maneuvered the handlebars and learned that balancing got easier the faster you pedal. I told him it was his decision when he was ready for me to let go.

A dozen or so sessions -- and a first-name basis with the ice cream man -- later, he was ready. "Mommy, take off your hand!" he commanded.

And I haven't seen him since.

6300 Balboa Blvd., Encino

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-- YoMama@latimes.com

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