Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Giant Step for Earth Day

Behold! One more citizen on planet earth pedaling their way to independence with a small carbon footprint. Despite her tiny feet, my granddaughter pedaled her way into the next rite of passage this past weekend. Training wheels removed, jeans, shoes and helmet donned, she rode where others have certainly ridden before, and yet that plunge into independence is truly a solo ride.

We have many rites of passage during our lives but none quite so intimidating and completely alone as the first bicycle ride without the benefit of support from mechanical apparatus or the firm grip of a parent. Each of these milestones are often the product of trial and error as in our first steps and studying as in reading, or practice as in driving. We have the benefit of a teacher or imitating a sibling, a table to walk around or driving instructor with a set of pedals.
Yet when we ride a bike, truly ride a bike, we are alone. There are those standing along the sidelines cheering us on, but ultimately it depends on our own power, confidence and sheer determination to keep the wheels balanced, hands on the handlebars and our bodies in sync with a moving vehicle. I find it to be a unique moment in a child's life (or at any age) when you first realize what you are capable of doing with your own steam.

What a fantastic way to celebrate Earth Day! My granddaughter and I are going on a bike ride to see all of Mother Nature's Glory along the way. Because that is what a wise grandma and her bike riding buddy would do!