Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Learning by Doing

Have I mentioned here that Oliver is a bike riding superstar? Yes? Ok, I know I have. But you can't stop me from saying it. And listen, every single time I get on the bike and ride somewhere with my kids my heart nearly bursts with pride and happiness. I can't help it. It just swells and swells and I have to marvel that there is actually room in my chest for it. I get giddy. I can't stop smiling. So I'm just warning that there will be more bike riding blog posts in my future. ..

We've taken the bike riding to a new level: commuting. Sami has pre-school three mornings a week and my boys and I ride over there together. It isn't far, just about a half mile, but we have to cross two very busy roads -- one of them 4 lanes. The whole thing causes me some anxiety: I'm just one but I have to keep track of two boys while watching for traffic. But the boys? Well, they are fantastic. They follow directions, they stay as far to the right as possible, they ride cautiously and smile the entire way there and back.

So anyway, we've been spending a lot of time on the bikes the past few weeks. But tonight, well, tonight did not go so well. Oliver is experimenting a bit with physics and likes to see how long he can coast without pedaling. He is also working on mastering some kind of trick ride where he takes his feet off the pedals and rides with them on the top bar of the frame. Makes me crazy but what can I do? He is a boy on a bike, after all. The coasting thing results in lots of falls or near-falls. And, if he does it while he is on the street and as far to the right as possible, it was bound to happen that he would Fall.Into.A.Car. And that is what happened. Oliver fell into a parked car. I wasn't with him but Nik tells me that Oliver jumped right up, hopped back on the bike and off they went. Nik was relieved that Oliver was OK and cautioned him to stop playing games.

Unfortunately, Nik was soon called back to the scene by an irate car owner who pulled up beside him and scolded about the hit and run. Yup, Oliver's crash left two, 6-inch long, scratches on the side of the dark blue car. Nik, very apologetic, gave the man his business card and told him to get in touch to work out the damages. Nik also described how the man became noticeably less angry after he asked Oliver a few questions and noted that he did not respond. He was silent for a minute or two while Nik looked over the car and then allowed how he might be able to fix it up so the scratches wouldn't be so noticeable. In the meantime, we're wondering if our insurance covers bicycle-car accidents.

At first glance, Oliver is just another boy on a bike. But look a little closer and you start to notice that there is something pretty remarkable about our little guy. Tomorrow is a school day and so we will saddle up by 9am as usual. I'll still remind both of my guys to keep as far to the right as possible, but also, now, a little to the left.


  1. NOt a lurker, I was interrupted......you know how that goes.

    Anyway, I am most envious of cycling prowess. I wondered if mine would ever manage it but they finally have. it's not without mis-haps of course as Owen is quite often looking at his wake rather than ahead.....can't have everything.

    I can completely relate to being delighted that everyone was unscathed and completely missing the damaged car.

  2. This post hit home with me as my son loves to ride his bike also. On a side note about insurance coverage, I found out (when my son was climbing a tree while on vacation, fell out of the tree, and landed on someone else's rental car, leaving a huge dent) that my homeowner's insurance policy covers property damage away from home. Glad to hear your son was okay - mine was too, fortunately!

  3. It's great that Oliver rides a bike but you should check for damage if he impacts with a car. Of course you're going to check to make sure your boy is okay but you can't just take off if he left a dent or scratches on a vehicle. Leaving your business card is the right thing to do. It also teaches your kids that they're responsible for any damage they cause.
    And yes, you definitely should check with your insurance agent about your coverage. My kids are just regular kids (not autistic, I mean) but one of them failed to hold on to the door handle of a rental car in Hawaii and a high wind smacked the door into the side panel of a van parked next to our rental car. it left a dent and yes, we left a business card. Our insurance paid to repair the damage but not all insurance coverage is the same.