It’s new bike time round these parts. Is there anything more exciting than a new bike? Certainly not if you’re three, and the new bike is your first pedal bike and in your favourite colour, green.

The lovely people at Islabikes have recently clocked that my older daughter Ann has all but outgrown her balance bike and they offered to upgrade her. Ann has been adamant that she’s ‘ready for petals’ since the beginning of the summer so our answer was a very enthusiastic YES PLEASE!

A little green Cnock 14, the smallest model with pedals, arrived on Thursday. I’m not saying it was a big thing for Ann or anything but there were actual squeals of joy as the box was ripped open and the little green gremlin revealed.

There’s just nothing like your first ‘proper’ bike. Ann’s is much better than mine was, it’s beautifully made and perfectly balanced, and so light. My first bike was a purple Raleigh Bianca, purchased for the princely sum of £2 from a local jumble sale. It had a padded cream saddle, a basket at the front, three gears, and it weighed about seventeen metric tonnes.

When I took it down to the village green to meet my friends, all the older boys who hung out with us fought to take turns on it. I suppose they must have been doing it ironically but despite its breathtaking weight it was certainly a bike you wanted to ride.

I learned to ride a bike the old-fashioned way, with my unfortunate parents running along behind me holding the saddle, probably clutching their backs, yelling ‘PEDAL! PEDAL! PEDAL!’ How times have changed, these days balance bikes do all the hard work so you don’t have to. Or so I thought, until I duly found myself clutching the back of Ann’s green steed roaring ‘PEDAL!’ as we whizzed up and down our street. My back was not happy, but Ann was.

As it turns out the balance bike did do the trick, because she was riding the bike independently within four days. On Sunday she suddenly stopped saying ‘don’t let go’ and instead announced happily ‘you can let go now, Mummy.’ And off she went.

It was a big moment. For her and for me. I don’t actually remember the first time I rode independently. I wonder if Ann will remember it. I hope so, because I know I will. The joy on her face, the pride, the wonder. It’s just pure magic. How does this crazy two-wheeled thing stay up? What happens if I stop pedalling? Start again? Stand up?

What about if I put the front brake on really, really suddenly and really, really hard – no, she hasn’t tried it yet, but I’m sure she will and she’ll find out what happens, just as we all did.

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