Natalia and her first big bike... Go, Walmart! That's the only way we'd be willing to shell out for a bike she can only ride for three weeks...
Here's Natalia's first time on her bike. The videos look odd because I filmed them on my phone—with a narrow rectangular format.
And then Natalia taught her big sister how to ride a bike, too!
I know I already wrote about this on Facebook, but other readers might not know about why it's not so odd that my kids are only learning how to ride bikes when they're almost eleven and 8 1/2. In studying Third Culture Kids (kids who are raised in a culture/country other than that of their parents), researchers found a few similarities among TCKS, irregardless of where they had grown up. Surprisingly, one of those is learning how to ride a bike much later than peers in their non-TCK home countries. (Other similarities include not knowing how to drive until after college and not knowing quite how to answer the question "Where are you from?").
It makes sense if you think about it... Unless the kids are growing up in a country where kids easily ride bikes for most of the year, and it's easy to store them, kids aren't that likely to ride a bike where they live during the school year. Then, during the summer—when most kids ride bikes all the time during their vacations—Expat kids tend to travel from relative to relative in order to see everyone. You're just not likely to buy a kid a bike that she can only ride for a few weeks at most!
We're so cramped in our Moscow apartment, and we have no storage at all. Our balcony isn't covered, either. The only time the kids could ride a bike in Moscow would be on weekends in September, the second half of April and May—and then during June. I would need a bike to keep up with them in order for them to really use them, too... Where would we put those bikes?
We've decided to go ahead and get bikes back in Moscow, though... We'll keep them very well oiled and covered in heavy plastic on the balcony. It's going to be a real pain to get them in and out of the apartment, but the girls really love it! At least Katya won't be growing that much anymore, so a bike will last her a long time.