madsalos – Mat Salo’s Other Blog

August 12, 2008

Old bike, new bike

Filed under: Family Life — Mat Salo @ 11:48 am
Tags: ,

THE LAST TIME I was home, I had vowed to do one thing: teach my boy to bike. And this must be accomplished this during my two-weeks plus spell at home.

No ifs, maybes or buts.

Sounds easy right? But It was going to be a lot harder than I thought.

The thing was my second boy (the first is fourteen) isn’t too keen on letting me take the training wheels off. He’s afraid off falling – well, who isn’t?

Being the asshole parent that I am, during our first outing (with the trainer’s on), I kept pointing out to him the other neighborhood kids – whom he recognizes as a year or two younger than him – girls – already pedaling away sans trainers. The purpose was to “shame” him of course. But he appeared nonchalant, a bit irritated maybe, looking up to me as if to say, “so what’s the big deal?”

The big deal, my boy, is I want you to enjoy the joys of bicycling. And I couldn’t stand the grating of the training wheels on tarmac (like rubbing a piece of dead chalk on the blackboard) any longer.

Therefore a new tactic was called for. I promised him (my better half had a hand in this) if he at least make the effort, I would buy him a bike of his choice. That made him sit up, and the deal was on.

After coming home from his afternoon’s KAFA lessons the day after, I took the spanner out, scraping my knee in the process, and got down to work. And out the gate we went.

But he insists that I hold on to him while he “coasted”.

Hmmm, this isn’t going to work, I thought. But it’s too late in the game now, so I held on. Practically jogging by his side holding his shoulders while he steered the mini-bicycle .

This went on for about half a kilometer or so, and pretty soon I was wheezing and panting. And he still wouldn’t let me let go. If I did he would just squeeze the brakes and we’re back to square one. This went on until we passed a footpath that led to a basketball court and mini-park. I was sick and tired of passing people’s houses and being the object of other parents’ ridicule while I huffed and puffed. So we got on the path.

It had a rained a little bit that morning so the path was a bit wet. But in my determination I also upped the pace a bit and kept pushing him faster and faster.

Whoops! Just like in the cartoons where the silly character slips on a banana peel, both my legs flew up from under me and all 85 kilos of body fat hit the pavement – hard. Bum first. Aaargh!

My boy hit the brakes, looking down, smiling.

Shit, he was the one supposed to fall, not me!

It hurt like hell, but not at first, like these things are wont to do. I didn’t know then the pain was going to stay with me for weeks.

But no matter. I picked myself up and we headed for the empty basketball court. First I let him go just for a few seconds before catching him by the shoulders again. Later I just held him by the bicycle seat with one hand.

And so it went, bit by steady bit.

And then it happened. Off he went, with me running (well, limping actually) after him and shouting with glee, “pedal, pedal, keep on pedaling-lah“.

The best part is he did not even fall – not even once.


Yaay, he did it!

Yaay, I did it!

The smile on that face...

The smile on that face...


Thanks, Papa!

Thanks, Papa!

My hips are still sore, and I still can only sleep on my right side – but the memory will last me a lifetime.

Was it worth it for me to badly bruise my hip?

The smile on that boy’s face says it all.



  1. Salam bro,

    Wah! You so heavy ar…85kg? Man…that’s a sin! Its almost my weight! 😉

    Hmm…when I do start re-cycling, I want to faint somewhere quite near your house there (got nurse hostel, you know). Babe, do call next when you’re in town. Take care there.

    Wa’alaikumussaalam bro:

    I know, I know. 85 kg is an abomination. Mudah-mudahan the upcoming mulia month of Ramadhan can rectify this. Hey, I was gonna say… Mmmm banyak calun2 kat SEGi Kota Dam tuh… white uniform with red trimmings… Hantu hang! Pastu hang tau lak mana dia orang duduk plak tu… Looks like you’re paying attention bro. And that’s a good thing.. 🙂

    Comment by cakapaje — August 12, 2008 @ 9:34 pm | Reply

  2. Hey MS … Double CONGRATULATIONS!! Blog #2 is looking good, independent domain some more. 🙂 It’s great that you were able to help your son overcame his fear of falling without falling. I wish I had his guts. I still suffer from the phobia (worse since the kaki patah last year) and I have never been on a bicycle on my own.

    What’s the goal on your next spell at home? LOL!

    Haha.. thanks, Rita. Goals? Actually you’re right. Each time I come home, that so little time I have is so precious that I need to make up a list. Teach boy to cycle. Check. Teach princess to overcome her fear of kiddie swings. Check. Ha ha, stuff like that.

    Hey, you really need to come back here to soak some sun. Too much of it over here though… Which reminds me to put on my sunscreen… 🙂

    Comment by Rita Ho — August 12, 2008 @ 9:52 pm | Reply

  3. Its nice when a dad takes giving his son cycling lessons seriously. Hey wait, does this mean, you will taking him to a corner and talk to him about the birds and the bees? I never did. Hey I tried that window live and kinda like it.

    Chegu, I’ve been thinking about the imparting knowledge (woi macam laa pro sangat) ’bout the birds and the bees too… Tapi dulu our parents pon but tak kesah aje. I think kids these days are a lot smarter than what we give them credit for, with internet etc.. … eh, why am I telling you this? You’re the chegu! Sori bos!

    Comment by katataknak — August 12, 2008 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

  4. worth the bruises and pain when u see your son pedaling, id say! bravo kiddo! 😉 i think i didn learn to ride until i was like 8 or 9 yrs old.

    Thanks… but I thought the boy was supposed to be the one with the cuts, bruises and abrasions? Not me! But, yeah it was worth it. Hmmm, you remembered if anyone actually taught you or you just did it yourself? In my generation, this was before the invention of the “Raleigh Chopper” bicycle, I think most of us belajar sendiri. Curi the dad’s, uncle’s or grandpa’s bicycle and and kayuh sideways between the frame. Alaamak, makes me feel old, lah. Those days mana ada beskal budak kecik?

    Nowadays, a typical modern parent will probably want to record this event with a High Definition video cam – and the kid all decked out in helmets and pads! 🙂

    Comment by Farina — August 13, 2008 @ 3:15 am | Reply

  5. Congratulations MS! That was quite an effort to get him cycling without trainers but you are right … this memory will last a lifetime.

    I think I started cycling on two wheels at 7 or 8 years old. I remember my aunt walking beside me and then I took off on my own. It felt so good that I could cycle independently.


    You hit a very good point that I didn’t explore fully in my story. Yes, that feeling was AWESOME! I learned when I was 5 or 6, and I remembered the pride I felt. The sense of achievement. In my case, the feeling was so strong that I became a fanatic later in my late thirties. Did you know around ’00 I went to the High Sierras (mountains between Nev. and Ca. near Yosemite), dragging my wife and boy along (no. 2, the hero of this story was actually conceived there!) to try and participate in NORBA? But I ended just watching my heroes. Lance was supposed to be there with the Trek team but didn’t show up. All I got was a picture in front of the team’s bus.Sure pissed off the missus though because she’d rather be in Milpitas checking out the factory outlets. Ha ha. Now I sort of tapered off… Must be betting old-lah! 🙂

    Comment by J.T. — August 13, 2008 @ 4:37 am | Reply

  6. Bro,

    First you have a fourteen-year-old boy. Second, you can’t run to save your life. Third, you FELL!

    To sum it up precisely: you are a dinasour (while I am still young and hot) and absolutely pre-historic. LOL LOL!

    And the boy is too good looking. Can’t be your genes! Hah!

    Please bro, you are not *cough!* parent okay? Remember, you rushed to pick your boy from mengaji class right smack in the middle of our teh tarek session? Sheesh.


    Er, dun laa emphasize the age thingy. Sensitive laa. Mid-life and all that. Might also turn-off some of the younger (read: pompuan) visitors … 😉

    But you’re right, that boy is too-good looking. And the bigger brother, and the toddler-princess? All lookers laa. Good thing they take after their mum!

    Finally, for my severe lack in the wit and original-thinking department, I think I shall just rephrase the venerable Mr.Bangkai, “You are welcome to do with this blog as you please – always. Having a
    blogsphere celebrity put in a guest appearance is always a good thing. Hehe… 🙂

    Comment by elviza — August 13, 2008 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

  7. Salam bro MS,

    You should go for the traditional massage bro..Looking at the way you jatuh the damage could be worse than you thought.Dah lama tak jumpa bro… rupa nya dah makin sihat ye…Alhamdulillah coming Ramadzan gonna be good time to sort things out spiritually and physically.

    Wa’alaikum salaam bro Stupo,

    Ini already dah almost 3 weeks masih gak jalan tengkang tengkot sikit. Belum fully heal lagi. I think hipbone ke apa. You’re right, bro nak kena pergi urut. Betul tu, Insya’Allah Ramadhan hopefully dapat sort out the physical / spiritual department. Ya lah bro lama tak jumpa, Raya nanti kot? I’ll email you my HP nanti. Thanks for visiting!

    Comment by Stupo — August 13, 2008 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

  8. heyy good parents are real pain in the ass. pat yourself in the back brother…muahahaha..

    but you did well. the kid looks very confident on his new bike. maybe it was just his trick in tricking you getting a brand new bike.

    Eh bro.. marah lagi ke perihal ‘terbalik-kot’ tuh? Ja-ngan.. nanti kena jual! He… 🙂

    Thanks for the compliments, dude. Tak tau laa, maybe budak tu trick aku nak beskal baru. Tapi it’s one of life’s highlights, bro’. Happy betul tengok dia success. I suppose dia lagi happy. Hey, baguih you’re not too bitter about kenderaan two-wheels, bro, considering …

    Comment by kerp — August 13, 2008 @ 11:59 pm | Reply

  9. Waah, a good dad lah you. Rarely you can see parents fell while playing with their children nowadays, alright. Sounds hurtful, though, but hey it was paid right? Now your boy might be even doing wheelie out there on his new wheels. Tell him not to. I had a bad experience with it :-S

    Thanks, brader. Another nice compliment. Betul tuh, I try to do my best where my kids are concerned. Sometimes my pardner thinks I’m a bit too soft on them. Maybe because I spend so much time away, and the short time at home tak kan nak lecture ke marah ke budak2 tu.. tak sampai hati lah. Tapi kengkadang terpaksa jugak. But believe me, it’s hard.

    Wheelie? Sabar bro’ nanti takut dia jadi Mat Rempit lak… 🙂

    Alah belum ada cerita about the KB Bloggers. Sayang you tak dapat join bro. Pak Zawi pon belum keluar post lagi…

    Comment by Akmal — August 14, 2008 @ 12:07 am | Reply

  10. Bro

    One of these days, why don’t you wipe the dust off your Santa Cruz (I’ll do the same with my Mongoose Pro SX) and show these non-believers what a couple of pre-historic relics like us can do with our mountain bikes?

    Carcass my man.. there’s a good idea. Heh. There’s still life in these over-the-hill wannabees, I’ll Amen to that, dude. Yeah, let’s put that on the back-burner. But first let’s take it to the bike shop for a check-up and also to blow some serious ringgits, and while we’re at it, why not sit next door at the mamak’s blowing smoke-rings while sipping sickly-sweet teh tarik? 🙂

    Comment by Bangkai — August 14, 2008 @ 4:57 pm | Reply

  11. Bro,
    You are upping the ante all the time. First it was a migration to wordpress and now to independent domain. Don’t worry I will be following you soon.
    I envy you cos even at the same body weight I cant even jog what more run!
    Kids nowadays are lucky. Not only do they have bikes of their size but also the trainer wheels. Learnt to bike myself with the adult bike Datuk Lat’s style (sideways between the bars). Suffered scrapes and bruises too but with the lesson learnt, taught my cousins to ride bikes sans the bruises.
    Your kids will have loads of fun with them. Just avoid giving them a motorbike too early though you can afford them.

    Bang Zawi, I think you flatter me too much. I am a decade younger, so no excuse lah if cannot lari. I think you’re in pretty good shape, Sir and running around with your extra-social activities makes for a healthy lifestyle lah. Stress free some more! Saw your KB blogger-do.. excellent laa, Bang!
    Yes, we’re from the ‘sideways between the bars’ generation. Although they have it easier in the main beskal dept, but they a lot tougher challenges up ahead in the real world. As to nak jadi Mat Rempit wannabee, my eldest F3 boy tu dah hint-hint pasal motor. Bukan nya kapcai.. scrambler! Tah apa laa dalam kepala budak2 sekarang ni. I think our parents in pun dulu probably feels the same about us. Tks for the advice, ya Bang…

    Comment by Pak Zawi — August 15, 2008 @ 8:14 am | Reply

  12. Hello!

    Hip ke yang bruise, ke ego? 😉

    Hehe…Gosh, I’m so glad my parents taught me how to bike way back when I was little…Scraped knees and palms and elbows too, but darn worth it…I still rememeber the bike…A blue BMX…

    I’m gonna need a bicycle here after all, and not being able to cycle would be such a shame…

    MS Junior learned to bike really quick man…That must have been some carrot you hung there man!

    PS: MS Junior looks so much like you!

    Daph.. You’re right. The junior takes after me a lot – not only in the looks but also in the perangai part. 😉 Which is worrying, heh. Hey — you are in bicycle heaven laa. You know in BC, there’s a place called Whistler Mountain where it’s a ski resort in the winter and mountain bike park in the summer. Probably the best in the world. It’s one of the The-Places-To-Visit-Before-I-Die list. A bike is something you must get. Spend a bit more and it will give you years and years of joy. Kalau duit no object, I recommend women-specific frames from Santa Cruz, kalau tak Taiwan made Giant ke GT pon orait gak. Have fun!

    Comment by Daphne Ling — August 15, 2008 @ 10:27 am | Reply

  13. So you huffed and puffed, eh? Hey, your little boy was trying to get you to keep fit lah! (and lose some weight in the process??) Gooooood boy!! 😉

    Yes, I try to, Pi.. to be a ‘gooooood boy’. 🙂 Yes, the weight is a little worrying, but there’s this law you see. Probability of weight loss increases substantially with age! No matter what you do! I know I need to keep fit, because my one and only princess is only two, Pi. Kesian dia. 4, 5 years from now I have to give her the lessons pulak. Itu pon kalau di perpanjangkan umur. Hopefully when I fall next time, I wont break! But the huffing and puffing is the least of my worries kan?

    Comment by pibani — August 15, 2008 @ 10:44 am | Reply

  14. Soon you have to buy a new bike again for him cos this bike seems to look a bit small.

    Mr. R,

    I had those concerns too. Because this one seems to be a fast grower and a bit big for his age. Tak lama lagi dah boleh naik normal sized bicycle with 26″ wheels. In fact, the seat is too low but he won’t let me raise it since he’s still takut lah. Hope it last at least a few years laa Bang. Tak turun Kajang lagi ke?

    Comment by kbguy — August 15, 2008 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  15. I really cant remember how i learn to ride a bike. maybe from my 2 older bros. but i do remember my aunt (she is only a few yers older) who came to visit us and tried to learn ride the bike. we were living at ampat tin and it was pretty hilly and since she was only a beginner, she ended up in a ditch. hehe.

    She fell into a ditch? Yikes! Eh, hope she didn’t hurt herself too badly. BTW, where’s ‘Ampat Tin’?

    Comment by farina — August 19, 2008 @ 1:59 am | Reply

  16. Bro, that son of yours should be so lucky he had you as dad.

    Your bum took the fall(i hope you didn’t compact any disc in your lumbar region … that could spell pain for some time)in order for him to ride his bike free as a bird, and a new one to boot as part of the deal? He couldn’t have lost. I think he was a better negotiator. You took it hook, line and sinker. Think about it. Who wants to be stuck with the same old bike when one has ‘graduated’ with flying colours?

    Anyway, like you said, there’s one very happy son out there and i hope he grows up remembering his dad’s sacrifice … bum, lungs and pocket-wise.

    Enjoyed this blog as much as your other one. Keep it up bro.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, Sir. Perhaps I am the lucky one to have a son like him? BTW, the pain has slowly receded but sometimes it still hurts a bit when I get up in the morning. Nothing serious I don’t think. Just old age, ha ha. Maybe it’s the cheap mattress that I sleep on my bunk bend.

    You’re right there. I think this boy has got a gift of the gab, his natural ability to ‘con his old man’, and hopefully one day he would learn write well too … better than Papa at least. 🙂

    Comment by ewoon — August 19, 2008 @ 8:28 am | Reply

  17. Brader Mat,
    This was the site that I had first come to after you post.
    I remember this post and the “Live Writer”. That’s why I was puzzled with your Number Two site – because it didn’t have the “Live Writer” (I had known about the one at Blogspot). Apparently, you have THREE!:-)

    You what it was that made me search for this post again, Mat? My comparing myself at 44; and you at the same age here with your kid with this one… There is the sadness of “what might have been, had I not…” No, it’s NOT “self-pity”; for that means one tak redha dengan keadaan.

    I had come to terms with this one, thankfully, when at Pusat Gambang circa early 06 (spiritual aspect was quite high then). The reward of this is; I could genuinely share some of the happiness here! Be grateful to Allah, plus thank yourself “for not making a stupid decision prior to this”, that might have negated this scene from happening.

    It might have been “something else” that had happened instead of this memorable occasion. As said at HishamAR’s site “Life is about choices…

    Yes, 20 years from now, he will remember “of his father being there for him, including on the historic day when the wheels were taken off” when he tells it to your grandchildren. This is the stuff sweet memories are made of:-)


    I felt really moved and touched, bro. Thanks for your thoughts…


    Comment by cendana287 — September 7, 2008 @ 9:13 pm | Reply

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