And now, the final chapter in the Hot Wheels for Rylie adventure (though, I am sure there will be a few epilogues along the way).
Over Labor Day weekend, we were able to rent a TerraTrike from the home base here in Grand Rapids. These trikes were not originally on my radar since they are all recumbents, but they have an incredible bike and their rental program made it possible for us to test. Nothing to lose. The TerraTrike is incredibly light-weight (40-50 pounds as opposed to the 60 and 70+ pound upright trikes we were looking at) and fully adjustable, so it would fit her for the rest of her life. It looks different and it’s low to the ground, but it’s incredibly easy to handle and very safe. Rylie was able to sit in it and immediately pedal, brake, and steer. It fit in the back of the minivan with half a backseat down, which was super convenient.
But it was too much. Cost-wise, it would take everything we’d made in the fundraiser… but, more than that– it was just too much for Rylie. It was too fast. Too light. Too different. She was overwhelmed.
Thank goodness for rentals.
Curt put in lots of phone calls and emails to the trike conversion options, but couldn’t get anyone to answer. The conversion is simply a 2-wheel attachment that fixes onto the rear axle of a bike. We liked this idea because it would have kept the overall weight down (important when your rider is barely breaking 50 pounds), and she’d still have a 2-wheeler when she was ready to switch back. The bike would have to be a single-speed, hand-brake option… or fabricated to be such (which was possible- our local bike shops were so pumped to help us), but Ry’s in-between bike sizes (crazy long legs!) and that brought up a lot of questions. Questions you need to ask and be sure about before you lay down serious cash and plan for shipping. It’s hard to spend such big money on a specialty item without talking in-depth with an actual person, and ultimately, it wasn’t a risk we were willing to take.
Which left us with the good, old-fashioned, upright trike option. Ah,but… junior size? Foldable? Adult size and she can grow into it? Lawd.
In the end, I opted for a light-weight (50 pounds), adult-sized (24”) trike made by Sun Trike. Ry is right in the middle of the the scale for junior vs. adult frame and wheel size. Since she will do nothing but grow, I went bigger. And, that’s how we ended up with a mint green, 3-speed trike with a beautiful, white basket in our driveway a couple weeks ago. The bells and streamers are coming, but, y’all…
We did it.
And here’s the thing:
Ry loves it.
She talks about it and writes stories about it and draws pictures of it… and she sits on it and pedals it around our little circle driveway. But, for the moment… it’s still a little bit too much. I wanted fireworks and happy tears and riding until after dark. I wanted immediate life-changing freedom for a girl who’s been slowed down by her body all her life. And she’s 7 and she’s still a little overwhelmed. It’s still a little too much for her.
As I watched her roll (not ride) her new trike into the barn for the evening (again) and take her treasures out of the basket that it hit me:
The trike was a gift.
Which means, it’s not mine.
It’s not a gift if I check up on it.
It’s not a gift if I dictate how it’s used.
It’s not a give if I measure and chart enjoyment.
If not a gift if I don’t take my hands and my expectations off of it.
It may, in fact, take her longer than I expected to be comfortable pedaling on a public path towards the ice cream shoppe, but it’s hers and she loves it. She loves it exactly the way she’s supposed to. Allowed to. Blessed to.
So, I’m letting it go.
Good thing to remember in a few other areas of my life.
Do my research.
Make the call.
Give my time or talent.
And then walk away.
To all of you who cheer for Rylie every day and who graciously gave your money and advice on this project, THANK YOU. I cannot say it enough: THANK YOU. What a gift you are to me. An on-going, inspiring, 110% gift.