We've been taking the kids mountain biking since before I was pregnant with Ruby, and both kids have always had an interest in riding around in the street. Recently though, Eli has noticed a few kids his age riding bigger bikes with gears. As he's navigated the trails, and the hills in our neighborhood for that matter, he's started to realize the reason for those gears. A few weeks ago he started talking seriously about saving up for a mountain bike with gears. A few extra chores put him over the amount he may need (combined with his savings) to buy a used bike. Because Lehr is an awesome dad, he combed the Craig's List ads and found a few that would work. After one fall through, Eli found a seller that would let him come test drive.
Eli is in LOVE with his new bike. As he's now able to ride through the neighborhood with more ease, he wants to explore more. Our rule has always been just our street, but Eli worked hard over the weekend to earn some trust (and put in plenty of practice on the new bike), so he had his boundary extended a bit. He's gone on a few bike rides through the neighborhood with his friend, Drew, and he's gone on several solo ventures too. Eli always brings his walkie talkie (with me at the other end) and his watch. When he leaves for his ride, and when he comes home, he is absolutely beaming with excitement and pride. I think he is so impressed with himself that he can bike that far (physically) and that he's grown up enough to do it on his own.